Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Spirit of Saint Francis
We have at last made a long overdue visit to the Couvent de Corbara - something we should have done decades ago. At the moment, the convent is a retreat centre and home to a community of Catholic monks who are members of the relatively new Order of Saint John, but the Convent’s origins go much further back than 1975 when the order was founded.
Perched on a hill behind Paoli’s
We were shown round the Convent and attached church by Frère Jean-Marc, who told us a little about its history and along the way explained something of the life of the monks who live there. It was founded as an orphanage in 1430, but just over 30 years later the Franciscans established a convent there and it has been a convent for most of its life since then. Badly damaged in the politically unstable 1700s, the buildings had to be abandoned shortly afterwards. The place lay in ruins for over 50 years, but was brought to life again by another religious order – this time the Dominicans. When World War I broke out, the religious life of the Convent was once again interrupted as the monks were evicted so the place could be used as a POW camp. The monks returned in 1927.
This peaceful place is now in the hands of the Order of