Wednesday, September 26, 2007


(from National Geographic, October 2007)
"The idea behind an Italian convent's newfangled box for abandoned babies is as old as the 12th century. In 1198, deploring the number of dead infants found flouting in the Tiber, Pope Innocent III ordered convents to install foundling wheels - revolving compartments to deliver babies anonymously into the care of nuns. Similarly, the box welded onto the gate of Bergamo's Matris Domini Convent in February [below] opens to an insulated cradle. An alarm sounds when a child is placed inside; the sisters call nearby Riuniti Hospital, which picks up the baby within minutes. Foundling wheels fell out of use by the mid-1900s. Germany introduced a latter-day version in 2000 and now has some 80. In Hamburg alone, 38 infants have been left in the city's two 'baby hatches.' In 2006, Italy revived the tradition, hoping to help unwed mothers - often illegal immigrants afraid of the authorities. Says Riuniti's Dr. Regina Barbo: 'Their suffering and fear is as great today as ever.'
Well, as you can see the box is for babies, but that's what my eldest called it and I like both the name and the concept. We need more of them here. The only problem is that we don't have too many urban convents left in the good ole US of A. Our most prominent local convent (I think it's actually a monastery for women) is out from the city a ways and, more tragically, is far too busy holding "ecumenical" retreats (which is code for they dig hanging out with priestesses from other "faiths") for those wanting to learn Reiki and the mysteries of walking the labyrinth.
Pray, pray, pray.


Suzanne from Okla said...

Actually, there are two monateries in Piedmont. One is the "far out" one and the other is a cloistered Carmelite Monastery with nuns who actually wear habits!

Pilgrim said...

Hey Suzanne! Yea, I've been to the "good" one to see how they make the hosts. What is this one called?
I've never been to the "new age" one but it seems they advertise something "new" in the archdiocesan paper every issue.