“Ego Frater Maria Paulus”
Uttering these simple words “Ego Frater Maria Paulus” on Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, our newly professed Br. Paul made history by becoming the first monk to make vows at San Benedetto in Monte, less than 6 weeks after the epic earthquake which destroyed our ancient Basilica and monastery in town. Although these vows are what we call simple or temporary since they last only three years, they are the first step toward that definitive commitment to which all monks aspire: solemn vows. Br. Paul’s courageous gesture of love for God and place is but one more example of how important we monks feel it is to root our vocation here in Norcia where St. Benedict was born. Here, his spirit of renunciation and radical sacrifice for Christ was born and continues to this day.
Besides this most beautiful step forward for our community, these past two weeks have brought us closer to long-term stability. We now have a functional chapel outside the enclosure on an adjacent piece of land. The Chapel of St. Andrew, as we call it, will have Mass and confessions offered for the faithful every Sunday at 8:30am. Also, while there is still enough beer in the warehouses of the United States to last through February (we hope!), we are working to establish a temporary brewery outside the walls of town so that this critical income-generating activity can go forward and you can continue ordering the beer we all love!
We’ve also been busy completing our much sought after 2017 Wall Calendar which we are pleased to announce is now available. Because of the earthquake the calendar is now only available as a download PDF. But the good news it, it’s free! Click here to download the calendar now.
We also now have a new Porter’s Office (Portineria) at the base of the hill of San Benedetto in Monte to welcome guests and pilgrims. Open Monday through Saturday 9am to 5pm, the Porter’s Office will be a place for many to find us when needed without breaking the monks’ cloister, not to mention saving people a few flat tires, as there have already been three guests whose cars got stuck while trying to get up the hill
Illustrious visitors this week have included Matthew S. M. Lee, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Holy See (to whom we are also grateful for a generous donation his country offered), five brothers from the monastery of Le Barroux who came to help us with construction of more temporary buildings, and many close friends from Norcia. As we approach the day of the greatest visit of all, the day of Christ’s birth, we thank you for you continued closeness and support throughout these difficult months. May the celebration of His coming bring peace to all those suffering from a loss at this time, that we may find our place with Him in the manger.
Ever thankful for your prayers and support,
Fr. Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B.
Note: If you want to help the rebuilding process, you can give to the monks by clicking here.