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Out of Palermo

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

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?)  Read More 
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Update on Fra Biagio Conte

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  Read More 
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Yussupha plays

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Palermo's solidarity with wounded immigrant; mayor at head of protest march

A young man from Gambia was peacefully talking on a street corner with friends from his native Gambia when a mafioso-type jerk from the neighborhood came up to them and started insulting them. Usually, the immigrants will turn and run. But Yusupha Susso, a 21-year-old Gambian stuck up for himself and for his friends.  Read More 
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Fra Biagio says he's leaving Palermo and Sicily

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  Read More 
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Fra Biagio's Hunger Strike wins a round against developer

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  Read More 
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Fra Biagio Conte sleeping outdoors again

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  Read More 
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per chi legge in italiano


My friend and former palace mate Ester Russo, who is a psychologist who treats immigrants and victims of torture, wrote an article about recent events in Palermo, protests over building fences in Europe to keep asylum seekers out. The cover image quotes  Read More 
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