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.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mgr Oliveri at Villatalla on the Feast of St. Benedict

On July 11 of this year, our bishop, Most Rev. Mario Oliveri, provided us with the grace and pleasure of his company in order to celebrate Pontifical Mass for the solemnity of St. Benedict. He came with a good number of priest friends and acquaintances of our house, including Canon Guitard of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign High Priest.In his homily, Bishop Oliveri first of all emphasized the holiness and spiritual influence of our founder: “On this holy day which finds us gathered in this parish church of Villatalla, our attention is drawn in particular to the holy soul of St. Benedict, father of a multitude of consecrated souls, father of monasticism in the West, a father who built a new mansion in the great house which the Church is; St. Benedict who is a teacher of the spiritual life, a divinely enlightened teacher of the monastic life. Let us pay special attention as well to all his sons, to all those who wish to live according to his teaching. We need to pay special attention to them so as to understand how to live well our Christian lives; we should take them as examples; they are among us, here as elsewhere in the Church, as examples who live the fullness of the demand which the Gospel [we have just heard] speaks about: ‘Whoever leaves houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother or children or fields for the sake of my name will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life’.”

And then, with the faith and authority of a true pastor, Bishop Oliveri spoke a few words about the silence of the Canon of the Mass which made a strong impression on the souls of the hearers: “Oh, my dear brethren, how beautiful it would be to be recollected during this holy celebration, in these moments of total or almost total silence! Especially during the Eucharistic Prayer, when this unique [single] Sacrifice arrives, sacramentally present, on our altar... Our attitude is not so much to say many things, or to understand each word spoken, but to keep what is happening vividly present to the soul, and to place ourselves in full and complete adoration,l in the state of contemplation and assent.
“Let nothing --says the Rule of St. Benedict-- be preferred to Christ” and then “let nothing be preferred to His Work.” But what is the Work of Christ? It is the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son, the mystery of the Son who is made flesh, who died on the Cross to rise on the third day. It is the mystery of the Cross, the mystery of Christ, the mystery of his Sacrifice. The Work of God is the whole divine liturgy.
Dear Brethren, believe this, accept this, live this. There is nothing more important in your life than participation, your participation, in the celebration of the divine mysteries, the divine liturgy.
Now, you understand why holy monks, particularly Benedictine monks, must live singing all day long the praises of the Lord, praying continually, celebrating the divine liturgy of the Sacrifice of Christ and the Hours, the holy Hours, the Hours of the prayer of the whole Church.
As for us, we promise to these dear monks who are established here in this presbytery of the parish church, who offer the sacraments and pray in this parish church, we promise them to be always near them and we assure them of our ardent prayer that they be saints and good models. And that is why we ask of them just that: be you the example that we must follow. Show us in all things the way of salvation, the way that leads to Jesus Christ, the way that leads to eternal life. Praised be Jesus Christ.”

Brother Ansgar, Père Jehan and don Giancarlo, parish priest of Villatalla, in the stalls from the seminary of Albenga 
offered by Mgr Oliveri.

Mgr Oliveri at the faldstool: he is removing the pontifical vestments which he had put on to celebrate Holy Mass.

After Mass, Mgr Oliveri blessed our new chapter room-library. He was delighted at the fine work done in the old cellar, thanks to our benefactors, and spoke to the monks with brief and fatherly words of encouragement.

Afterwards some families of Villatalla offered a sumptuous meal to His Excellency and a score of priests and friends of the Benedictines of the Immaculate. More than once afterwards we were told privately that that day had been one of light and grace for many.