September, 2017

now browsing by month


Saturnia and Its Terme

The Terme of Saturnia

Saturnia, near Gosseto in Tuscany, is considered the best spa in the world and is therefore a traditional destination for wellness tourism which accounts for countless visitors.
Saturnia, resting on the high part of the plain within the Albegna Valley, dominates the magical environment of the inland area around Grosseto: think gorgeous green expanses, and typical Tuscan countryside roads offering panorama after panorama of the region’s immense beauty. Founded by the Pelasgians and successively dominated by Romans, Longobards and the Sienese, today Saturnia still boasts traces of the past – remains of its Sienese, Etruscan and Medieval walls, the Castellum Aquarum of Poggio Murella and the archaeological area, with finds from both the Etruscan and Roman ages.
The main attraction of the Tuscan borgo of Saturnia are, of course, its terme, a draw for thousands of visitors every year; they arrive to experience the incredible therapeutic properties of its sulphur springs. It is they that have made Saturnia one of the Maremma’s most sought-out vacation locales.
Beyond the Terme di Saturnia’s luxurious resorts and golf greens, just outside the town center lie Molino Falls – situated near an old mill – as well as Gorello Falls, where the water gurgles at a toasty 98.6°F. This vast natural spa is open to the public throughout the year.

Those visiting these terme will find themselves surrounded by an almost unreal ambience – perhaps it is because according to myth, the natural endowments are a result of Jupiter unleashing his lightning on the god Saturn, with whom he was fighting. Or maybe it’s simply because Saturnia resides amidst the magic that is Tuscany.

Pope Francis calls for migrant children not be seperated from their families.

Politicians who call themselves pro-life must be pro-family and not enact policies that divide families and rob young people of a future, Pope Francis said.

Flying from Colombia back to Rome late September 10, Pope Francis was asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed some 800,000 young people brought to the United States illegally as children to stay in the country, working or going to school.

Trump announced on September 5 that he was phasing out the program; his decision was strongly criticized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Pope Francis said he had heard of Trump’s decision, but had not had time to study the details of the issue. However, he said, “uprooting young people from their families is not something that will bear fruit.”

“This law, which I think comes not from the legislature, but from the executive (branch) — if that’s right, I’m not sure — I hope he rethinks it a bit,” the Pope said, “because I’ve heard the president of the United States speak; he presents himself as a man who is pro-life, a good pro-lifer.

“If he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that the family is the cradle of life and its unity must be defended,” the pope said.

The Pope meets the young people of the Shalom community in Rome

“Young boys and girls, break the mirror! But if you do look at yourself in the mirror, I’ll give you a piece of advice: Let’s laugh about ourselves, it will give us joy and free us from the temptation of narcissism.” Pope Francis said while addressing the young people of the Shalom Catholic community in Rome for the 35th anniversary of its foundation. He urged them not to give into today’s “narcissistic and consumerist culture” and recommended to start a dialogue with the elderly. Responding to a young Brazilian, who used to be a drug addict, Francis, who started off with a football-joke (”Better Pelé or Maradona?”), said that drug addiction “cuts the roots of the heart.”

The Shalom Catholic community, born in Brazil in the early 1980s with a pizza restaurant and a library next to the main building for the reception and evangelization of young people, received in 2007 the recognition of the Pontifical Council for the Laity as an international congregation of faithful.

“One thing that characterizes youth and God’s eternal youth” the Pope said in response to the question of a French girl who was baptized during the recent Jubilee of Mercy, “both for young people and for those who are living a second youth , is cheerfulness and joy. Cheerfulness against sadness, a sadness from which you have to come out. A young person who remains (closed in) on themselves, who lives for themselves only, ends up – I will use an Argentine verb – empachado (constipated, e.d.) of self-referentiality. There is an image that comes to my mind when I think of someone selfish, a person who has a great deal of narcissism, who contemplates themselves and ignores others, who puts make up on their soul, worried only to look better than what he or she is: it is a “soul illness”.

