FIRST PLACE in ITALY

with 110.341 VOTES ! 

 

In the seventh census promoted by FAI (Italian Fund for the Environment)

Praised be you, o my Lord, for our sister mother Providence!

 

Thank you, thank you, thanks to all of you! 

18th February, 2015
Today the sun is shining at Monterosso as a sign of blessing
and for the explosion of joy and enthusiasm from all her supporters, near and far!

 

At midday FAI, the Italian Fund for the Environment, 
proclaimed the classification of the winners of the census "Places in the Heart 2014"

 

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The first emotion and the first words that spring from our heart are of deep and touched gratitude for all those who believed in us, supported us, and who, thanks to their passion and determination, tenaciously helped to spread the word to get votes.

 

 

Our heartfelt THANKS to EVERYONE – no exclusions: to those who put forth their efforts in any way possible, and to those who felt it as a duty, and to those who thought it was fun – and knocked on doors, talked about the project in squares, on beaches, in shops and hotels; shared in schools, universities and barracks, spread the word in rest homes and hospitals, on the job, in church, at parties, on excursions, at dinner with friends, and even on the trains and boats loaded with tourists on their way to Monterosso! It was especially the tourists who got involved as they reached the breathtaking terrace of the Convent. They couldn’t hold back the exclamation, "Oh, my God!", repeated over and over, like a Rosary.

 

From Europe, from North and South American, from Oceania and from Africa the many votes which arrived confirmed to us that the Monterosso Convent is now a well-known monument, beloved for its prestige and as a place of the soul, thanks to the FAI census. The Capuchin friars let out a sigh of relief today and thank holy mother Providence who showed her face in a tangible way: through your faces!

 

The calm has finally settled in after the storm of natural calamities in 2011, which brought death and destruction to the town, to the Cinque Terre area, and to the entire region of Liguria. But the spring night of 21st March, 2013 brought with it a new landslide, involving the historical containing wall of the Convent which surrounded the orchard and the vineyard. Thank Heaven the Convent is built on rock. The flood brought such fear with it! It was a shock for the friars and for the town, blocked by the enormous landslide! It was such a frightening event! It was a shock for the friars and the town, blocked off by the enormous landslide! The considerable amount of the damage can be calculated at around €500,000.00. How could such expense be covered?

 

In this great catastrophe the Convent offered hospitality to the flood victims and the teams of workers who had come to help. As they usually do, the friars rolled up the sleeves of their habits and joined the population working in the mud, bringing in every kind of help imaginable from parishes and convents, friends and relatives. Now the Convent, with no help from any of the local, regional or national institutions, is once more the Paradise it once was. This miracle came about thanks to your love and commitment. Today Holy Providence has rewarded us! We kneel silently in thanks!

 

Our special thanks to those who endorsed the cause:

Dom Gino Rigoldi, priest involved on the front line for the youth detention centre Beccaria in Milan and for many orphanages abroad.

Donatella Rettore, the singer who energetically supported the campaign on her 10th wedding anniversary and who thanks the friars for having blessed her wedding.

Dario Vergassola, actor, comedian, singer-songwriter from La Spezia whose father was from the Cinque Terre; with his humour and passion, supported his homeland.

Maurizio Belpietro, politician, who has a holiday home in Monterosso and personally and lovingly collected votes among friends and family members as well as national television to speak about the Convent, the floods and the census, "Places in the Heart".

 

We want to thank the FAI that granted us a great opportunity in this enjoyable brotherly national and worldwide adventure of allowing the Convent to shine like a pearl for the Cinque Terre with all the history, art, spirituality and hospitality. The Convent is like a lighthouse on the hill of the Capuchins: it attracts and guides along the ways of life with peace in the heart that you feel as soon as you set foot on the doorstep.

 

We thank the Banca Intesa Sanpaolo that sponsored the FAI: the allotted funds will be a great support for the payments on the wall and for other interventions of preservation on the marvellous structure that dates back to the sixteen hundreds.

 

Our wish is for the Convent to be more and more loved according to tradition and that it remain a monument and sentinel of protection and blessing for the town of Monterosso and its visitors.

May Saint Francis, a man of peace, a man who was in love with creation, Patron of our beautiful nation of Italy, bless all of you! Peace and good!

The Capuchin Friars

 

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