#1
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>April 10th 1792</span>

Two days after: <a href='http://mementomori1792.jcink.net/index. ... =45&t=1221' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>To Touch Sweet Innocence with Pain</a>

The morning was dull and dreary. For once, the windows of the rooms were closed. She could not stand it, the sounds of the crowd below. So little time had passed since the news had come. Her brother was dead. Her uncle promised an investigation would be launched. He would send men personally, he had said but had begged her not to leave the confines of the house until they learned more. She could only agree for she did not even want to leave the confines of her rooms.

The letter had gone on to explain that she was not to come home, even for the funeral, that the threat of danger had not passed and that broke her heart even more. She could not even say goodbye? This would not do. In the first act of rebellion that Maddalena had ever launched, she crept from her rooms into the silence of the morning. Even before her uncle and aunt had awoken to the servant's chambers to awaken Rosalina.

The maid had protested of course but Maddalena promised to take the brunt of anger that would come, but she needed help dressing. She could not do it on her own. With teary eyed, she begged Rosalina for she needed to go to church. An so Rosalina had caved, helping Maddalena into a dress of black but once more, receiving denial to do her hair properly. A quick brush was rug through the wavy and wild curls before she snuck out of the Palazzo and found a boat to take her across the waters to San Giorgio Maggoire.

Silently as the boat glided across the waters, Maddalena clutched her rosary close to her. Secretly, she was glad for the dark morning. She did not think she could stand it if the morning were bright and welcoming. Not today of all days. If not to match her mood, then to match the circumstances. Her family was dead, her dear brother. Even as she had not seen him in many years. She had long carried him in her heart and now she would never see his face again. So she was thankful for the morning. As sinful as she felt that might be.

She lifted her skirts and jumped from the bobbing boat to the steady firmness of land as the boat reached its destination. With her hand hung, she crossed the grounds as swiftly as her feet would carry her. Surely reprimand was waiting for her at home when she returned and she made a mental note to ask for forgiveness for her disobedience as she entered the church.

She paused within, taking in the white walls and corinthium columns and instantly tears sprung to her ears which she reached up to dash away. Though she had never received a calling to serve God the way Priests and Nuns had; she felt the presence of God in the strong columns. The warmth of his love wrapped around her and caused her heart to lurch in gratitude and in pain from her inner agony. After a moment she collected herself and went to light a candle for her brother.

As the candle flickered and danced in the quiet and peace of the church, she took a step back to admire it a moment before she made the sign of the cross and then knelt with her hands folded, her mouth beginning to move in silent prayer. As the moments ticked on, with each word that passed silently spoken from her lips, her eyes welled with tears until they spilled over until finally her prayer was caught off by the constraint of her throat and she sobbed, openly, unable to control it.


<a href='index.php?showuser=87' rel='nofollow' alt='profile link' class='user-tagged mgroup-3'>@Agustin Barbaro</a>
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#2
It was the morning of the third day of Easter – the third day he was officiating the Mass, together with Giuseppe and others. He knew the Father Superior was monitoring them, the newly ordinated, reporting to the Patriarch who seemed to be better prepared. This was helping the Patriarch in choosing who was going to be the first to receive his parrish.
Now that the mass had finished, he headed to incense all the small chapels within the big cathedral of San Giorgio Maggiore. In one of them, he saw a decently dressed young woman, praying, crying and sobbing, endearing in her pain.

He approached her, made the sign of the cross on the crying lady and said the common priestly benediction, louder, to make sure she heard it:

” In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Offering the peace of God to someone who was suffering and the benediction was the first step to comfort. If she wanted to talk, he was there for her.

<a href='index.php?showuser=50' rel='nofollow' alt='profile link' class='user-tagged mgroup-6'>@Ducky</a>
word count: 206

#3
<span style='color:gray'>” In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.”</span>

So engrossed in her own grief, she did not hear him approach and she gasped as he gave the priestly benediction. Raising her head, she made the sign of the cross across her body “Amen” She spoke before she wiped the tears on her cheeks.

