The historic Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy was leveled by an earthquake earlier today, according to an email from the Monks of Norcia.
The basilica is built over the traditional birthplace of St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastic. Parts of it date back to the 14th century. The earthquake was a 6.6 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter in central Italy.
“The monks are all safe, but our hearts go immediately to those affected,” the monks said in their email, “and the priests of the monastery are searching for any who may need the Last Rites.
“The Basilica of St. Benedict, the historic church built atop the birthplace of St. Benedict, was flattened by this most recent quake. May this image serve to illustrate the power of this earthquake, and the urgency we monks feel to seek out those who need the Sacraments on this difficult day for Italy.”
The monks are soliciting donations for the rebuilding process at this link.