October 16/ 19.. I started with the documents about the church itself: having found the original patron, was easy to go back to much more information. I discovered that had been built around 1389, as a votive offering of a local family now extinct, of which I could not, however, know the name, because it has been lost. Later, the church passed from the hands of several minor orders, until, in 1432 became the permanent home of a large group of Franciscans. The latter restored it and built a first nucleus of the monastery.
In the short span of three decades, it took new extension works of the structure, once again supported by some local nobles. One of them, in particular, that of the Marquis Edoardo Castelselva, paid several cabinet makers because intagliassero a majestic altar and votive statues. In return, he asked for permission to build their homes right next to the facade of the church.
This particular interests me greatly, it seems, in fact, that his house was equipped with a beautiful bow, aimed exactly towards the churchyard. If this were the case, it is probably of the same period in which I had spent days before, and then this implies that the horrid slums were built on the remains of the house of the nobleman. Also the home of the Marquis seems to have been connected in some way to the aisle production, so as to allow him and his family to go to Mass undisturbed.
October 19/ 19.. Now to reconstruct the history of the monastery has become for me an almost physical need. I am increasingly attracted to this structure and I want, I must, absolutely penetrate inside. I discovered that by Montevoltato San Celestino is a martyr of the Catholic Church and Orthodox minor, whose most famous work is a long and contested metaphysical disquisition on the end of time, known in esoteric circles as the “Celestine Prophecy”. In it, the saint said to have received precise instructions from the entity angelic face but by provocative feminine features. I managed to get a copy from the library of the faculty of history and religious studies. It is very strange that the Franciscans would accept such a figure as the patron of the local church.
October 28/ 19.. I do nothing but walk back and forth along the perimeter of the monastery. I am also returned twice more on his churchyard, but the door is sealed.
October 28/ 19.. (night)
After much insistence I was able to get permission to view the logs of the Curia. The attendant, a novice pockmarked and looked slimy, wanted to be paid for it and gave me less than an hour to find what I needed. I resorted to all the Latin I remembered from high school but I found it: Edward Augustus Leone Angelica Morfini, Marquis of Castelselva and Duke of Carmontone, born in 1422. In his name have been several donations, including a precious et pulchra quercu altar and numerous signa pulcherrima mater mercies cated. In another sheet of the same register I even found a note authorizing him to erect a admirabile aedificium juxta templum and annecto aedificatio templum sibi for aliquam subterraneus andron.
So it is true. The stories that I had found, hinted on some faded volume of local legends are true. Marquis actually built a building opposite the church and connected it with an underground passage to the structure. Maybe I finally found a way to get inside the monastery
October 29/ 19.. I dreamed. I dreamed of walking inside the monastery, including rooms full of dust and old shelves overflowing with books. I’m obsessed, I do nothing but think of it all day.
October 30/ 19.. In the afternoon the luck again kissed me on the forehead. In a shabby little shop in the suburbs I found a valuable volume in the skin containing many legends about the region. There was the name of the author nor the printer, since the first pages appeared torn, but it looks printed at the beginning of the century. I devoured in a few hours, but what I found! They can be really just fairy tales? They can only be the fruit of ignorance?
It tells of a noble, here shown only as Petronio, who was afflicted with a terrible curse: he could not have children. He was married four times, but each unfortunate turn died in childbirth along with the baby. Married for the fifth time, he had made a vow to the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus, to create a beautiful altar and statues in return if they had given him a son. One evening, while he was walking to his holdings, a celestial being dropped from the clouds. Intrigued, he came: to be had dug a huge hole in the ground at the center now stood a curious piece of rock from red coloring. It was then that something happened: according to legend was seized by deception by a demon who took possession of his body.
Back home it was prey to hallucinations and fever, so much so that many thought that he would die soon. They spent a few weeks when it seemed worse, but eventually recovered, though he no longer seemed. The eyes had become red like the stone fallen from heaven, the voice was hollow and low and also his character, a solar time, had changed: a kind of wickedness, suppressed with difficulty, he drove his actions. He began to mistreat the servants and his family. They were attributed the horrific actions and acts of pure depravity. He forced, for example, the wife to watch helplessly as he indulged in lewd effusions with young women and later forced her to mate with a deaf-mute servant as he lashed the. Despite these acts of sadism, he claimed that every day was celebrated Mass and we all participate.
Received at his table every sort of preacher, giving refuge to many suspected heretics. Obsessed by Christian mysticism, spending huge figures in the purchase of rare and valuable tomes on the life of Christ and his Gospel message. He does not spare even donations to the Curia, pretending to pay personally numerous processions dedicated to Our Lady and the restructuring of several churches. It was because of this his outbursts of generosity that the bishop always refused to give credence to the malicious rumors about him, considering them all talk farmyard.
They spent a few years as well. One morning, however, without notice, finally announced that his wife was expecting a child. For fear that it might lose, they would move temporarily to another property, carrying only the deaf-mute servant and monks of dubious morality. Was granted only to an old, widely considered almost a witch, to pet the Marquise and help in childbirth. Nine months later they returned only a servant and a monaco, such Tommasino, bringing with them, wrapped in swaddling a newborn immediately baptized by the name of Edward. The Marquise, they said, had died in childbirth and her husband had locked himself in a gloomy pain, refusing to give up her grave. In what many saw in the just punishment for the misdeeds done by the noble and tried only pity for the poor woman, all regarded as a martyr. The child was in the care of a guardian, a philosopher and astrologer of Arab origin, said Izab Ilaai, but converted to Christianity under the name of Giacobo.
Other months passed and no one knew anything of Petronio. From time to time he sent the letters to give instructions and ask the child, but never returned to their estates. He died before Edward was to carry three years. The child grew strong, but showed the same disease in the eyes of his father, who turned his bulbs in two pools of sparkling blush. In time, his character made to look more like that of the deceased parent, although his appearance was reminiscent of the deaf-mute servant, fueling rumors endless.
to be continued…
G.G.Vinciguerra, translated by Francesco Costrini (Copyright Monasterium Album)