Selected Works

Nonfiction
A look at life in little-known mountain towns of the Sicilian hinterlands.
A true account of the last years of an ancient Sicilian giant bluefin tuna trap.






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Out of Palermo

Brother Biagio Conte of Palermo made it to Rome on foot, saw Pope today

July 20, 2016

Tags: Fra Biagio, biagio conte, mission, Hope and Charity, walk, rome, protest, letter, pope, president, Via Archrafi, sheds, promise, palermo

In April Brother Biagio Conte took off from Palermo in a fit of pique because his homeless brothers were being mistreated. He decided to walk to Rome carrying a wooden cross. One of his faithful followers walked with him. When the pope heard that Biagio was nearing Rome, he scurried to clear a spot on his appointment calendar to make room for Biagio. This morning Biagio reached Rome and, according to this report in today's Giornale di Sicilia, Pope Francis met with him and Biagio's right-hand man, Father Pino Vitrano, informally for a half hour at one of his rooms at Santa Marta. ( Who was running the three urban homeless shelters, a constant state of emergency, while they were gone, I wonder?) (more…)

Update on Fra Biagio Conte

April 11, 2016

Tags: Fra Biagio, biagio conte, mission, Hope and Charity, protest, letter, pope, president, Via Archrafi, sheds, promise, palermo

Fra Biagio Conte, the self-made brother who started a new religious order in Palermo to serve the poor, homeless and refugees, who feeds and houses a thousand people a day, is about to set off on a journey to Rome by foot, carrying a wooden cross, to see the pope about getting some support (more…)

Fra Biagio says he's leaving Palermo and Sicily

April 1, 2016

Tags: Fra Biagio, biagio conte, mission, Hope and Charity, protest, letter, pope, president, Via Archrafi, sheds, promise, palermo

Fra Biagio Conte, lay founder of the Catholic church's youngest order, the Missionaries of Charity and Hope, says he is leaving Palermo hurt and disappointed because of what he calls the city's obstruction of his plan to help unfortunate people. Biagio Conte and his colleagues, guest "brothers and sisters,"an army of volunteers and (more…)

Fra Biagio's Hunger Strike wins a round against developer

February 4, 2016

Tags: Fra Biagio, biagio conte, mission, Hope and Charity, protest, letter, pope, president, Via Archrafi, sheds, promise, palermo

Fra Biagio Conte, founder of Palermo's urban Mission of Hope and Charity, which feeds, houses, trains and cares for more than a thousand homeless people a day in four urban centers, has won a victory. The developer who bought the property adjacent to his Via Archirafi shelter where homeless men collect cardboard to recycle (more…)

Fra Biagio Conte sleeping outdoors again

January 27, 2016

Tags: Fra Biagio, biagio conte, mission, Hope and Charity, protest, letter, pope, president, Via Archrafi, sheds, promise, palermo

The city and regional government have broken their promises and robbed the poor of hope says lay missionary Fra Biagio Conte whose Mission of Hope and Charity houses and feeds more than a thousand destitute people, Palermitans and immigrants alike in four urban missions and now on several farms in Sicily. Fra Biagio says (more…)

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