Camaldolese History #9

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If it's recording or not, do you know what it's supposed to, is it registering? Last time we looked at the Monte Corona congregation and the Cenobitical congregation. We still have two more congregations to briefly look at before we go to the 20th century developments of Commodity's history, and maybe get it all done today. We'll see. I didn't rewrite all the French and Italian names for the two congregations that we're first going to treat because I had them on last time, and I don't even have them anymore without going through all my notes. Okay, so first we're going to talk about the Piedmontese congregation. This was, this was a group that started up in Turin, Torino, and was called the Confraternity


of the Holy Annunciation of Villa Franca Piemonte. We call it the Piedmontese congregation. Its history begins as sort of a bastard offspring of Camaldoli in Torino. A monk of Camaldoli named Alessandro Ceva was installed in Torino as a rector in a school situation of a former monastery of Classe, and he was set up there by the Duke of Savoy, Carl Emmanuel I. Ceva himself was a marquis before he entered the Camaldolese, so he was a noble, and Ceva, with the royal court of Turin and the backing of several rich nobility in that area, decided


that they were going to start their own set up, their own Camaldolese, not necessarily congregation at first, but their own group of Camaldolese. But this group quickly acquired autonomy and became essentially a new congregation very quickly on. They modeled themselves on the Coronese, which is interesting, they modeled themselves on the Coronese rather than the customs of Camaldoli, even though Ceva himself was from Camaldoli. In 1602, then, I'm just going to list the houses that I had listed on the board last time. 1602, they founded the main house, San Salvatore in Torino, and then in 1614, they founded Belmonte, or Busca, it's also called. In 1675 through 1725, so for 50 years there, a house named Selva Maggiore, which means


a greater forest, must have been situated in a forest, existed, and then it went out of existence. So it was a short-lived thing, 50 years, one of their houses. Another house that figures in its history predominantly is Lanzo, L-A-N-Z-O. And another short-lived house, which I had listed last week, was St. Tekla in Genoa, St. Tekla di Genova, which was founded in 1661. This congregation was the wealthiest of all the congregations, even though it was very small, because it had the backing of the Duke of Savoy and the nobles, and nobles entered the congregation. The congregation was mainly consistent with nobility. It became wealthy right from the beginning, and it was sustained by the court and wealthy


individuals, benefactors, throughout its existence. And it developed in the late 1600s, then, and through the 1700s. Novices for this congregation, novices generally came from the secular clergy, those people already ordained and functioning as priests. Not only that, some religious came from other institutions and joined the congregation also. But predominantly, it was secular priests who decided to become hermits. What vocations this congregation in Piedmont generally drew to themselves outside of these two, then, already professionally religious and professionally priests, were tending to be lawyers, nobles, military officers, and doctors. Quite a group they must have been.


Very rich and very powerful. They were also very stubborn, as history pointed out. Every time they tried to get the congregations together, it was usually Piedmont that got in the way because they didn't want to give up their jewels. No, they were, you know, at the same time, you had all these, even though they were wealthy, they were the most, well, along with the French, negating. They just did away with everything. Just very, very rigorous. Teaching? Nothing. They were strict hermits. Modeled themselves on the coronation. They had two writers, but they weren't that important. One was just the man who wrote Alessandro Ceva's biography, and his name is Vittore


Testa, T-E-S-T-A. And they also had Apollinare Chiomba, and he was a historian. He was a little more known generally than the other one. The other one was mainly just known within the congregation. Chiomba was a historian already before he went in. One other notable character from that congregation was Michele Michael Sassetti. Did you write all the names down from last time? Yeah? Yeah. I think I did, but I didn't write them down in one place. Oh, yeah, okay. Sassetti. Well, we only used one third of the names from last time. Anyway, Michael Sassetti, or Michele Sassetti, was a reformer who got at the helm of the congregation, and he was very rigoristic, and he reformed the already rigoristic congregation


