PETROSO PALACE AND THE COLLEGE OF MARY IN ENNA (SICILY)

On October 14, 1758, the Sicilian nobleman, Baron Croce Felice Petroso, bequeathed his lands for the establishment of the College of Mary, an institution intended to educate the young people of Enna, a city in the center of Sicily.

Based on Baron Petroso’s will, the College of Mary was managed by the Sisters called Collegine. This lasted until the outbreak of the First World War, when the College of Mary was requisitioned by the government and transformed into a barracks for soldiers.

After the war was over, the College of Mary was entrusted to the Canossian nuns who carried out their educational task until a few years ago.

Now the College of Mary has closed its doors forever.

What about the dreams of benefactor Baron Croce Felice Petroso? Nothing is left but the yellowed sheet of paper containing his will.

Our dreams may not always last forever!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE ROLE OF THE CONFRATERNITIES IN ENNA (SICILY)

Since time immemorial, Enna has been a city devoted to religiosity. When the Roman orator Cicero stayed in the city to gather evidence against the Roman governor Verres, he had the feeling that the inhabitants of Enna were omnes sacerdotes (all priests).

Until the central government requisitioned churches and convents even for military uses, in the small city of Enna there were sixty-four churches, seven monasteries and seven convents.

Today, also due to the lack of vocations to the priesthood, there is only one convent and two monasteries. As for the churches, they are less than a third of the previous ones. Some were demolished to widen the roads, others collapsed due to lack of maintenance.

The churches still kept in good condition are those that house a confraternity.

One of the oldest confraternities is that of the Most Holy Savior, which dates back to the Middle Ages. It is said that the Knights Templar founded it. The brethren wear a white tunic with a yellow cloak, and their emblem is a Templar cross.

The confraternity maintain the church quite well and recently has inaugurated a few exhibition rooms for ancient paintings and sacred objects.

It’s a mystery! Religion can never die!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF EINSTEIN’S FORMULA BY JOSEPH CACIBAUDA

Einstein’s Formula by Joseph Cacibauda fully deserves a five-star review.

It is a short novel, but you do not need to write many words to give rise to a masterpiece.

In Italy, there was a great poet, Giacomo Leopardi, who wrote a very short poem entitled L’infinito (The Infinite). It is a beautiful immortal poem. Few poets have been able to equal it.

Joseph Cacibauda’s novel is not only compelling and easy to read; it is also a journey into the innermost recesses of the human soul. It describes what his idea of life on earth is. Life is born from thought, or rather from the energy of thought.  On the other hand, the Buddhists maintain that life is an expression of the mind. Your mind creates life and the world around you. If you turn off your mind, in that moment the world disappears.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for something enjoyable, special, and enlightening.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

A LITTLE TASTE OF ITALIAN HISTORY: MATILDA OF CANOSSA, THE WOMAN WHO HUMILIATED THE EMPEROR

In the Middle Ages, during the Investiture Conflict, a very powerful Italian woman, Matilda of Canossa, dared to challenge Emperor Henry IV, and she succeeded.

At the time, Pope Gregory VII took refuge in the castle of Matilda of Canossa to escape the wrath of Emperor Henry IV. When the emperor arrived at the castle of Canossa for having lifted the excommunication, Matilda did not let him in immediately. She made him stay out of the castle for three days and three nights, amidst the raging snowstorms.

Love for the Catholic Church was an archetype in the Canossa family. Many centuries later, at the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, another woman, Magdalene of Canossa, challenged her family to give birth to the Canossian Monastic Order, and she succeeded too. The Canossian nuns were cultured and good as speech therapists.

They came to my city of Enna (Sicily) from Brescia, a city in Northern Italy, to take care of two children who were born deaf and dumb. Once in Enna, they excelled in teaching music, painting, embroidery and many other cultural activities. Evidently, the love of Matilda and Magdalene of Canossa was still alive in them.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

ST. CLEMENT’S CAKE, AN ENGLISH DELICACY ALSO KNOWN IN ITALY

St. Clement was the fourth pope of the Catholic Church. He was preceded by St. Peter, St. Lino, and St. Anacletus. It is said that he was ordained bishop by St. Peter himself.

Although the Catholic Church does not consider him as a martyr, according to legend, St. Clement suffered martyrdom under the emperor Trajan around the year 100. It is said that an anchor was tied around his neck and then he was thrown into the sea.

St. Clement is considered one of the patron saints of sailors. Perhaps, for this reason he is highly revered in Britain, a country devoted to navigation and exploration from time immemorial.

His feast day is November 23. To honor him, the British make a special cake, called the cake of St. Clement. The main ingredients are flour, butter, sugar, eggs, orange, and lemon.