Young people – the Pope said – break that mirror! Do not look in the mirror because the mirror deceives. We live in a culture of self-referentialism, a consumerist and narcissistic culture. And if you do look at yourself in the mirror, I’ll give you a piece of advice: Let’s laugh about ourselves, it will give us joy and free us from the temptation of narcissism.”

Jorge Mario Bergoglio then replied in Spanish to three questions from a Frenchwoman and a Brazilian and a Chilean man, ironically saying that he would be mixing some Italian and Portuguese together talking then “a little bit of Portagnol.” The Argentinean Pope turned to the young Brazilian man, who had told about his drug addiction, first making a football joke that made everyone laugh: “Who is the best, Pelé or Maradona?” then continuing: “You’ve been through the “tunnel of drugs” for a long time. It’s one of the instruments that the culture, in which we are living, holds to ruin us. It makes us invisible to ourselves, as if we were in made of air. Drugs lead us to deny all that we have, drugs cut the roots of our heart off, the carnal roots, historical roots, and problematic roots, and lets you live in a root-free world, uprooted from everything, from the project, from the present, your personal story, your homeland, your family, your love, from everything. To live in a world with no roots: this is the tragedy of drugs. Young people who are totally uprooted. Without real commitments, no flesh commitments.”

“Having been through the experience of “being invisible” and then having become aware of it – Francis said to the Brazilian boy – tells you how many roots you have in your heart. Ask yourselves: are you aware of your projects, your love, your creative ability? Because you are like poets called to create new things in the world.” The Pope continued “To match God’s plan”, who wants to “comfort the pains of humanity,” it is necessary to give free of charge. We give free of charge what we have received. This helps you to “dis-commercialize yourself”, it teaches you to embrace, it makes you find your roots, it shelters you from all selfish interests. Give for free what you have received for free.”

The Pope then replied to a Chilean boy who spoke of a “world marked by despair and indifference,” citing the parable of the prodigal Son and his merciful father: “His father saw him coming from afar. He had left many years before. It makes me think that this father would watch every day from the terrace to see if his son was coming back, and so is God, waiting for us in every difficult, sinful time. Whatever worst situation, the Father is always waiting for us with mercy and tenderness: do not ever despair.” “Agreed?” Said the Pontiff, who before the faint answer coming from the young crowd, remarked: “My God, how are you? It seems that instead of giving you a pep talk, I’m giving you a chill pill to sleep!”

Pope Francis finally addressed the adult members of the Shalom community, wondering “what service the world is asking to this charism today”: “Dialogue: one of the challenges of today’s world is dialogue between young people and the elderly. Young people need to listen to the elderly, who have wisdom, and the elderly need to listen to the young, to dream and encourage them to go forward. The elder should not be kept hidden. This dialogue is a promise for the future.”

The Shalom community in these days celebrates with 35,000 pilgrims in Rome its 35th anniversary: “I had no idea where God was taking us,” the founder of the Moysés Azevedo community recalled, “but we were surrounded by blessings much larger than ourselves. Young people have arrived. And along with them, the people.” The community renewed its mission with the Pope.

The Pope: at 42 I consulted a Jewish psychoanalyst

When Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio was 42, he met with a psychoanalyst for six months each week. The Pope himself has revealed it in a book that is about to be published in France, which contains the transcription of twelve dialogues with sociologist Dominique Wolton (entitled: “Politique et sociétéˮ”, editions L’Observatoire).
“I consulted a Jewish psychoanalyst,” says Bergoglio. “For six months, I went to her home once a week to clarify a few things. She was a doctor and psychoanalyst, and she always knew her place. Then one day, when she was about to die, she called me. She didn’t want to receive the sacraments, since she was Jewish, but for a spiritual dialogue. She was a very good person. For six months, she helped me a lot when I was 42.” This episode of Francis’ life lies between 1978 and 1979, when he had just ended his difficult experience as provincial of the Argentine Jesuits and was about to become rector of the College Máximo, which forms students who wish to enter the Jesuit Company.