to the point where he just rooted out absolutely everything but strict prayer and fasting and the customs that they held already. But he even cut some of that out. He said, no longer can we grow flowers. He knocked floriculture out of the congregation because he thought it was a distraction. And so much to the dismay of those monks who had flower gardens, they had to uproot them because Sassetti didn't like flowers. In 1706, the superiors had to intervene because the hermits generally had too much mobility. It was at a point where the monks were gone all the time on the road, and Sassetti was


one who came in and pulled back the reins, put the hermits back in their hermitages, pulled up the flowers, and led, by example, a life of rigor. This congregation is full of contrast. At the same time, these houses opened themselves up, these hermitages in this congregation opened themselves up to pilgrims and retreatants and visitors constantly, which was quite the opposite of the coronese on whom they had modeled themselves. And so because of that, Monte Corona, who had developed a relationship with Piedmont,


sort of put them at arm's length once they started doing that. They saw them as undermining what the hermits were supposed to be all about anyway. Because they had visitors right in their hermitages. I'm not talking about a guest house. I'm talking about right in what cloister there was. So it was a congregation full of contrasts. And then, of course, like the other congregations in the 1800s, early 1800s, it underwent the suppressions, just like everybody else. And despite Michael or Michele Sassetti, his attempt to revive the congregation after the suppressions, the first wave of suppressions, the Napoleonic ones, the congregation just dissolved.


It didn't make it. And so that is already the end of the Piedmontese congregation. We've already treated the Piedmontese congregation in 10 minutes' time. But there isn't much to say, basically, other than that. There is a nice, a nice long article, of course it's in Italian, on Sassetti and on what he tried to, how he tried to revive the congregation and tried to pull things together and continue the life, but it collapsed. Okay, the French congregation. This congregation really dates back to its founding monk who professed at Torino. He was actually a monk of the Piedmontese congregation, but he was a Frenchman. Boniface d'Antoine, Boniface of Anthony is his name.


And it dates back to 1626. He lived all of his monastic life in France except for his formative years at Torino. And he died at the age of 94 in the year 1673. The reason I mention his death is because it plays importantly into the history of the French congregation. He was considered a living saint by all the people who lived around his hermitage. And this sort of chaos, if you remember the life of Peter Damien, if you've ever read it, the monks tried to get the body of Peter Damien and they couldn't get him away from Fiennes. They were in the cathedral and it was just filled with people and it was like they were trying to get the sarcophagus in there and it was a real mess.


That's the kind of scene that played out at the death of Boniface d'Antoine. Even though there were attempts to join these two congregations, that is the Piedmontese and the French congregations, they never quite got to that point. And one of the main reasons for that is because the French congregation, for better or worse, was cut off geographically from everyone else in the Camaldolese family. And so they sort of developed on their own. With the Coronese customs, they modeled themselves on the customary of Monte Corona and were founded by a member of the Piedmontese congregation, they did their own thing. And actually became a very efficacious group.


You know, if the Piedmontese were the richest of the Camaldolese, the French were the poorest. They were absolutely, abjectly poor. During their history, they had enough money to make foundations, but they lived very poorly. And one would think almost intentionally so. They went to such lengths to live that life. Okay, historical milepost. 1604 to 1607, Notre Dame des Anges was founded in Provence by hermits who said they followed the spirit of Saint Romuald, but who were not Camaldolese at all. So that's the first taste of Romualdian monasticism, I suppose, or pseudo-Camaldolese life in France.


In 1608, two Spanish Camaldolese independently tried a foundation at Notre Dame de Grasse. That too failed, these two experiments failed. First one by people who weren't even Camaldolese, but were calling themselves so. And then the two Spanish Camaldolese, Spanish, they would have to be Coronese then because that's who were in Spain and who still are at Herrera. We have a hermitage. Are you a hermit in Spanish? The Coronese, yeah. Not that I know of, no. We have two volumes in Spanish on history of hermits in Spain, if you're interested. I don't know where that, you know, how deeply the Camaldolese figure into that. I can show you in the library where those are. 1614 then, we have the foundation Notre Dame de Pizier, Our Lady of Consolation.


