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FI News – First Contemplative House Opened in Italy

By December 1, 2007March 4th, 2019Fi News
Convento del Bosco ai Frati

In November we opened a new contemplative house in Tuscany, Italy in the historic Franciscan friary Convento del Bosco ai Frati?which means “Friary of the Woods near the Friars”. Actually it is the first contemplative house for friars in our order. The sisters already have?four contemplative houses; Cornwall, England; Citta di Castello, Italy; Alassio, Italy and Cebu, Philippines.

Location of Bosco ai Frati

The Friary was already occupied by?FI friars?with an active ministry and a portion of the friary is now allocated to the contemplative house. Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean, the former superior of our Postulant House in Maine, NY, USA and?did the excellent series The Cornerstone here on AirMaria, is?the superior. He has already taken up his?residence there?and so will no longer be making any new?videos. We still have some videos that he already made that we have not aired yet. So you will be seeing those in the near future. Thank you for all you have done here on AirMaria, Fr. Maximilian. Fr. Michael Gauvreau, currently?stationed?here at Griswold, CT,?will also be joining the contemplative house in a week or so to see if he is called to that life.

Contemplative houses have a long history in the Franciscan Order dating back to the time of St. Francis himself. The schedule for the contemplative friars includes more time set aside for prayer, a night rising for prayer and they do not leave the convent even for ministry. However, they will be doing some form of apostolate, writing and such,?which can be done while remaining in the house.

The Portico

History of the Building

The friary was built in the 6th Century long before St. Francis was born?(1181) and was used by Basilian monks. It was donated to St. Francis?in 1212, thus making it one of the first friaries in the order and has more historical and spiritual significance than any other friary in the area other than Mt. Alverna where St Francis received his stigmata. This is where St. Bonaventure was washing the dishes when a delegate from the pope came in 1273 to give him the red cardinal’s hat. Over the years the convent slipped in and out of the Franciscans hands as plague?and political upheaval came and went and the building has suffered from earthquakes and age but both the Franciscans and the building survived it all and the Franciscan always came back.

The Inside of the Church


Madonna with Child Jesus,
one of the many famous works of art in the church.

So many blessings.?Deo Gratias!

Ave Maria!



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