The Federation Council met at St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, MN. It is the new council elected at the Federation Chapter in July.
The Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery have been forwarding money from generous donors to Sister Gaudensia Mwanyika of St. Gertrude Convent in Imiliwaha, Tanzania, to help build her dream of a school for handicapped children.
The latest donations will pay for furniture and teaching supplies so that the school can open on time — January 16, 2017.
In Tanzania, handicapped children are not allowed to attend school. This will be the first school built for these children who have physical or learning challenges.
On November 19, 2016, the sisters of Annunciation Monastery gathered to wrap gifts and pack bags to be sent to two orphanages and a special needs home for teens and adults in Piedras Negras, Mexico. Sisters Hannah Vanorny and Idelle Badt and others from the Benedictine Volunteers program participated in an immersion mission trip this past May. They worked with Sister Ursula, a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery, Boerne, TX, who resides in Eagle Pass, TX. There was quite a buzz of activity in the community room as sisters sorted, wrapped, and packed gifts while others wrote notes in Spanish for the children and adults receiving the gifts. The project concluded the sisters’ ongoing formation study of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Sister Stephanie, Sister Rita, and Sister Nicole
Sister Stephanie, Sister Rita, and Affiliate Krista
Norcia, Italy was shaken by another large earthquake today, magnitude 6.6. The monks of Norcia are safe, but the Basilica has been utterly destroyed. They ask for our prayers, not only for them but for the people of the area. While suffering alongside them, the monks are also trying to pray and minister to them.
News footage shows drone views of Amatrice and Norcia. As the image below shows, the Cathedral and Basilica in Norcia have been destroyed.
Reports of this third quake (the previous just 2 days before) in the area in just two months indicate just how difficult this is for the people of central Italy as well as the monks:
Norcia’s 14th-century Basilica of Saint Benedict, built on the reputed birthplace of the Catholic saint, was reduced to rubble.
The church is looked after by an international community of Benedictine monks based in a local monastery which attracts some 50,000 pilgrims every year.
“It was like a bomb went off,” the town’s deputy mayor, Pierluigi Altavilla told Rai News 24.
“We are starting to despair. There are too many quakes now, we can’t bear it anymore.”
Damage was also reported at St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, one of the four cathedrals of the Holy See. It is also home to and maintained by a community of Benedictines.
As the world has heard, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit central Italy early Wednesday morning. It was centered about six miles from the town of Norcia in Umbria, which is well-known to Benedictine as the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica. The monks and their guest are safe — they were already up (at 3:30am!) for the first prayers of the Feast of St. Bartholomew. However, after assessing the extensive damage to the basilica and monastery, the community relocated to Rome. Here’s the message on their website:
After a careful study of the developing seismic situation in our region of Italy, as a precautionary measure, we have decided to temporarily transfer our community to Rome.
The monks of the international Benedictine headquarters at St. Anselmo in Rome have kindly offered our monks a place to remain during this period of uncertainty. We would be grateful if you added the monks of St. Anselmo to your prayers for their generosity during our time of need.
While the community is in Rome, two monks will remain in Norcia to keep watch over the basilica and monitor the developing situation. They will avoid danger by sleeping in tents outside the city walls.
We strive to maintain the order of the Rule even during the most difficult of circumstances, and this transfer, while disruptive, will ensure the safety of our monks and grant us all the peace to continue to practice our monastic life.
Please continue to pray for our community, and consider giving a gift to help our effort to rebuild.
Benedictine Sisters around the world are holding these monks, and all the people in central Italy, in prayer.