A new community of strict observance in the Benedictine tradition was born on July 2nd 2008 in Villatalla, a small Italian village located in Liguria on the heights of Imperia, very near to Ventimiglia and the French border (see map).
This community was founded by two monks originally from the abbey of Le Barroux (France), at the request made to them by His Excellency Mario Oliveri, bishop of Albenga-Imperia. Here you will find information on this monastic project and some of the events which marked their recent installation.
This information is above all an appeal to the charity of your prayer and, for those who can, a request for material help. Heartfelt thanks.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter Triduum schedule

Maundy ThursdayGood FridayHoly Saturday
Silent prayer
Silent prayer
Silent prayer
16:00Vesperal mass15:00Liturgy
of the
20:00Compline22:00Paschal vigil
24:00Midnight mass

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Requiem for Dom Gérard

Dear Friends,
Tomorrow, on the 1st of March, we shall commemorate the second anniversary of the death of Dom Gerard († February 28, 2008), our founder at Bedoin and then at Le Barroux, and we shall celebrate a Requiem Mass on that day for him.
Barroux Abbey Church – Dom Gerard’s Funeral

We long with all our strength, here at Villatalla, to live in its purity the liturgical and monastic grace which Dom Gérard received at Bedoin in 1970, which he knew how to protect and pass on by example and by words (for which he had a gift): a grace of founding of which I was a privileged witness, being his first companion and disciple; a grace that was focused in the untiring quest for an interior life fed from the twofold source of the Benedictine Rule and the customs handed down partly by our elders, partly by the traditional and divine liturgy.

“In a spirit of unity within the Community, we do not concelebrate according to Paul VI’s rite, even outside the monastery.” (D. Gérard, April 25, 1997.)
Thirty-five years later, faced with a dispute, he would protest with force: “I repeat that I have never—never—wished to introduce the use of the new rite. Not only have I not wished it, but during thirty years we have held the course, formed the community in the sense of this faithfulness, defying prohibitions on this matter, which are changed now into gracious permissions and congratulations from high up”.
It is through both monastic and liturgical loyalty that the inner life establishes, little by little, its kingdom in our soul. Such was his deepest conviction. It is also by this dual loyalty that we shall testify to an authentic filial devotion. An authentic filial devotion which, as Jean Madiran points out, is not only “to recognise oneself as an insolvent debtor in one’s own being”, but also “to know that the received heritage has to be passed on and not to be used only for one’s own benefit”.

Filial devotion is not a ‘superfluous adornment’ of monastic life but a ‘condition of its survival’. Madiran’s harsh but true words, on the irreligious of the country apply equally and indeed more so, to the religious impiety:
“Because the irreligious person, neglecting or being unconcerned towards the intellectual and moral life he has received, although part of his being, is ungrateful towards those who have fed and armed his soul. He will be as a result unable to pass on in his turn, this immaterial wealth. Influenced, as we always are, more by actions than by speeches, he will pass on his own indifference, his own ingratitude. He will breathe and inspire a spirit of ignorance of the moral heritage of the homeland. If we do not honour, we start to neglect. We become indifferent. We find ourselves helpless in the face of mockery and contempt that sooner or later will move from the background to the forefront, and will speak up without restraint”. (Jean Madiran, Une Civilisation Blessée au Cœur, p. 34.)
“What does the past matter as the past, exclaimed Gustave Thibon then, do you not see that, when I cry on the breaking up of a tradition, it is, above all, of the future that I am thinking of? When I see a root rot I feel sorry for the flowers which will dry up tomorrow for lack of sap. These are the reasons why we must fervently keep the most sacred forms of the Catholic Liturgy.”

Earlier happiness (1977) at Bedoin, fruit of the founder’s grace

It is therefore with a filial gratitude, that this Monday, the 1st March, we will offer the holy sacrifice of the mass for the soul of the one who was for many, a beacon and for us a father and a teacher. He was able to show us the radiant path of the absolute monastic life.
Driven by this filial spirit, we are delighted that, in honour and memory of Dom Gerard, an Italian oblate of Le Barroux has undertaken a translation of his works in the beautiful and noble language of Dante. It can be found on a website (romualdica.blogspot.com). Dear Italian friends, you will find here a treasure for the spiritual life of your soul, and a genuine and eloquent heritage, which has been the background of monastic spirituality since it’s origins.

Brother Jehan, mbi

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Prayers for vocations

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, model of the consecrated life

It is now a year and a half since we were invited by Mgr Oliveri to transplant the monastic life into Villatalla. Thanks to numerous friends and benefactors, we hope to finish setting up house soon. But at the moment, what we need more than material help are your prayers, so that the Lord will send us solid vocations as pioneers of the foundation.
Say an Ave every day for Vocations for Villatalla. Thank you!

We ask you, who are reading our blog with kindness and charity, for this alms of an Ave every day for this intention.

We were hoping soon for the presence of Brother Ansgar Santogrossi, who had come to spend the past two summers with us and had intended to remain with us for good this year. Man proposes and God disposes, and Providence has now decided otherwise. As for Brother Egidio-Marie, who made a six-month trial with the community, he has finally decided to return among his brothers the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

We find ourselves then only two again, Brother Toussaint and myself, to carry out the daily tasks and chant the entire Divine Office as well as conventual Mass. It makes me remember the beginning of Bedoin in 1970, a beginning which called for always a great generosity and constancy.
With the grace of God, everything is possible, but prudence teaches that it isn’t wise to put too much strain on “Brother Ass” (as St. Francis called the body). Your prayers to obtain vocations are the most necessary and most precious help that you can offer us for the development in number and fervor of this community which is still in the process of coming into existence.

We are expecting, true, three postulants for spring and summer. May Heaven grant that they are made for us! Now then, your Ave! We thank you with all our hearts.

Brother Jehan, mbi