Okay, sorry for not writing more to those two people who check this blog. I’ll be better; it’s not as busy now.
Corvus et Columba Mission
In the early months of 2001, Corvus et Columba was established as a focal and liminal point between the Monastery of St. Benedict and Norcia and her inhabitants, guests and pilgrims. Upon this threshold between the monastic and secular life is Corvus et Columba built, and its grounding is a daily and yet long-term barter of ideas and the people living them.
In this way, the mission of Corvus et Columba is two-fold. It is firstly a place of partial entry into the monastic way of life for the pilgrim, tourist or local. People curious about the life of a Benedictine monk, the consecrated life, prayer, fasting, alms-giving or the Catholic man in general should find themselves in the midst of a compendium of information and products that cater to their needs.
Corvus et Columba is an exit point for the monastic community within, where the community comes to meet the monastery in something of a regulated but less sacred atmosphere. Meetings, tours, appointments and friendly visitations with
the monastic community frequently begin and end at Corvus et Columba , and the manager is a vendor as well as a host. When a monk is not available, the manager takes his place as best he can to provide information about monastic life.
Corvus et Columba is also a filter. Many people who end up at Corvus et Columba are aware of the sacredness of the monastic life but not of its protocol. Inquiries, requests, letters and kind words are translated into meetings with dates and times, and much of what is said by our guests is written down to present to the monastery. This relates not only to personal interaction but also electronic forms of communication.
Secondly, because words are
fleeting, Corvus et Columba also provides items that relate to Benedictine monastic life and serve as an entry
into the monastic life itself or as a reminder of one’s pilgrimage. The “feel” of Corvus et Columba is different in that it seeks to make tourists into pilgrims, and pilgrims into holier pilgrims. The products in Corvus et Columba are made by a monastic
community and serve to recall the spirit of the Rule of St Benedict, where monks are praised who live of the labor of their own hands. The end of Corvus et Columba is to encourage participation in the life of a monastery, not to seek money; the end is the profit of souls and not sales. Food products and the like, can help non-religious people to enter into monastic life. A vigorous
atheist would not want to buy any products in Corvus et Columba. A struggling doubter might find encouragement in
his confusion if he sees that the products are a result of high ethical standards and the stability of centuries.
However, the money made in Corvus et Columba supports the monastery, so every item sold is in some way a charitable action. If the profit of Corvus et Columba was not useful, it would be relegated to a reading room. However, the process of earning money must always be a symbiotic one. If ever our guests are overcharged unjustly, or are led to suspicion in the intention or origin of our products Corvus et Columba has failed in its primary mission. If pilgrims are left with the sense that Corvus et Columba is primarily interested in money, like any other store in Norcia, then Corvus et Columba has
failed in its mission.
Let it be then, that the Corvus et Columba store never fall into the snares of greed, vanity, or any uncharitable act, but always be gracious to its guests and to Norcia, where the monastery is itself a guest. Treating each person who walks through the door as Christ is paramount, offering Christ is due when possible, and conducting our own lives in is His image is of essence until we meet him in the end.
Rough draft now, will perfect after some time. Leaving for Rome, and then Dublin tomorrow. Wish me luck…