THE SPECIAL SKY OF ENNA (SICILY)

When a person visits a new place, he is usually attracted by something interesting to see: historical monuments, leisure places, beautiful landscapes, museums, and so on. It is quite unusual to find someone fascinated by the color of sky. Nevertheless, if you come to Enna, you will see that here the hue of the sky is different.

In my life, I have traveled across all continents, from north to south, from east to west, but I have not seen in other places the same sky as that in Enna. It has something magic and special.

If I were a painter, I would try to paint it on a canvas, but it would be difficult to find a mixture of colors to paint Enna’s sky.

What is the cause of such a peculiar color? The citizens of Enna think that Our Lady watches over them, as Demeter did in ancient times. They think that Mary’s blue mantle envelops the city. “Blessed are they who live in the city of Enna,” once a seer said. Who knows! Anyway, I love to see the sky of Enna. Whenever I see this magic sky, I feel blessed. I become a part of the universe!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE STATUE OF SAINT FRANCIS IN ENNA (SICILY)

A small green area has recently been attached to the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, in Enna, with an olive tree and a statue of the saint surrounded by white doves. While we were going back home and passing by that green, we noticed a fragrance emanating from the area.

We turned in all directions but could not spot a flower or a tree from where that subtle scent might be emanating. The following days we passed by the same place again, but we could not smell anything.

After that, we went to the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Francis, in Assisi. We sat on a pew facing Saint Francis’s tomb. As soon as I sat down, I had the sensation that a kind of energy was telling me something: “Purify your heart, mind, body, and actions, and then you’ll see God inside you!”

What was Saint Francis telling me this time? He meant that the real kingdom of God is inside every living being, but we cannot find it if our mind is contaminated by too many materialistic desires or our actions are not directed towards the well-being of our fellow creatures. I also inferred that prayer and meditation are a good way to purify my mind and get close to God, as long as my actions aim not towards an egoistic goal but to the love of all creatures.

Were my contacts with St. Francis the fruit of hallucinations? I cannot know. I can just say that what I have written above is the truth!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE PROCESSION IN HONOR OF ST. ANTHONY, IN ENNA (SICILY)

After more than two years, the processions come back to life in Enna!

Enna, in the center of Sicily, has been a religious city since time immemorial. In fact, it housed the main temples of Demeter and her daughter Kore.

When Cicero, the great Roman orator, came to Sicily to collect evidence against Verres, he had a feeling that the inhabitants of Enna were omnes sacerdotes (all priests).

Religion is imprinted in the DNA of the citizen of Enna. For more than two years, the city has been like in mourning due to the lack of processions. Now the time for mourning is over!

Yesterday, June 13, St. Anthony of Padua was taken in procession. He was a Franciscan friar. Actually, he was from Portugal, but he also lived in Padua. After the death of Saint Francis of Assisi, he became the Superior General of the Franciscans Friars. He died in a small town near Padua and is revered by all Catholics.

Carrying on their shoulders the litter with the statue of the saint, the brethren looked happy. Their beloved procession was back!

 Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione italiana)

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

A LIST OF FORTY-TWO BOOKS TO TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE

It was July 2000. While I was admiring the vault of the Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, a gray-haired guy about forty-five years old, with a southern Italian accent, came up to me. We talked about religion for a little while and then parted ways.

After about half an hour, I saw him again, sitting on a bench in the subway and waiting for his train.

“You are here again! Well! Since we meet again, it is not by chance. So, I want to give you this gift,” he said.

He took from his pocket a sheet of paper, a little bit crumpled, with writing on the front and back, and handed it to me. Meanwhile, the train arrived. Getting on the train, he waved his hand to me and smiled from ear to ear.

The train left. I have never seen that man again in my life, but the precious sheet of paper is still with me.

The listed books range over many subjects: literature, philosophy, meditation, cultures, and religions. There are books about Sufism, Gurdjieff, Saint Augustine, Plato, Osho, and so on. The titles are handwritten, so difficult to decipher. Some are almost impossible to read. Yet, there is a bookseller in my hometown who helped me to read the titles. Finally, we deciphered all the titles except two.

From time to time, I give a copy of the list to some friends of mine.

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 RAINBOW IN ENNA (SICILY)

In my hometown of Enna, after two days of wind, rain and sleet, the rainbow appeared this morning. It means there will be good weather tomorrow.

The Old Testament reports that after the Flood, which lasted forty days, the rainbow appeared. It was the sign of the covenant between God and man. God regretted having sent the Deluge and promised that he would no longer punish the earth because of the wickedness of man.

As a sign of the alliance with man, he created the rainbow.