And this is going to become the main house. In 1628, the Piedmontese customs are introduced en masse as a block. But they decide not to join the Piedmontese congregation. They want to stay independent right from the beginning. The king, King Louis XIII, approved their constitutions and their customs in the year 1634. The French kings were always into everything. And so you needed the approval of the king and of Parliament. The next year it was ratified by Parliament in 1635. Also in 1635, their constitutions and their setup was approved by the Pope, Pope Urban VIII.


And this is, remember, this is one of the popes who tried to get all the Camaldolese back together again. And so he forced that union upon them. So he forced the French to try and be in union with the other Camaldolese families. Well, none of them got together. They all stayed separate. It didn't work out. Other houses that are of any importance. I mentioned Notre-Dame de Consolation. I said Depitier. Later it took the name Consolation. And that also became the name of the congregation as a whole. Our Lady of Consolation Congregation. Congregation. This is the first house where the Major Superior and the novices lived. In the beginning of the congregation when it really took off. Another important house was the Val Jésus.


And that was more important towards the end of the history of the congregation. Because they were near Paris. And they were also very near... What was that group? The main place for the Jansenists were... You know the Arnault family? Mayor Angélique? Port Royale. Very near Port Royale. And this house of Camaldolese were very Jansenistic. Very Jansenistic. And they had some dealings with Port Royale. You would not have liked it there, Michael. Gros Bois. G-R-O-S-B-O-I-S. Gros Bois. Was founded in 1642. It was also called... Well, it was under the patronage of Saint John the Baptist. So the house Saint Jean Baptiste.


This was the second house for the major novices in the congregation. So down the road this became sort of the center of activity. A little bit down the road. This also is not far from Paris. And near Port Royale. And became Jansenistic. Somewhat. Had Jansenistic tendencies. The French congregation had a lot of foundations. If you remember the list I had on the board last week. Another one that was a very short-lived experiment was Brieux. Sounds like a good cheese, doesn't it? Brieux. 1674. It didn't make it. Another one which was important in the history was founded in 1648. And that was Sainte Marie de la Flotte. Also called La Rochelle. In 1659 they had a house named Saint Gilles de Besse that they founded.


In 1676 another sort. If you think about this, you know, we're not talking about just a house. We're talking each time a whole group of hermitages with the church. The whole setup, you know. It's no wonder they were poor. Another one that was a short-lived was Mont Valerian. And also Saint Sauveur de Rogat. But that didn't make it for too long. Another short-lived house was called Sennard. This became important in history only because after the revolution this became a very popular restaurant. With a monastic motif. And I'm told it still exists today. Sennard. S-E-N-A-R-T. And then they also had a house on an island.


Named Lille Chauvet. And that was founded in 1679. So in the 1600s this group was very, very busy. And was expanding incredibly. So they were doing very well. Their making it was aided to a great extent by other groups who were so impressed by, I mean, this was the real thing. They really lived to the hilt Romualdian monasticism. And the Maurist congregation of the Benedictines were very, very edified by this group. And they became closely aligned. Also the Cistercians in France. Highly respected the French commodities. They had a very high reputation for austerity. And it was very real. Even more than the Maurists. Even more than Saint Vannes and Cluny


in its heyday of austerity before it became too powerful. The French commodities were considered even more austere. But they were also excessively poor. And I suspect from a number of reasons. Not just that they were building so many houses. But I think they meant to be poor. They didn't have taken a lot of rich people as members. Not like the... The Piedmontese was all nobility. How are you when you say poor? What are the criteria? Enough to eat. Enough to eat. Right, right. Well, Piedmontese, you could think of gold and silver. Well, in the church. Very high church. This is very low church. Like the Quakers of the Commodities family.


And because they were poor, this particular congregation started a new custom in the Commodities family. And that was taking in rich benefactors who wanted to live as... Live a monastic life. A hermit's life. And who would give... And they were called donati, the givers. Donati. I'll get to that afterwards. And those people then would sign over everything that they owned to the house to be used for food and supplies and the whole thing. And they could live with the monks wearing a modified habit and living as hermits. As long as they didn't mess up things. Didn't stir up the waters or prove too problematic. And this worked for them.


