Dear friends and family,

On Feb. 10, many centuries ago, St. Scholastica, the twin sister of St. Benedict, passed to eternal life, preceding her brother by about forty days, who then died on March 21. Christ spent forty days in the desert before beginning His public ministry. We also observe 40 days in the Lenten season preparing for Easter. To the great patriarch of western monasticism, God gave this ultimate preparation period of 40 days, after his sister's death, as if it were a final Lent. According to St. Gregory the Great, Benedict knew exactly when he would die and had the tomb opened six days before.
One reason the pandemic has destabilized people's lives is that it reminds us of the uncertainty about our last days. We are forced to accept that we are ultimately in control of very little. Just as he did for St. Benedict, God gives all of us little chances to let go and to trust Him more. This does not mean we will never experience suffering, but that suffering can become a means of attaining greater freedom as we trust more in Him.
For the monks in Norcia, that means accepting the trials that come as reasons to hope for what will come after this life. We must joyfully live each day as a chance to give glory to Him, knowing that we belong to Him. May these photographs taken "in Monte" bring each of you a little taste of that joy.

In Christ,
Dom Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B.
Our Lady and the Christ Child, covered in January snow.
A 19th-century crucifix in the cloister's herb garden.
A monk prays Sext from a nearby mountain cave.
A monk builds a dry stone wall in the animal enclosure.
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© 2022 Monastero di San Benedetto in Monte

The Monks of Norcia
Monastero di San Benedetto in Monte
Via Case Sparse, 164
06046 Norcia, PG

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