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Out of Palermo

Pope Francis returns the visit

Last year, fra Biagio Conte carried a wooden cross frm Palermo to the Vatican where the pope granted him a half-hour private audience. This week, Pope francis returned the visit. here they are busy getting ready for the visit on Sept. 15.

 

 

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Palermo football donates 50,000 euro to Fra Biagio Conte's mission for the homeless

Despite the fact that the Palermo "Pink and Black" professional soccer team is going bankrupt, its owner, Maurizio Zamparini of Palermo, yesterday donated 50,000 euro
($59,140) to the incredible homeless mission founded and run by Fra Biagio Conte, a self-made monk who has dedicated his life to caring for "the Least Ones."
Maurizio Zamparini makes such a donation to the mission every year at Christmas season.
To learn more about Fra Biagio and his work for the homeless of Palermo, read my story in the most recent National Italian American Foundation magazine, Ambassador.  Read More 
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Pope Francis opens free launderette for homeless and poor in Rome

From The Guardian:
Pope Francis has opened a free launderette in Rome in the latest of a series of initiatives aimed at poor people that has included help with housing, showers, haircuts, meals and medical care.

Six washing machines and dryers were donated to the facility in the city centre. Detergent, fabric softener and a number of irons have also been provided.

The Lavanderia di Papa Francesco (Pope Francis Laundry) intended to “restore dignity to many people who are our brothers and sisters”, the Vatican said. It is designed to serve “the poorest people, particularly the homeless, who will be able to wash, dry and iron their clothes and blankets”. Read More 
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New bishop celebrates Christmas with homeless

"This is the real church," Palermo's brand new archbishop Corrado Lorefice said to those gathered to celebrate Christmas Eve at Fra Biagio Conte's Mission of Hope and Charity. Biagio, a lay brother who takes care of a thousand homeless people in three inner city homes for them in Palermo, welcomed the new archbishop to his shelter. Read More 
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Barber cuts homeless men's hair gratis after work

Vi ho visto sul giornale La Repubblica negli states! Auguri e buon natale a tutti gli amici di LDDO.

Posted by Reve Couleurs on Thursday, December 24, 2015
A barber in Palermo leaves work and goes to cut the hair of homeless men and women at a shelter near Palermo's port. I recognize some of the homeless men in this short video from La Repubblica. They are guests of the 40-bed dormitory run by La Danza delle Ombre (The Shadow Dance) a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Marina Scardavi, Palermo's street doctor to the homeless. From their Facebook page. Read More 
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Luigi sings "Personality" as done by Katerina Valente


Luigi, a homeless man who sleeps at a shelter and spends much of his days at the walk- in clinic, Danza delle Ombre (Shadowdance) run by Doctor Marina Scardavi, near Piazza Politeama. He asked me not to film his face. A woman who also comes daily to the clinic sings along with him until she forgets the words.  Read More 
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Luigi sings

If Luigi didn't sing he would cry.
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Sun through the olive trees

Silver lining of a cloud behind the olive branches
Fra Biagio Conte's community for the homeless has expanded into the countryside. The homeless shelter inherited a farm near the sea, at Scopello in Sicily, and the homeless have rebuilt it, and cleaned up the olive groves, made them productive again, and make all the shelter's olive oil there.
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Last Night in Palermo: Chicken on a Chain

Chicken on a chain, photo by Irene Campagna
I went out on the Danza delle Ombre meals- on-wheels run for the homeless with Chiara and Irene Campagna this evening, for the last time.
You see the strangest things. Drunken Europunks sleeping on the cold hard sidewalk where they urinate, surrounded by a pack of large mongrel dogs, one of which just had seven puppies. Across the street was this forlorn, lonely roosting hen on a leash, tied to a garbage can, waiting for her homeless master to get back from whatever it was he was doing. Different kind of pet.
When we ran out of food to deliver, the sisters, who volunteer to deliver food every week, asked me what food I liked. Pizza, crostini, cannolicchi. Then they talked about their favorite arancine, which are fried rice balls containing, traditionally, either butter  Read More 
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Fra Biagio and the farms

Fra Biagio Conte
Fra Biagio Conte, a layman, a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis, houses and feeds more than a thousand people in his four urban shelters and communities in Palermo. His guests are Sicilians, Italians, Europeans, Asians, and Africans, men, women and children. Recently his prayers have been answered. He always wanted to  Read More 
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