After bad weather, the rainbow appears. It is an allegory of life, which passes through an alternation of storm and sunshine. Sometimes it flows smoothly and sometimes stormy, but in the end, there is the rainbow to smile at life.

The rainbow has seven colors, as there are seven musical notes, seven days of a week, seven chakras, and so on. Number seven means good luck.

Certainly, there is something magic in the amazing seven-color arc that connects the sky to the earth!

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 HISTORY OF SANTA LUCIA

Santa Lucia belonged to a rich family from Syracuse (Sicily). From a young age, she wanted to consecrate herself to Jesus and made a vow of chastity. However, her mother wanted to give her in marriage to a pagan, named Timbrione. Since Lucia refused to marry him, he denounced her as a Christian. She was arrested and sentenced to spend her life in a brothel.

When the jailers tried to move her from her cell to be taken to the prostitution house, her body became so heavy that it was impossible to move. In the year 304 AD, Lucia passed away in her cell.

In the year 1039, the Byzantines stole the body of Santa Lucia and took it to Constantinople. However, during the fourth crusade, the Venetians took the saint’s body to Venice, where it is currently located.

I visited the glass sarcophagus where the remains of Santa Lucia are kept and I can testify, having seen it with my own eyes, that her flesh is still stuck to her body, despite almost two thousand years have passed since her death.

The feast day of Santa Lucia is December 13. On this day, many families in Sicily make a special meal called cuccìa. ̀It is made of boiled wheat seasoned with chocolate or sweet ricotta, honey, and pieces of candied fruit.

The tradition of cooking the cuccìa has lasted for many centuries and is still alive.

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

THE MAIN TEMPLE OF DEMETER IN SICILY

According to some, the main temple of Demeter in Sicily stood where the cathedral of Enna now stands. The construction of the Catholic temple was commissioned by Queen Eleonora d’Angiò at the beginning of the fourteenth century. She was a fervent Catholic and wanted to eradicate the cult of Demeter which was still alive in the hearts of the people of Enna.

In 1942, the king of Italy declared the cathedral of Enna a national monument and in 2008, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.

Since the building of the cathedral, the procession in honor of Demeter has been replaced by the one in honor of Our Lady, but basically nothing has changed. The devotion of the people of Enna towards Demeter is still unaltered; just the name of the deity has changed.

Today, the municipal band performed some musical pieces in front of the cathedral. However, the joy of the past years was missing. For the second consecutive year, the mother goddess Demeter could not be celebrated.

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 VISIT TO A DISUSED SICILIAN CLOISTERED CONVENT

Long ago, there were many cloistered convent in my hometown of Enna (Sicily). Over the years, they have been closed due to lack of vocations. Ten years ago, the Convent of St Mark was also abandoned. It was the last one left. The Carmelite nuns had lived there since the thirteenth century, but in the end they gave up, for they were too few to manage the large building which stood on an area of about five thousand square meters.

Yesterday, it was possible to visit a small part of it with a guide. I took some photos and tried to figure out life in a cloistered convent.

Nowadays, the world has become more and more atheist. People don’t even go to church, imagine if they lock themselves up in a convent.

Once, about one hundred and fifty Sisters lived in this place. After they crossed the threshold, they couldn’t get out anymore. Even after they died, they remained in the convent. In fact, there was a kind of cemetery in the basement where the bodies were placed on stone seats and decayed.

A long time ago, it was not easy to become a cloistered nun, for a dowry was needed. Usually, the nuns came from wealthy families and brought with them silverware and other goods.

I saw a lot of gratings in the convent. The nuns looked at the world only through the gratings, just like inmates.

Only one room on the top floor was surrounded by windows without gratings. The view was very beatiful. You could admire all of Enna from up there. A bell hung in one of the windows. Who knows what that bell was for? The guide said that the nuns came to this room to meditate. Was their life wasted? I don’t think so. A life spent searching for God is never wasted!

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

GREAT MUSIC PLAYED BY A BEGINNER

The book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, tells of an angel who plays the trumpet. There is closeness between religion and music. Famous is Saint Augustine’s saying, he who sings prays twice. It means that if one praises God by music or songs, his prayer is more effective than prayers made of spoken words.

Music is a universal language. Everybody can understand and feel it. Even with the extraterrestrials we can communicate through music. Music is a path toward God. I can’t imagine paradise without music.

As I searched for an answer to my basic question, is there life after death? I couldn’t miss this important path to God, music. But what to do? At that time I was sixty-three years old. My hands and brain were too stiff to play a musical instrument. Nevertheless, I wanted to study music. So, I started learning the piano.”

This is an excerpt from the autobiographical novel The Vibrations of Words

 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