“Forgive me, Father. I did not mean to disturb this holy place. I just.. I needed..” She choked back, swallowing the lump within her throat.

She rocked back upon her heels and then gracefully rose from her place upon the floor and turned to face him. She was struck, absolutely, he was handsome. She felt the blush raise on her cheeks and quickly averted her eyes with her embarrassment over such a thought. The only priests who had visited Santa Maddalena, few a they were, had been old. and the children fostered there had all been females and nuns.

She felt the guilt over such thinking such a thing and chewed the inside of her cheek for a moment while she waited for the blush to abate before she would meet his eye again. “My brother passed, two days ago. I needed to feel God’s embrace, in my grief” She explained as she fidgeted with the rosary within her hands.

“I fear I am being punished, to never set eyes upon my family again because of my sins.” She spoke as a single tear escaped and slid down her cheek.

<a href='index.php?showuser=87' rel='nofollow' alt='profile link' class='user-tagged mgroup-3'>@Agustin Barbaro</a>
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#4
The young woman had been crying. Agustin had noticed the tears on her cheeks. At her excuse, he smiled and replied:

"You haven't disturbed the holy place. It is made exactly for people in distress, to find comfort. I am sure this was what you were seeking. And if the Church can't answer, God will surely answer your prayers. I am here to help you as much as I can, too."

She blushed, explaining that her brother had recently died and she thought she was punished for her sins.

"I am here if you want to confess, and I am here if you want to start a <a href='https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novena' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>novena</a> for the rest of his soul. Or merely if you want to talk about him. Talking helps soothing the grief. Novena or not, we'll pray together afterwards," he promised.

It felt good not to be a deacon anymore, to be able to do everything in helping people remain in contact with God.

<a href='index.php?showuser=50' rel='nofollow' alt='profile link' class='user-tagged mgroup-6'>@Ducky</a>
word count: 195

#5
<span style='color:gray'>"You haven't disturbed the holy place. It is made exactly for people in distress, to find comfort. I am sure this was what you were seeking. And if the Church can't answer, God will surely answer your prayers. I am here to help you as much as I can, too."</span>

At his words, she smiled. It was a sad thing but it brought her comfort, despite the sad smile. More than anything, she needed comfort in this mourning. How she desired to be wrapped in a gentle embraced and told everything would be all right. She had known the sting of death only once before in her life. Her mother. She knew that pain never truly went away but dissipated with time to a dull ache whenever remembrance struck but mostly a sad sort of pain, one that came in missing someone whom you would never see again.

When she had lost her mother, there had been no comfort, except from her brother. Now that he was gone, there was no one to comfort her. Her Uncle and Aunt had been kind to her up until then, but they had left her alone in her grief and so she had turned to God.

This man before her was the closest thing to God, devoting his life in his service and oh how she wished he would take her in his arms and hold her. The way her brother had when her mother had died. She rocked close to him, oh so tempted to throw herself in his arms and weep but she pulled herself back from doing so. It would not be seemly. Instead she reached for his hands and took them in her own, bowing her head with a sigh “Thank you Father” She murmured.

<span style='color:gray'>"I am here if you want to confess, and I am here if you want to start a NOVENA for the rest of his soul. Or merely if you want to talk about him. Talking helps soothing the grief. Novena or not, we'll pray together afterwards,"</span>

She lifted her head and gave him a smile. “I would like that, Father. To start the Novena… But I…” she stopped as her throat constricted in fear. She had sins to confess. She had held them for thirteen years now. Silently praying to God for forgiveness for them but to fearful of the judgement she would receive if she ever confessed the sin openly. She had confessed many sins over the years, but never this. Could she do it? Could she trust her deepest and darkest sin to this man? She was so scared and the fear showed so plainly on her face.

She couldn’t do it. Though every fiber of her being was screaming to beg to confess, she instead began speaking of her brother in a sad but loving tone “I haven’t seen my brother in many years. Since I was sent to Sant Maddalena Convent in Pesaro. He was always so good to me, when we were children. He was never cruel, always kind and thoughtful. He was my sole comfort when my mother died, before I was sent to the convent. He wrote me often through the years, telling me of his life at home. His hopes for the future. He was so much more pure than I… I can’t imagine him committing any sins.”

