In a guest blog from my Italian friend, Silvana de Palma, musician, artist and lover of Hildegard, she tells us about a saint beloved in her home region, a journey towards the church where the saint’s relics are found, a place of profound, frequent pilgrimage, also somewhere I have visited both in distress and in deep contentment (on my honeymoon).
“18 May… End of ‘captivity’ for many… For me it is only the beginning of a delicate moment for Italy… I’m in the South… South East… I’m in Puglia… That heel of Italy springing its step towards the east, to Greece…
“Almost all my travels are not spatial but temporal: I have always travelled in the past… I live on pilgrimages to Castel del Monte, Monte Sant’Angelo, to San Nicola di Bari… between castles, caves and cathedrals by the sea… I have always traveled in my heart, with my thoughts, because often my body can not accompany me and my journeys of the mind can be as firm and strong as those made on my feet. But today… 18 May… I choose to walk towards San Nicola… The Basilica is deserted… Touching, alienating to see the pews marked by spacers… Where are the faithful? All in San Nicola alone in thought, like I am so often? Everyone elsewhere?
(Silvana switches here to English)
“Everybody goes to Nowhere…
“I’m Now and Here, dear San Nicola…
(back to Italian)
“You who dispense gifts to the needy… bring the miracle of jobs into the hands of the people of Puglia… Give hope back to those who have lost it… Receive the prayers of the sincere… Let the stranger be welcomed… pilgrims… through the lands… Viator… On the paths… the pilgrims on the way from Canterbury to Rome to Jerusalem (known as Francigeni because the path is the Via Francigena)… foreigners… Let people learn to welcome everyone, even those who carry with them ideas or things that they don’t understand… Let the “conviviality of differences” bring forth peace in us and then direct it towards others. San Nicola, exiled from his homeland… Help us to help each other. Teach us to take up what is right and give what we can, teach us welcome and love.”
Thank you Silvana for sharing your beautiful interior and exterior journey.
I felt I wanted to accompany this with music by my pilgrim maestro, Giovannangelo de Gennaro, constant inspiration and frère âme.