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.