CIVITELLA SAN PAOLO
m. Maria Pia Matiz
Via Civitellese, 11
00060 Civitella San Paolo (RM)
m. Maria Pia Matiz
Comunità di Civitella
The monastery of Saint Scholastica of the Benedictine Nuns is situated in Civitella San Paolo, three kilometers from the town, in the province of Rome. The foundation of the monastery is due to Blessed Ildefonso Schuster, who at that time was abbot of the Abbey of St Paul outside the Walls; when he left Rome for Milan, he entrusted the project to his successor, Abbot Ildebrando Vannucci, who made the foundation in 1934 and who for twenty years was a real father to the community.
The monastery was built on a piece of land belonging to the Abbey of St Paul outside the Walls, to which diocese nullius belonged the town of Civitella.
When the juridical change occurred that made out monastery no longer dependent on the Abbey of St Paul outside the Walls, which ceased being a diocese nullius, we began a process of aggregation to the Subiaco Congregation. We received the decree of aggregation in August 2004. Today the monastery is entrusted to the special vigilance of the bishop of Cività Castellana, as well as to the care of the Abbot Visitator of the Italian Province of the Benedictine Subiaco Congregation.
The cornerstone was laid on 10 August 1932, and the first group of nuns, who came from Dourgne in Tar, arrived on 9 April 1934. With the first Italians, who had made their novitiate in Dourgne, came also five French nuns, among them Mother Andrea Bonnafous, who was Prioress, then Abbess until 1974. Thus began the life of prayer and work guided by St Benedict’s Rule, and the community grew to number about thirty members from all parts of Italy, from Turin and Milan down to Sicily and Apulia. During the war one half of the house was requisitioned for a German aeronautics squadron; this forced part of the community to emigrate to Rome, where they were received by the community of St Cecilia in Trastevere.
In 1967 began the big project of building the guesthouse.
With new donations, the community could think about a church. Work on it began in 1977; the dedication took place on 15 December 1977.
Already in 2000, when the situation became more difficult, contacts was made with the Bose community and its prior Enzo Bianchi, in view of a possible collaboration in common life. This eventually led to the arrival in Civitella of five sisters of Bose on 4 October 2013.
At present our community, together with the sisters of Bose, receives guests, both individuals and groups, for moments of prayer, of lectio divina, of sharing the Word.
The sisters work in the garden, vineyard, and olive grove. The vineyard and the olive grove of the monastery produce the white wine Quam bonum and extra virgin olive oil, called Santa Scolastica and Moraiolo.
The garden furnishes what is needed for the table.
There is also work in the library, which contains about 30,000 volumes. Separately there is the Fondo Sofia Vanni Rovighi, gift of this well-known professor of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, which contains a considerable number of philosophical work.
Other works include workshops (candles, object in wood, icons, booklets), bookbinding, and all that serves the common life — kitchen, laundry, maintenance of the house.
In past years a small printing shop printed a series of publications and the periodical Monastica, which closed in 2009, in its fiftieth year.