To make a good St. Clement’s cake, just follow your inspiration. It will guide you in using the right proportions of the ingredients!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE RELIGIOUS FERVOR OF PAST TIMES IN ITALY AND SICILY

In the year 1213, Count Orlando Catani of Chiusi came across Saint Francis of Assisi and was so fascinated by the figure of the saint that he wanted to give him something at any cost. The count wanted to give him money, but St. Francis could not accept because he had made a vow of poverty, so Count Orlando Catani gave him a mountain, an entire mountain! It was Mount Verna. St. Francis often went to meditate and pray in that mountain and it was there that he received the stigmata.

Something similar happened in Enna, Sicily, in 1758, when Baron Croce Felice Petroso bequeathed his entire fiefdom of Ramursura for the establishment of the College of Mary, an institution to be used for the education of the city’s youth. The Canossian Sisters came to the College of Mary, from Brescia, a city in northern Italy. They were highly educated and taught in many areas, including music, embroidery, and care for the deaf and dumb.

Today, the College of Mary is closed. What reminds me of the Canossian Sisters of the College of Mary is two small pictures that were given to my mother by a Sister with a passion for painting.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MARTORANA FRUIT, THE SWEETS OF THE DAY OF THE DEAD IN SICILY

At this time of year, almost all bakeries in Sicily display martorana fruit, the typical dessert on the day of the feast of the dead.

It is said that the Benedictine nuns of the Martorana Monastery in Palermo invented the recipe, hence the name of martorana fruit. Later, it became the traditional dessert for the day of the dead, which we celebrate in Sicily on November 2.

https://www.modernitalian.org/posts/the-day-of-the-dead

It was customary for children to receive toys and a basket of martorana fruit on this day. Even today, many families follow this tradition. Actually, November 2 is a joyful day of celebration in Sicily. By receiving gifts and sweets, children are taught to love and respect the souls of the dead.

Today the baker exhibited baskets full of martorana fruit. I asked her to give me the recipe, but she was evasive. She didn’t want to reveal her secret recipe. She just told me that the basic ingredient is almonds, which must be properly crushed. Of course, they must be Sicilian almonds!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

TOTÒ, THE COOKIES OF THE DAY OF THE DEAD IN SICILY

November 2, the day of the dead in Sicily, is not an ordinary day. Indeed, it is a special day of celebration and joy. The Sicilians enjoy the feast and make special cakes for the occasion.

One of the typical cookies they make is called “totò.”

This morning, the baker made me try a lemon-flavored one. I had never eaten such a delicious cookie. He displayed chocolate, orange, and lemon flavored totò.

I asked him for the recipe for making such tasty sweets, but he was evasive and unwilling to talk about the ingredients he used. Obviously, he wanted to keep his recipe a secret.

November 2 is dedicated to the commemoration of the dead throughout the Catholic world, but only in Sicily is it considered a day of joyful celebration. This is because Sicily was a Spanish colony like Mexico and absorbed the customs of the Mexican Amerindians who used to celebrate the day of the dead.

Those populations imagined death as a continuation of life. For them, the afterlife was similar to life on earth. During the festival, they represented death as a person dressed up and enjoying the dance.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

BONES OF THE DEAD, TYPICAL SICILIAN COOKIES

November 2 is drawing near and in all bakeries in Sicily it is possible to buy the typical cookies for this day, “the bones of the dead.” They look like human bones, are hollow and hard to eat.

Today, after buying some, I asked the baker to tell me the secret to making them so hard and hollow. He said that he leavens dough for two days on a canvas to make it lose its moisture, and then he bakes them at a low temperature, about 140 degrees. During the process, they lose sugar and become hollow.

On November 2, children receive gifts from the dead. Obviously, this is a fiction, for parents actually buy the gifts and pretend that the dead brought them. This way, children are taught to respect and love the souls of those who are no longer with us.

November 2nd is a day of celebration in Sicily. The tradition of celebrating the dead dates back to the time of the Aztecs. On the other hand, being Sicily a Spanish possession like Mexico, it absorbed Spanish customs and traditions deriving from contacts with the Amerindians.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF INWARD REVOLUTION BY J. KRISHNAMURTI

Inward revolution by J. Krishnamurti mainly treats the theme of freedom of ideas while one is doing a spiritual quest. In fact, if you are conditioned by religion, any religion, by a guru, or by your stock of knowledge, you cannot see yourself and reality as they are. You see things as you have been taught. By doing so, you give rise to a conflict between what it actually is and what it should be.

According to Krishnamurti, such conflict must be avoided not only when you do meditation but also in your ordinary daily life. In other words, the mind must be free of prejudices and preconceived ideas.

Throughout the book, from the first to the last page, the author insists on the theme of freedom from conditioning.

I have found some similarities between Osho’s teachings and Krishnamurti’s. On the other hand, all great masters and superior minds are closer to the truth than we can imagine.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo