Gennaio (January ) 2007
Notizie del monastero benedettino a Torricella
News of the Benedictine Monastery in Torricella

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  Cliccate qui per l'italiano

Following is the letter, above, as translated by one of the recipients: Dr. Marion Apley Porreca. 
The first part of the letter is written by Don Giustino Rossi OSBVall, the second part by Sister Lydia..               

Saturday January 20th 2007.

 I received a letter in the post today, addressed to all friends, from Don Giustino Rossi and Sister Lydia, from the Case di Maria di Nazaret, Contrada Tre Confini, Torricella Peligna today, dated 11th January, giving news and details about progress in the construction and development of the Benedictine Monastery. On 15th January, the windows were being fitted. There were also little prayer cards asking people, as “living stones”, to pray at 12:00 for world peace via the Invisible Sanctuary of Maria di Nazaret.

Since the document is all in Italian, I thought people might like to have it translated – well, at least the gist of it (rather than word for word, as it is long, complicated and full of religious principles etc.).

Le Case di Maria di Nazaret  (The Houses of Mary of Nazareth)

 They say they started the letter during the Christmas period, the joy and simplicity of which illuminates their own family life as poor people, and they characterise the development of the building as of a child in swaddling clothes.

The project is about founding one monastery for monks and another for nuns, respectively to be headed by an abbot and an abbess. These will be independent yet under the same administration and will join together for some of the daily worship.

There will also be a linked lay movement of people (men, women and couples without family ties) who will share in this monastic lifestyle. The monastery will be run on Benedictine principles, but spiritually it integrates the Holy Family, hence the name Case di Maria di Nazaret.

Living here will be hidden, simple, humble, full of work, trusting in and loving God, Jesus and the Holy Family, and will also be about caring for others. The members will follow the example of Jesus, who led a hidden life for 30 years and who even when preaching isolated himself for prayer and worship – consequently the Case di Maria will follow the order and style of an “enclosed” monastery, for silent prayer and worship. They will not fulfil roles outside the monastery as assistants or charity workers or educators, although they will actively welcome the faithful.

They will collaborate with priests and teachers in the community and help them in times of need.

To clarify the contemplative essence of the Case they stress the three terms of monastic spirituality: silence, stability and seclusion. Internal silence leaves space to listen to God; stability forbids the monk to leave the monastery, tying him to its holy quarters and to the monastic community, distancing him from profane interests and activities whilst keeping him close to God; seclusion protects from the mundane, from things or people that are not uplifting, from useless words and from frivolous conduct. Being consecrated to God, the monk talks with Him, honours Him, makes Him known to others and intercedes with Him on behalf of his brothers.

This separation from the world also helps society for the monk is an instrument and a servant of God, giving grace to others.

The lay brothers will act as intermediaries between the world and the monastery. Under orders from their superiors, they will carry out duties outside the monastery, will pray with the monks and will welcome others. Those of them who prove to be mature and well-adapted, with the pastors’ permission, will be able to reopen churches, direct services and be the point of reference for the faithful, whilst yet also leading a life of prayer, joined to God in seclusion. They will assist elderly or ill priests with pastoral duties.

With God’s help, the Case di Maria di Nazaret will be a blessing to God within the Church, at this time in which the presence of priests within the community of the faithful seems isolated and thin on the ground.

Now that the reconstruction work is almost completed, (they have just applied the internal plastering), all friends are invited to join in the prayers so that the Lord of harvests will send workers to reap his praise.

                                                                   Don Giustino Rossi OSBVall


Dearest Small Souls,

The Institution, the Case di Maria di Nazaret, is composed of stone buildings where each stone has been “placed” by all of you, by both material help and prayer; they are cemented by Christ’s love that unites them.

These Houses simply aim to imitate the Holy Family by becoming full-time disciples of Jesus.

Why Houses? They form an ideal unit, part way between the male and female branches of the contemplative life, conducted in silence, stability and seclusion; a base from which certain laics, called to worship God, can prepare to give valid assistance to priests – without penalising women, who in a mature Christianity are complementary to open collaboration with God’s ministers – and to reopen closed Churches – never replacing the Priests – but acting as guides in prayer and readings of the Word, just as so many houses of Maria di Nazaret ought to be sparks to kindle hearts with love for Christ.

The underlying spirit of the Case is the combination of spiritual love and life where love of Christ means everything: where the gift of one’s self is to the welcoming discipline even in a monastery of everything and everyone in Christ.

The Case di Maria di Nazaret are springing into being with both a male and female branch of contemplative, monastic life: to be a prayer to the roots of the tree of the Church, so that the trunk – bishops, priests and deacons – may be defended in their ministry to spread the word of Jesus more efficiently to all the branches… and also to make charity and peace blossom again in all peoples, languages and nations.

Bishops, priests, consecrated brothers and sisters will be welcomed into the monastery for retreat weeks, to rest physically and spiritually in an atmosphere of silent cordiality.

All of you “Piccole Anime Bambini e Bambine” (small young souls of children) will be welcomed for retreat in preparation for First Communion or Confirmation with moments of silent cordiality.

All of you “Piccole Anime Giovani” (small souls of youths) “armed” with your enthusiasm, accordions and guitars, will be welcomed each month for a weekend, to participate in the monastic life and praise together the one God; not guests, but brothers, all collaborating in the meetings at Case di Maria.

All of you “Piccole Anime” (small souls) mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and single people will be welcomed for retreat days to benefit heart and soul with confessions, liturgical readings, spiritual meetings and discussions.

All of you “Piccole Anime” (small souls) who know no evil so that the silence should be filled with your joy for life and fill ours too.

The Case di Maria di Nazaret are houses of God and belong to Him; thus, they are Houses for every soul.

                                                                             Sister Lydia

  English translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

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