SOME FEATURES OF HISTORY
Following the request of the Bishop of the Diocese of Ventimiglia-St Remo, Bp. Alberto Maria Careggio, from January 2012 the Brothers of the Holy Family have opened the Community of Taggia, in the old convent of Domincan Fathers, who left the convent in 2007. From 2002 the Brothers are working in the Diocese, especially in the field of school and catechesis –diocesan and parish level-, near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guard, in the parish of St Margarida, locality of Poggio di Sanremo.
The convent of St Dominic is situated in the southern periphery of the small town of Taggia, a village between sea and mountain, near the border with France. Taggia, former “Tabia” of Roman origin, is rich in historical traditions and important monuments of the mediaeval period and renaissance. The ancient centre, one of the most characteristics of Liguria, is a touristic spot and is situated three kilometres from the sea.
In 1459, arrived in Taggia from Milan the Dominican preacher, Christopher, who was welcomed very heartily by the inhabitants and asked him to build a convent, offering him a good and big land between town and sea.
Designed by Fray Christopher, between 1460 and 1490, the present monastery was built with the donation of the inhabitants of the place, who offered materials and human labour. Very important were the donations of the noble families of Tabiesi and Sforza and Visconti from Milan. The structure maintains its original features with a wonderful cloister and a big church, rich with artistic paints, from artists of the XVI and XVII centuries. Apart from church and cloister, a small land is also remaining, which is cultivated in part. The Diocesan Curia is not the owner of the convent, it has only the concession of free use, and the Brothers live in the convent and manage it under the direction parish priest of Taggia, who has the function of Prior.
THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY
This present year, 2015-2016, the Community is formed by three Brothers: Luigi Foscarin, local Superior and administrator; Enrico Luciani and Mariano Lovato, living in good harmony and the experience of community, adjusting to the demands of the different groups who often visit the convent to breathe the air of mystical spirituality. Mainly groups of spirituality, parish groups, families, youths… who come to the convent for retreats, recollection days, time of prayer, courses and planning of activities.
Generally, they are autonomous groups who do not interfere with the progress of the Community, but the Brothers are often called for the animation or sharing of prayer and experiences. The convent became the ordinary place for some groups like the “Courses of Christianity”, held several times per year, and in which Brother Luigi is collaborator.
THE APOSTOLIC WORK AND FEATURES OF INCULTURATION
The main activity is the hospitality. The convent is a centre of spirituality and culture, that the diocese wants to keep alive. For cultural and touristic visits, a timetable is kept to respect the life of the Brothers, but the Brothers are always available for the guided visits.
The Brothers are related to the parish life. We attend daily the Mass in the parish of “Our Lady of Miracles” in Taggia. We participate in the parish activities being in the Pastoral Council. Brother Mariano coordinates a group of altar boys which gathers every week and guides the liturgical celebrations. Brother Luigi guides a group of bible reading with monthly meetings. Often the Bishop of the place, Antonio Suetta, who appreciates the work of the convent, is present among the Brothers in the Community, to guide groups, to greet those in the courses, to meet the young people.
The Brothers are immersed in the diocesan life and participate regularly in the meetings; we are known by all the priests, especially because we are the only Institute of Brothers in the diocese.
We are keeping alive the Dominican spirit that animated the convent and the people of this place during centuries. Every day a small group of “lay Dominicans” meet in the chapel (former chapter room) to pray with the Brothers and every week to celebrate the Holy Mass with the faithful in the big church dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy. Monthly, a Dominican priest from Varazze comes to meet those praying the rosary and celebrate Mass for them and the Community.
Among the friends, those who come often to the convent and the occasional tourists, we have chance to speak about the Institute and the Brothers and to make Brother Gabriel known, even to the diocesan clergy.
Our commitment and our apostolate of lay Brothers is perceived as a very current way of apostolate and is welcomed and appreciated by priests and families who feel the Brothers more closely to them rather than priests, who are always very busy and not available for listening and personal dialogue with the faithful. We are feeling members of the people of God, we are feeling Church who lives the charism of Brother Gabriel in Taggia and this makes us feel brothers of all and sons of the same Father.