18 September 2017
Departure: Bojano – 08:40 am
Distance: 18,35 Km
Moving Time: 3h 24m
Elevation gain: 491 mt
I left the tiny tent twisting as if I had slept in a drawer of an old dresser. I ascertained that the backpack was intact, since for reasons of space I had to leave it outside the tent with the waterproof sheet over it, it was soaked, as was the outside of the tent. The frost had covered everything, and I was aware that in addition to the time needed to reassemble the tent, I would have had to wait further for everything to dry to avoid that it could be permanently damaged once it was stored. It was the first and last time I slept in the tent, too much waste of time and energy. During my stops, as the sun goes down, and once I reach my destination after so much road and adventures, the last thing you need is to engage in a further activity if not to rest.
I started walking again shortly before 9 am, my destination was the Convent of the Holy Trinity of Sepino, built by Bartolomeo Di Capua in 1519 and one of the most important monasteries in the whole of Molise, where, now only in the past, theology was studied and priests were spiritually formed. The day before, dear Don Gianni had given me the number of a certain Sig. Umberto who volunteered in this old convent, telling me that surely I would find people available to host pilgrims.
The day was sunny and the journey up to pleasant sepino, although, preferring the secondary country roads from my routine, I came across some particularly challenging climbs. Once I arrived at Sepino I wanted to visit the site of the old Roman city of Saepinum which had a considerable commercial importance, being the mountain station of the Pescasseroli-Candela sheep-track. I was really astonished, those remains of the columns of the temples, of the paving stones, of the towers, and of the amphitheater were so well preserved in a place so pleasantly immersed in the greenery that it seemed impossible to me that the only tourists on that day were a group of four foreigners equipped with large cameras and a pilgrim who found themselves there almost by accident … Thinking about it better, however, all this makes sense, in a world where success seems to be the pillar of our culture, it is normal that anonymity for a site of this kind, is the first defense against hostility in the world. To how many raids of profiteers, and to how many badly educated tourists that magnificent place will have escaped, and if this is the result over the years of remaining in the shadows, then I welcome it to take away from our lives popularity, celebrity and notoriety.
I spent a lot of time walking and retracing those ancient roads, surrounded by all those stones that told the story of a civilization so large that it almost assimilated three quarters of the lands known at that time. My smartphone continued to enlighten me about Saepinum‘s past, and in the meantime the numerous fig plants scattered everywhere in that place, delighted me in the afternoon. I spent a lot of time walking and retracing those ancient roads, surrounded by all those stones that told the story of a civilization so large that it almost assimilated three quarters of the lands known at that time. My smartphone continued to enlighten me about the history of Saepinum, and in the meantime the numerous fig plants scattered everywhere in that place, delighted me in the afternoon.
I left only after making sure that I had not left out any corner and detail of that magnificent place, and walked through an ancient city gate and after a few kilometers of road I reached the convent of the Holy Trinity shortly before lunch time.
The structure was really impressive from the outside, I was about to enter, and to my delight the “keepers” of that place were waiting for me. Umberto, his wife and Don Bruno introduced themselves and immediately put me at ease, and after my obliged and heartfelt thanks, they hastened to get me settled in my room. They were evidently aware (and I still wonder if due to my bad looks or their understanding of my status as a “walker”) from my need to refresh myself, and gave me an appointment in the refectory for lunch.
The room was spotless, the hot shower and I wish it would never end, the towels seemed to pamper me, it made me so happy to be able to “catch my breath” in a place like that. I took the opportunity to wash my hair and clothes, lay down on the bed before lunch, really no other pleasure is greater than the peace of the Spirit.
After lunch I got to know myself better, and among the conversations I made I remember two things that struck me most of all. The first was to see how well Don Bruno, the elderly priest afflicted unfortunately by the Parkinson, knew Turkey. He had spent very long periods there as a missionary, and since that was the country where I would have traveled the most miles during my pilgrimage, the many information received that day made me really useful. The great esteem of the parish priest with regard to the Turkish people and to their well-known generosity and hospitality, and the worrying problems with the drinking water that was in that state, remained above my mind. Although the first could give me courage, the problem of water was already known to me, and I thought I already had a solution. I am certainly not a doctor, but I know that the intestinal flora can be so strongly strengthened, since the months preceding my departure, training for this pilgrimage, I have always sought (where common sense thought it possible and in very small quantities at a time) I always drank water from the fountains and rivers. I kept this habit all the way to Jerusalem, and thanks to GOD I never had even the slightest problem, neither stomach nor health.
The second interesting thing I learned from talking to Umberto, that place now so devoid of religious, was once one of the busiest in the region. The convent of the SS. Trinità in Sepino was founded in 1519 and was used as a house of studies for the cultural and religious formation of the young Franciscans. The lack of priests in the Church is now a very well-known topic, and I do not understand how it can still be taken lightly since the number of Catholics per priest has collapsed since the post-war period. If we add the fact that the majority of new priests come from underdeveloped countries, then the doubt is legitimate that religion is not in step with progress. Anyone who studies knows that it is enough to open a Text of Sacred Scripture by chance to see how up-to-date and immortal the Message of GOD remains to this day, but it is today’s human interpretation and its schemes that do not belong to us, and this only contributes to making us more and more unknown, less free, and more and more solitary.
“The most pleasant feeling? Inner peace
The best welcome? A smile
The best medicine? Optimism
The greatest satisfaction? The duty accomplished
The greatest strength? Faith
The most beautiful thing in the world? Love.”