She inhaled a breath as the tears began forming anew and spilled down her cheeks “Oh Father” She wept and before she could stop herself, she leaned into him, pressing her face against his chest and wept.


<a href='index.php?showuser=87' rel='nofollow' alt='profile link' class='user-tagged mgroup-3'>@Agustin Barbaro</a>
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#6
Death was written in the laws of life, since the primordial sin. And people should not be alone in grief. They should stick together and ask for God’s healing. Agustin was there for her, and for anybody else in need of easing the communication with God. The young lady took his hands in hers – she had cold hands, most likely due to the nervousness. Maybe if it had happened another time, this gesture would have felt differently for him. But she was not Michela, and his heart and mind were too full of his beloved to have the slightest interest for any other woman. This was good, as he could keep his mind on the task of tackling sorrow. He knew that the grieving sister needed to be among understanding people, even if he wasn’t sure what exactly he was supposed to do, besides what he had been doing already.

The hesitation he felt at her, what was hindering her from starting the novena, was something to delve into later. He could read fear in her tone, and he smiled reassuringly to her. This made her start talking about the brother she had lost.

”Not always death comes as a punishment for sins,” he replied on a soothing tone. ”Think of how many young children die too. God needs them in the angels army. How can you know your brother wasn’t needed for a reason or another? Maybe seeing his death, someone turned again to faith. Maybe someone had a revelation. God’s paths are unknown to us.”

Now she started sobbing against his chest, and Agustin was mortified. First and foremost, what would the people say and imagine at seeing them this way? A groundless scandal could emerge anytime, out of mere appearances, affecting both of them’s reputations. Secondly, if he knew how to calm a crying child – his younger sister Ilaria having been the first to experiment this on – he had no idea how to do it to women. And it was terribly uncomfortable for him…

”You aren’t getting him back with your tears,” he said. ”Rather with prayers and doing something he’d liked.”

<a href='index.php?showuser=50' rel='nofollow' alt='profile link' class='user-tagged mgroup-6'>@Ducky</a>
word count: 380

#7
<span style='color:gray'>”You aren’t getting him back with your tears,” he said. ”Rather with prayers and doing something he’d liked.” </span>

After a few moments of her tears, her head raised off his chest and her cheeks flooded with color in horror at herself. “Forgive me Father, I don’t know what came over me” She collected a handkerchief from her sleeve and dabbed at her face. She must look a fright, not that she really cared about that.

She gave a brief look around to see if they had been caught. She felt so horribly now. What if they had been witnessed. It was completely innocent of course but appearances meant everything. She knew that, even living in a convent. She had been prepared to leave one day. How could she of lost herself like that. It was so embarrassing she couldn’t even look at him anymore.

<span style='color:gray'>”Not always death comes as a punishment for sins,” he replied on a soothing tone. ”Think of how many young children die too. God needs them in the angels army. How can you know your brother wasn’t needed for a reason or another? Maybe seeing his death, someone turned again to faith. Maybe someone had a revelation. God’s paths are unknown to us.”</span>

She thought back on his words, how death wasn’t necessarily a punishment for Sin. It had helped… some. She could suddenly picture her brother as an Angel, to watch over the floundering of humans below. Perhaps he was a guardian angel, she liked this thought, it made her smile for a moment until she remembered his death. “He was murdered, Father. If it was God's plan for him to die so agonizingly… I…”

No she wouldn’t finish that sentence, she couldn’t say that she had lost faith in God if that had been his plan for her brother. The truth was, she couldn’t blame God so. He was the only one she had left in the vastness of this strange town. She had her Uncle and Aunt but she didn’t know them, they were as strange as the people of Venice to her. Oh, how alone she suddenly felt. She took a step back from him, clutching tear soaked cloth and rosary together between her hands. She still couldn’t look at him out of the horror of her actions “You are right, Father, I will not get him back with my tears and I am selfish in them, I should do something he liked. Thank you for such sound advice. I should not want to take up any more of your precious time. Perhaps we can begin the novena for him now”

<a href='index.php?showuser=87' rel='nofollow' alt='profile link' class='user-tagged mgroup-3'>@Agustin Barbaro</a>
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#8
Agustin let her cry as long as she needed. When she recovered her composure, she apologized. He dismissed it:

&#8221;Don&#8217;t worry. It is natural for someone prey to grief, like you are.&#8221;

He was trying his best to find the appropriate words to get to her. And it seemed that he had succeeded&#8230;. until she said that her brother had been murdered.

