23 March 2016
Bold medicine for an afflicted Church
Nestling in the foothills of the Alps is a religious community which, with its charismatic founder, has played a progressive role in the life of the Church since the days of Vatican II
The church is tired in Western Europe. It’s been the same story for years: declining numbers of priests and religious, ageing congregations and churches closing. Just last week a major survey in the Netherlands showed that two thirds of the country’s population have no religious faith. Worn down by scandal and struggling for relevance, European Christianity is undergoing something of a Good Friday. Yet there are some oases in the desert reminding us, perhaps, that after death comes resurrection.
One such place is the Bose community, in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy, situated halfway between Milan and Turin in the foothills of the Italian Alps. It was founded on the day the Second Vatican Council ended in December 1965 by Enzo Bianchi who, at the age of 21, came to the deserted town of Bose and lived on his own in an abandoned farmhouse for three years.
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