Wednesday, July 11, 2012




Market Day. . . 

Wednesday I wake up really early and catch the 7 o'clock bus down the mountain to do my shopping.  How does one feed a family of six with no car and hauling one's groceries?  The answer is my fabulous wheely cart I bought myself and also the generosity of neighbors.  In the above photo is salad and squash and apricots and onions all courtesy of our neighbor's gardens.  The cheese is from the bottega right here in Gravagna.  
  
Anyway, today I had, added to my normal shopping agenda, going to confession.   I woke up early and went over all my sins with the dictionary, always helpful preparation.   Ben had told me that there was a bell you could ring at the Capuchin monastery right outside of Pontremoli and a friar would come down and here your confession.   The monastery is up at the top of a hill and a road winds up to it.  With my wheely bag jostling behind me I ascended the hill and rang the bell.    

I expected an old friar to answer.  Instead an middle aged woman came on the telecom, all efficiency and politeness, like a hotel clerk and told me to go wait in the church, a friar would be there shortly.  I walked into the church and no sooner had I looked around than a friendly old Franciscan came in and, as if we were old friends meeting after many years, greeted me and had me sit in the pew with him for confession.  

His words were simple.  He treated me like I was a small child and he interrupted my confession several times to ask questions about me.  It was like being with Christ.  Afterward  he showed me with great pride the display case they have with Padre Pio's habit,  hair, and tear stained patten in it.  We parted ways and I  walked back down the hill feeling lighter in spirit.  

There is a sort of arched retaining wall that runs alongside the road to the monastery and someone at some point planted roses in the arches.  Now an invasive Asian plant crowds them out.  Still the roses bloom.   It occurred to me that in some respects the friars there are like those roses blooming happily amongst the weeds of post modern Europe.  

As if to fulfill my metaphor several hours later outside of the discount store I saw my friar and another happily walking along the road with some friends. . . . 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

anna: i want to go to confession there! When we were in Cascia I went to confession at the tomb of St. Rita. It was so wonderful! Luckily for me, the priest spoke English (he was from some African country). The joke was that I was with 2 priests (Father Alex and Father Kevin) but I wouldn't go to confession to them!! The sin of pride, I guess. Can't wait to get to Gravagna. I MIGHT even get up my courage to ride the bus down! Love, Mama

Anonymous said...

Anna, you guys are awesome. Love it! Makes me remember I had to go to confession. Authentic!
Laurence from France

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's Laurence again,
just wanted to share with you Anna, the 2 websites that I found, thought YOU might like. One of the two websites is on kids activities (of all ages) and among them, improvisation games, real cool... I've tried some (pop-corn, energy 1-10) all with Hermine and Jacques' 16 cousins : http://www.kidactivities.net/post/Improv-Games-and-Exercises.aspx

AND another website bout nice simple healthy recipees : www.whfoods.org with 100 recipes as friendly inspiration. I especially liked the hot polenta breakfast. I know you're in the mountain/hills so it may be overbearing to think, this and that particular ingredient, regardless of having such and such a thing but it's in the spirit of happy food-making that I wanted to share this. Read your blog when you were preparing meals back in Va but here is the link now as it is. I liked being on this site.
Happy Summer, yey for big blossomed, fully fragrant and fully present roses!
I think it was Victor Hugo (for a poetry side-note) who said something like 'doing what is good puts special fragrance to one's soul'. just for the heck of cool quotations.
Cheerioh *smile*

anna said...

Thanks Laurence! Your comments made my day! I will check out the links!

Anna

Tempest said...

Anna,
Buongiorno from Va Beach! I'm so jealous of your vita rustica, and love your blog. Mine is most def. forgotten for the moment--as I have been more focused on job vs writing. I shall take it up again, though, when I deploy.
I hope that Ben is well, and the children are rosy, happy and filled with adventure!
Your story is such a beautiful one, I love Franciscans and their simplicity. It makes one truly contemplate HIS simplicity!
Pax et Bonum!

FlyDurden said...

Lovely blog post :)

I was looking for information on Ben Hatke illustrations (which my daughter and I are a big fan of) and I came across your blog).

I'll be coming back for more, Italy is one of my favorite places on earth but I've never visited this village. Will do next year :)

Good health to you and to your family!