This system of donati. They had a chancellor. The chancellor of the king, after he was done with his stint, became a Commodities donatus. They had a Transylvanian prince. A judge. Two lawyers. A bishop. Yes. At this time. Two ambassadors. And the king's armor bearer also became a donatus. They really started this donatus thing. Now the Coronese do it. The Coronese houses actually still have it in their customaries from the 1995 edition. The possibilities for this sort of thing. When I visited the Monte Corona house in Ohio to give them their annual retreat in 93, 94, somewhere in there.


No, it must have been 95 when I was out at Epiphany. They had a donatus there. Living in the community. He wasn't a rich fellow, but he just lived there as a sort of oblate and had given over his, whatever worldly goods he had. So it's interesting how this, even though they ended up, you know, just like the Piedmontese, when the French Revolution hit, that was the end of the French congregation. And bloodily so. I mean, even the prior, the hermit prior of Val Jésus was one guillotined. Because he was a commodity superior and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. They never came back after the French Revolution. There was no place for them. That was the end of the French. Early in this century,


there was a short-lived experiment under, hmm, I believe under Anselmo, Don Anselmo. And they had like a dozen monks. I've actually seen photos of them. All lined up along an exterior staircase coming out of the building. They were all on the staircase smiling, holding their, yes. French and I think a couple of Italians. And it seems to me, Don Anselmo was somewhat involved with them as a young monk. So as a, just out of junioriter, just into solemn vows, he went to try and help them. I don't think this must have been about the 20s or 30s, somewhere in there. But there are no French commodities men right now. There are, we have a house of women


in France, but no men. Okay, now I'm going from 20th century. See how much of this we can finish. This is basically just taking all of this then in the last five lectures about the historical pointers. Taking all that into consideration then. Where do we go? Where did the commodities go from the point of the suppressions? Okay. Backtracking just a half a step. In 18, we're going to go to Kamaldoli now. In 1866, the monks of Kamaldoli were expelled from the monastery. At the time of the expulsion, the majority of the hermits there set off a few miles away to Pratalia, where there was a Benedictine Abbey there. They didn't go to the Abbey. They went to Pratalia,


near Pratalia, where a benefactor named Cardinal Scimone, in blue here, Cardinal Scimone, let them use a small villa of his and set up their own Kamaldoli's community so that they could keep going when the government suppressed the house and kicked them out. They named the place San Alberico and they tried as much as possible to live the rhythms of the life from the Sacra Erdomo there at this little villa, which is very difficult because it's not a cluster of hermitages. We're talking about a villa, so everybody had a room, but it's not the same as, of course, the Laura set up, for instance. The congregation tried to maintain itself through the gifts that benefactors gave to them


to keep going and their own small allowance that they got from the government. All the people who were kicked out of various religious institutes might have a small, meager allowance. They opened a school, a collegio, which later they moved to Buon Solazzo. Sometimes you'll see it without the U, Buon Solazzo. They opened it sort of like a minor seminary type thing from our own experience here in the 20th century. It was a school for boys, but all the boys wore little habits. I've seen photos of it. You see, if you know, Innocenzo was in there and Emanuele, and you see them with chubby little Italian boys


and little miniature little commodities habits they wore. Yeah, when you're over there, ask to see that. It's really humorous. But this school that they opened up actually is what kept the place, kept the congregation going because through this school, while it lived, while it existed, they got a number of important locations out of their boys' school during this time. When it moved to Buon Solazzo and took on the name Buon Solazzo in 1905, the first three alumni of the school, before it went to Buon Solazzo, so they opened a collegio at Sena Alberigo or nearby, the first three monks took vows, or the first three alumni of the school


were closed as commodities in 1891. And so as soon as the slow trickle of parish priests who joined the community along with the trickle of vocations that came from the school kept the congregation alive during this very hard time. In 1899, the director of Comaldoli votes, by the way, the government then lets the Comaldolis back in, but as caretakers. And that's, to this day, that's the way it's set up. We do not own Comaldoli. The government does. We are the caretakers. Even though we're living there


