Pietrelcina, The farm of Piana Romana
PIETRELCINA The farm of Piana Romana
Outside of Pietrelcina, a few minutes from the town, up on a hill rich with crops and old elm trees, there is a farmhouse in the middle of the countryside where Fancesco’s family passed the months of field or rural works. The farm house is made up of one large poor room, which is made of stone and isn’t plastered or floored. It has a large hearth and a floor above, which is used to keep the hay. Today, in this farmhouse there are kept the tools of that epoch, which the peasants used, the earthenware, and a stone that was used to thrash the wheat. At Piana Romana, the young Francesco, grazed his small flock, passing long hours of peace: this work permitted him to enjoy the solitude and silence of nature and to pass his time under a straw hut which was built around the trunk of an old elm tree, in order to read, to study and to pray.
At Piana Romana, Francesco Forgione, for the ways that only the Good Lord knows, met (1902) a young Capuchin monk, whose name was Fra Camillo of Saint’Elia of Pianisi.
Fra Camillo had often covered the streets of Pietrelcina, gathering offerings and dispensing the Good Word to the adults and caresses to the children. The simple and humble figure of Fra Camillo fascinated more than a few boys, even Francesco remained attracted to him, fixing his eyes on the monks face, habit and behaviour. Around fifteen years of age the young one from Pietrelcina felt the strong desire to consecrate himself to Our Lord and to become a monk, “with the beard”, like Fra Camillo.