&#8221;No, it couldn&#8217;t have been God&#8217;s plan for him. The Devil intervenes too, as he is the one entering murderers&#8217; minds. But your brother will always remain an angel watching over you. And the Devil gets his punishment ultimately &#8211; so will the murderer.&#8221;

He believed what he was saying. It was the world of justice, the eye for an eye&#8230; and so on. Just that in life, things didn&#8217;t always function like in the Holy Scriptures.

As she said that she didn&#8217;t want to take any more of his precious time, he replied:

&#8221;My time is precious exactly for those who need it &#8211; namely you, now. There is nobody more precious than you for me now, that you are in need of comfort. And it is a good idea to start the novena. What is his full Christian name?&#8221;

After he heard the name and made an effort to remember it, he kneeled by her side in front of the cross, starting the prayer:

Lord our God, receive our supplications,
prayers and mortifications and sighs
in suffrage for the holy souls for whom we make this novena;
and we pray that by the motherly love
bestowed on you by your most holy Mother,
when she followed you on the way of sorrow up to Mount Calvary,
and grant what we ask of you in this novena
for your greater honour and glory.
Amen.&#8221;


<a href='index.php?showuser=50' rel='nofollow' alt='profile link' class='user-tagged mgroup-6'>@Ducky</a>
word count: 335

#9
It put her at ease for him to dismiss her horrible behavior. At least they had not been witnessed. The horror of such a thing no doubt would of had her shut away from society for the rest of her days in embarrassment. He was so kind, this man, this priest. The old priests that came to the convent had been so stern and cross. Their faces constantly seemed to scrunch in a way that made Maddalena wonder if they had sucked on a lemon upon their journey.

”No, it couldn’t have been God’s plan for him. The Devil intervenes too, as he is the one entering murderers’ minds. But your brother will always remain an angel watching over you. And the Devil gets his punishment ultimately – so will the murderer.”

His face was not scrunched so. His face was kind and welcoming. The light brown of his eyes held the depth of his faith in them, inviting her in and comforting as the words that fell from his mouth ringing in sincerity and truth that made her heart flutter in her chest.. Oh my! She had never felt her heart flutter that way before.

”My time is precious exactly for those who need it – namely you, now. There is nobody more precious than you for me now, that you are in need of comfort. And it is a good idea to start the novena. What is his full Christian name?”

She felt the tops of her cheeks flushing once more. No one had ever cared so much for her in so long. She felt her heart reaching out to this man, this priest, despite the fact of his profession and the sin that came with it. An oh how it was made worse when he said there was no one more precious than her for him now. She nearly swooned. No one had ever said something like this to her before. Sweet Maddalena was doey eyed for Agustin.

She was shaken out of her admiration by his question and bit the inside of her cheek in shame for her near swooning. Although secretly, she was not overly sorry, how could it be wrong if God commanded her heart to flutter this way. Still, she felt shame for she was still mourning for her brother.

“Pier Luigi Malaspina” She murmured her brothers name in a soft whisper.

Softly, she shifted her skirts and knelt by the cross and made the sign of the cross. When Agustin knelt beside her, she inhaled a soft breath and then began to speak the prayer in unison with him:

Lord our God, receive our supplications,
prayers and mortifications and sighs
in suffrage for the holy souls for whom we make this novena;
and we pray that by the motherly love
bestowed on you by your most holy Mother,
when she followed you on the way of sorrow up to Mount Calvary,
and grant what we ask of you in this novena
for your greater honour and glory.
Amen.”


-End Thread-

@Agustin Barbaro
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