and running a guest house for 200 people down below, not in the Aramo, but at the monastery, and running this and running that and living the full life. It's not ours. It's both places, the sacred hermitage and the monastery. Yeah. Not ours. In 1899, the chapter voted unanimously to accept the offer from a Brazilian bishop to make a foundation, a Comaldolis foundation in Brazil. They voted unanimously because they saw it as a way to guarantee that the congregation would exist should another wave of... I mean, they've already been through two historically now. The Napoleonic wave,


waves, I should say, and then the series of Italian suppressions here in the late 1800s. So they saw religious life in Italy as very iffy, at best, for the future. And so they saw Brazil as a chance to perpetuate the congregation, literally. 1899. In 1900, then, we began official life in the diocese or in the parish of Caxias. Now, I don't know how to pronounce this. X in Brazil would be a sh, I think. Caxias. It's Portuguese pronunciation. Caxias. I think it's Caxias. In Brazil. It was in an area


where a number of Italian and German immigrants had formed little hamlets, little farming communities in Brazil. And so they thought, well, this is a good place to try it, or at least we have some Catholics, European Catholics in the area to support us. And they gave the name of the foundation, as the name of the foundation, New Camaldoli. And it wasn't long before they had a hermitage set up in the forest nearby. There was a problem in Brazil which, just like everyone in all the other countries at this time, had set restrictions on religious institutes as to how old people had to be before they could join a religion. And so they had


Brazilian locations already in the beginning, but they couldn't take them in because they were too young for the Brazilian regulations. And so, actually Brazil lowered its regulations for the Camaldolis. So evidently, Brazil also, the government also wanted the Camaldolis there for whatever reasons. I don't have that here. I was looking to see if I had it here. And I don't remember. I'm thinking it's something like mid-twenties and they brought it down to twenty or something like that. Now we, nowadays, don't think mid-twenties is bad at all. But back then, it was really a serious hamper put on religious institutes. Nowadays, we say you have to be twenty-five before you come. And if it's lower,


then there are some exceptions made, at least in Italy. They've had twenty-two-year-olds and twenty-three-year-olds join in the last few years, but they're considered exceptions. Not back here. Back here you took them early. In fact, if you could get them in grade school and put a habit on them, you just hoped that they'd persevere. In 1906, a second foundation in Brazil, but this foundation was made as a non-aramidical foundation. So this is a cenobitic foundation is made off of this first one at a place called Anarrec. Looks like Germans lived there, huh? They say it's a small town of Venetian immigrants, I suspect founded by German immigrants. In 1912,


so that's just before the war, huh? 1913 was the war? 1914? The Holy See orders a visitation of all three congregations. Now, in 1912, we have three congregations. There's still the cenobitic congregation. In 1912, they order, the Vatican orders a serious look at all the houses of the three congregations because they want to regularize. They want to have the life regularized so that every house, every commodity's house is different, is not different from all the others. And also because at this time, there is, within the Vatican, support for forcing all commodities to be hermits. There's an aramidical push in the Vatican.


Why? I have no idea. Why? Certain people had power at that time who thought all commodities should be hermits, even though one of the congregations was cenobitical, not hermit at all. In 1913, the Holy See orders Brazil to concentrate all its efforts and energies on new commodity, not on a wreck. Remember, on a wreck is the cenobitical house. So, one of the results of this visitation is this order that goes to Brazil. They allow two priests and two brothers to remain there on a wreck, but bad feelings ensue. And so, the two houses begin a relationship from 1913 on,


then, of nastiness. Nastiness. And at one point, a letter in 1921 calls on a wreck the American cancer, unquote, quote, unquote, the American cancer, referring to the monastery. World War I seems to have given the coup de grâce to the cenobitical congregation. They had some losses during World War I, and they never seemed to be able to draw any vocations after, much vocations at all after the World War, for whatever reasons. And they were spread kind of thinly, too. That could have been one of the reasons. Perhaps, if the cenobitical congregation


