Our own cloister at Christ in the Desert is not as ancient or as elegant as the cloister in the photo below, from the 13th century, located near the Umbrian town of Foligno, Italy.
Monasteries traditionally, including Christ in the Desert, have an open but covered passageway connecting the principal rooms of the monastery, including the church, monks’ cells, chapter room, refectory and the like.
The cloister in the photo below is at the Abbey of Sassovivo, Italy, in the hills above the tiny town of Foligno, near Assisi. For centuries, until the 1800s, Benedictine monks occupied the monastery. The word “sassovivo” means “living rock,” a very apt description of the place.
Today the community of Jesus Caritas lives at Sassovivo. These priests are part of the family of followers of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, the famous “Hermit of the Sahara Desert,” who died in 1916 and who was beatified in by the Church in 2005.
Our monastery and the Jesus Caritas community have been friends for many decades. Pray for them. They are a good prophetic witness in an increasingly secularized Italy.