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The augustinian saint to whom the victims of the 2016 earthquake of Tolentino are entrusted


The 10th of September is a very special day for the Order: it is the Solemnity of St Nicholas of Tolentino, co-patron saint of the Province of Italy with St Rita of Cascia



It is also the date when he died, aged 60, 718 years ago. Raised to sainthood, this Augustinian friar’s help is sought in the care of sick children. He is also patron of the souls in purgatory. His connection with Tolentino is such that, as Fr Giustino Casciano, Provincial of Italy and Prior of the basilica where St Nicholas is at rest, tells us, "for centuries in the city there has been a special devotion to his figure.”


Peculiarly, St. Nicholas of Tolentino is not only celebrated and remembered on the anniversary of his death, but also on the following Sunday - this year, the 17th - when the feast of the Pardon of St Nicholas is celebrated, and at which time it is possible to receive a plenary indulgence. "This spiritual privilege was granted by Pope Boniface IX in 1401 and from year to year this great spiritual gift continues to be experienced by thousands of people here in Tolentino," Fr Giustino points out.



Waiting to start the post-earthquake restoration work in the Marche region


Seven years ago the basilica, the cloister, the chapel and the tomb of St Nicholas were all seriously damaged by the earthquake that devastated the region. Although they have been able to remain open to pilgrims and visitors thanks to temporary repairs that were undertaken, the Order, as Fr Giustino tells us, is waiting for the Italian government to begin restoration work on this monumental complex of great religious and artistic value, including 14th century frescoes by the school of Giotto that have adorned the chapel of St Nicholas with scenes from the Gospel and the life of St Nicholas himself.


"The Augustinians of Italy have been living here for centuries, in the convent of St Nicholas of Tolentino, welcoming pilgrims, performing liturgical services, and always available for the sacrament of Confession and to offer spiritual direction," the Provincial of Italy tells us.


The convent of St Nicholas also welcomes young people, groups and families who want to share days of prayer and spirituality, and seek the will of the Lord.


"We Augustinians see in St Nicholas of Tolentino the ideal of the priestly life. Life in apostolic ministry as service, but born of the consecration of the grace of living with one heart and one soul intent towards God."



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