had pulled back their men into, let's say, two houses, and got two houses going very well again, perhaps it would have helped them. But, the writing is already on the wall in the early 20s for what happened in 1935. In 1923, Abbot Ildefons Schuster, who later became Cardinal Schuster, of St. Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome, he later became the Cardinal of Milan, he presides over the general chapter at Commandole. So they brought in a Benedictine abbot to preside in the general chapter. In 1927, the Brazil Foundation


is ended. And so, that hope for Brazil went down the drain at that time. Also in 1927, new constitutions were approved. Both of these events seem to have stemmed from Cardinal Schuster's intervening at the general chapter and what they discussed at the general chapter. And then it went on, but already then, the writing was on the wall for Brazil, it seems. So 1927, it just finally ended. In 1931, Domenico Savani, who was the general of the black Franciscans, the conventional Franciscans, the group that Daniel used to belong to, was


called upon to make an apostolic visitation of Camaldoli. So all kinds of little undercurrents going on. Whenever they bring in people from the outside, you can see that there's unrest at Camaldoli and there's uncertainty about what's going on. Part of it certainly was the whole business about the Cenobitical Congregation. And in 1934, there is an apostolic visitation of just the Cenobitical Congregation by a Benedictine abbot, Emanuele Carotti. And the next year, the Holy See suppresses the Cenobitical Congregation. The houses that were suppressed were Faenza. We still have women in Faenza. We don't have a male house in Faenza anymore. Volterra, Florence, Perugia,


and Texas. All suppressed. Along with all their parishes. They are suppressed by Pope Pius XI's decree inter religiosus. Once again, parenthetically, this is the whole area then of history, Commodity's history, that our own Roberto now is planning to do a dissertation on. If he can get into the Vatican archives in this area. So, what houses did they keep? Rome, San Gregorio, Fonte Avalana, Fabriano, and Sassoferrato. Sassoferrato, they only kept a little bit and then they closed that down. It was only temporary. So we kept Fabriano, Rome, and San Gregorio. And these houses went into the


Commodities, the Hermits of Tuscany then. Fonte Avalana also had to go back to its old name, the Venerable Hermitage of Fonte Avalana. This is a political move. They had to take back and call themselves the Venerable Hermitage even though it was no longer a hermitage. Not even set up as a hermitage. It was the principal. And the Cenobitical congregation is what was being suppressed. And so you end all Cenobitical ties, even a name. The Vatican decreed that six months of testing for the Cenobites who wished to join the Hermits would have to take place. what would you call that period of I'm trying to get a word


where you're not in but you are Thank you. I knew it started with P. Probation. Probationary period of six months. And if you want to know personally something about what those Hermits went under or underwent ask Thomas Mattis sometime when he's here. It's quite it was quite awful the kind of treatment they got. It's also crazy isn't it? Commodities to commodities. But there were years and decades of well there were centuries of fighting and bickering over so many stupid little things. Then you have commodity under fascism Mussolini the whole business. Our houses generally


were not very fascist oriented but there were individual monks in various houses who were fascists. There is the cause right now for one of the monks who was who died in the Holocaust. He was a monk of Fabriano I think. He was in the he was a chaplain in the fascist military forces and was captured by something or other and he gave his own life to rescue somebody else who was going to a death camp or something like that I forget what it was. And and now he's up for beatification so maybe we'll get our first fascist monk our first fascist monk beatified. During this time


during the thirties and and also the forties is a time of real backtracking and rooting in to what does it really mean to become going back to the sources led basically by Benedetto and Anselmo both of them to become priors general down the line. The congregation sent these two to Fonte Avelana and they said take the young with you and form them form a new generation of Kamaldolese. And so Benedetto was the master of students and these two men take our own primary sources of the life of Romuald the life of the five brothers do they have that? Not sure of that. And


our early constitutions Rudolf and began to study them with the young and they began to publish a monastic newsletter called Avelana Fonte Avelana Avelana Then the fruit of these years of studies here became published in two books called Kamaldolese that's basically a study of our history history of our people throughout the centuries our saints and some of the houses and then Eremor both of which we have in the library and that is a study of primitive Kamaldolese spiritual aramidical spirituality aramidical note aramidical spirituality and this these are both edited by Don Anselmo


