August 24, 2007

Pilgrimage: Capuchin Friary at Camerino

We arrived here late this afternoon for a one-day, two-night moment of recollection. Sitting here after supper it feels like the first moment of peace and quiet since the beginning of the trip.

Here in the original house of our Capuchin reform, it’s like the religious life of the movies. It’s a stone building with a gravel road, tiny cells, and a little church with a cloistered choir on the side. At supper, jolly, bearded friars—ourselves, the frati Americani, included—sit around the perimeter of the refectory while novices run around frantically in their effort to bring us wine, cheese, salami, fruit, and grappa, all of it homemade.

In my mind I keep comparing this place to the novitiate in Honduras. They are similar in a lot of ways. The horarium is almost exactly the same. The novices are a lot chattier, though. And fatter. They are always blabbing amongst themselves, and occasionally even break into song—all spiritual, though, or at least as far as I heard.

This morning I couldn’t bring myself to shave. Somehow it felt like it would be sacrilegious for a Capuchin to shave in Camerino.


Anonymous said...

Great idea, posting your pilgrimage journal entries. I'll be reading up!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that after 400 years of bearded tradition that we now have clean-shaven capuchins?

I know it does not have anything to do with holiness. Two of greatest friars I have ever met are clean-shaven--Apb. Charles Chaput and Fr. John Lager.

But I wonder why this has changed. It seems like such a great tradition.

--ben in denver

Anonymous said...

Padre Pio didn't want to be just any friar when he was a kid. His vocation became clear to him when a capuchin came into town to ask for alms. His parents later realized he had this vocation, and they wanted to send him to a monastery/seminary with the money his father had earned in the US, but when they told him of the decision, he asked "do they have beards?" They replied "No, but what does it matter?" He refused. He wanted to be a Capuchin, period!

Brother Charles said...

The beard was and is a big part of the Capuchin tradition. Our original Constitutions (1536) said that the friars shall wear the (untrimmed) beard because it was "manly, austere, and imitation of Christ and the apostles, and despised." This line is often quoted among the brothers, but usually without the final term!

Our current Constitutions say that "the norm of pluriformity shall apply to the wearing of the beard."
How it is that pluriformity is a norm is a question for the canonists, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

It might be a question for the canonists if people were going to listen to them and/or seek their advice. Unfortunately, anything that smacks of traditionalism is immediately thrown out the window, regardless of what the constitutions say.

Br. Jim OFM Cap.

fr. Matt, OFM Conv. said...

that's the br. jim, ofm cap. that I know and love!