Friars Unharmed in Earthquake-Torn L’Aquila, Italy

HNP Communications Franciscan World

ABRUZZO, Italy — The friars in L’Aquila here are all accounted for and uninjured after an earthquake shook the city April 6, claiming the life of Sister Gemma Antonucci, abbess of the Poor Clare nuns of the convent of Santa Chiara of Paganica.

The April 11 newsletter of the Sacred Heart Province reports that the Friars Minor of L’Aquila are all unharmed, although the Provincial Curia of the Province of St. Bernardine was destroyed.

The basilica, which holds the mortal remains of St. Bernardine, suffered severe damage. The church at Castelvecchio is closed, and the area of the friary under the bell tower was declared dangerous.

The friars of the Capuchin friary needed to relocate because earthquake damage to the friary made it unlivable. In addition, sisters were taken from the Poor Clare monastery into the home of a family member, after the earthquake severely damaged the monastery.

Pope Benedict XVI is to visit the Abruzzo earthquake zone on May 1, a week before his trip to the Holy Land, as reported in The Times Online on April 17.