Also a lot of the work the preliminary work for what will eventuate in the new constitutions new Kamaldolese constitutions are done right here at Fonte Avelana by the young in the in the congregation and these two men Switch over to Kamaldolese from 1934 onwards two men who are who are very strong in the movement of Fucci it's do I have the it's the Federation United Federation for something or something or other what it is basically is [...] lay people studying theology in Italy 1934 onwards already way before the Council they started an ongoing program at Kamaldolese the two men


who who are at the head of this involved very strongly in this are men named Cordovani and Montini you recognize either name? Montini we call him the same yes it is he was very close to Kamaldolese Pope Pius Pope Paul VI very close to Kamaldolese used to go there every summer Kamaldolese at this time then becomes a center for social and political social action that is Christian Democracy Christian Democratic Movement it's also a center for theology certainly with Fucci during the summers Fucci Fucci here it is Federazione it's for the theological formation of the laity good


they also had a number of youth programs going already on 1934 onwards 1943 right during the war this is the big one as they used to say World War II you had this in March 10th I'm going to go till 11 today so 7 more minutes there's a bitter letter to the Pope in 1943 9 no 8 years after the close of the Cenobitical Congregation the former general of that congregation Vincenzo Barbarossa writes a long and passioned letter because during the ensuing years he had found out some things about who had been involved with the closing of the Cenobitical Congregation and lies that had been told and da [...] the title of the letter this is an official letter to the Pope and so it has a title only as only Italians can do


the letter of clarification about the sad events for the Comaldolese Cenobites focusing the responsibility on those who worked secretly for the suppression of my dear congregation this war this letter this letter was never delivered it never got into the Pope's hands we're in World War II a very interesting part of our history is when the Gestapo came to Comaldolese Buffadini Pier Damiano Buffadini Peter Damian Buffadini he was general at the time at Comaldolese had to deal with the Gestapo and we were essentially we were hiding mainly British airmen various allied airmen


who had parachuted out of burning planes and whatnot and a number of generals who had been I don't know how somehow they had gotten cut off from the allies and were in the other sector behind the lines yeah and they were trying to Comaldolese was trying to usher these people out secretly back to the allied lines the Germans were very interested in Comaldolese anyway because it's high it's way up there and had a very strategic point sort of like Monte Cassino was a number of partisans also so Italians fighting against their own forces and the German forces were also linked with Comaldolese and passing through Comaldolese and the SS had


a whiff about that or a whiff of that and Comaldolese and Bucerini were very astute it seems this is very Italian also at playing one one part of the Germans against another above the bureaucracy and so things they never got their hands together and came to Comaldolese at the right time because they were always screwing them up by what is the there's a word for that too when you disinformation spreading disinformation to the right people at the right time there were bombings not of Comaldolese itself but all through the plane beneath the mountain the Casentino the Casentine and over Comaldolese they were buzzed by spit fires again and


again over the hermitage of Comaldolese at one point the army was hiding 26 soldiers and 7 generals more soldiers than hermits up at the top of the mountain and they got them out of the they were tipped off by a partisan got them out of the hermitage out of the church wherever they were hiding them got them all into the woods just before the Gestapo came and their jeeps surrounded Comaldolese aimed the machine guns at the hermitages and went from hermitage to hermitage checking but didn't get them and the soldiers they got they were able to get them all out afterwards anyway this is all in that little diary by Buffardini it's wonderful to read it's very exciting it's a diary of June 1944 to September 1944 just a few months no but I could easily do that I'd have to


get another copy of it when I'm over there though because I lost I lost all my copies of everything um how are we doing I think we'll stop here and we'll finish up the history from the 50s on then and look at the two congregations that still exist look at them as they are today and then we'll begin to come on to these saints next time too because there's not there's more time than than we need in one period to finish off this history we're almost to the end okay you you