Jesus Christ, our Lord, whose footsteps we're to follow, called his betrayer "friend" and willingly handed himself over to his crucifiers. Our friends, then, are all those who unjustly inflict upon us tests and ordeals, shame and injury, sorrows and torments, martyrdom and death. They are the ones we should love most, for what they're really inflicting upon us is eternal life.Saint Francis of Assisi
Rule of 1221
with thanks to Portiuncula
Father Sergio Baldin, the Franciscan friar who is fighting for his life after being savagely attacked at a monastery in the foothills of the Alps near Turin, had recently enraged a local criminal gang by helping an Albanian prostitute to escape its clutches, church sources said today.
Colonel Antonio Di Vita, head of the Carabinieri in the province of Turin, said that although all options were open, the predominant police theory was that Father Baldin and three other monks, who were all badly beaten by three masked assailants, were the victims of an attempted robbery.
However Father Gabriele Trivellin, provincial head of the Franciscan order of Friars Minor, said that the "sheer fury" of the assault showed that the aim was not theft but revenge. He was backed by Cardinal Severino Poletto, the Archbishop of Turin, who said: "If you ask me if this was a punitive raid, I would say yes, the facts point in that direction".
Father Trivellin said that the monks, who are all being treated in hospital, were known to have had helped girls involved in local drugs and prostitution rackets to leave a life of crime and turn to religion. "I know that one young girl in particular recently presented herself at the monastery and asked for help," he said...
Father Baldin, Father Battagliotti, Father Salvatore Magliano, 86, and Father Martino Gurini, 76, a former missionary in Bolivia, were having their evening meal at the San Colombano Belmonte monastery near Turin when they were attacked by three hooded men who gagged and bound them before punching, kicking and beating them with clubs.From a full report at Times Online
Please pray for the Brothers, for their attackers, and especially for the girls who may still be at risk.