Dispatch #8 from Sr. Bobbi
We left at dawn on a dreary and foggy day for Norcia, the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica. The drive was our first foray outside Rome and took us through the Umbria region to the northeast.
The first half hour was like the Midwest and fields of beans, wheat and factories with Mercedes Benz and Renault dealerships. Further along it was totally Italy with homes and towns on mountainsides.
As we drove to Norcia – Benedict and Schlastica’s birthplace – we crept up lush green mountains with stone walls. Norcia is the most delightful small village. So quaint with small shops of cheeses, bakeries, meats, gifts and sidewalk cafes. The center of the town is the piazza with statue of Benedict. His church is on the spot where he was born. It is well kept and used as the village parish! Benedictine monks serve it and operate the nice gift shop.
We had a 40-minute meditation followed by a brief morning prayer with a reading on the town. We each have a booklet on the history of Norcia with prayers that we said at Benedict’s church. (The book supplements what we have already learned about the culture, politics, church and social times of Benedict.)
We sat in the crypt that has a small altar on the spot of Benedict’s birth.
We went to the Benedictine convent there for a delicious lunch of fresh pesto pasta and tiramasu.
Afterwards we went to St. Scholastica’s church outside Norcia. It was built on what is thought to be the site of Benedict and Scholastica’s family villa. It is not in use and really not kept up. But we could see partial mosaics. The Norcia cemetery surrounds the church. See more pics!