Monday, May 4, 2009


Montelepre literallDSC04293y means mountain of the hares.  We went there to participate in a leaders retreat for CEMI held at the Castello Giuliano April 24-25.  The retreat was a time of spiritual refreshmentDSC04295, refocus, and renewing friendships.  The speakers were Swiss missionaries from Cefalu’  and they had 3 teaching sessions focused on encouragment.  We also enjoyed the mealtimes, with excellent food and fellowship. There was an interesting background to the hotel that we stayed at.                 It was run by the descendents of Salvatore Giuliano, Sicily’s “Robin Hood”.   Just after the allies freedDSC04298 Sicily and Italy from German domination in WWII, there were DSC04297many restrictions on farming and most of the food grown here was being sent to mainland Italy.  The farmers were upset, and had great difficulty feeding their own families with these restrictions.    Salvatore was driven to become a rebel against the carbinieri who were restricting their family’s food supply.  There was a movement for Sicily to become an independent state.  Turiddu (Salvatore)  became a colonel in the movement for an independent Sicily.  Unfortunately, due to the wrangling of politicians it did not come to pass.  However, it did get autonomy from Italy, but there weDSC04300DSC04314

DSC04332re still a lot of restrictions on the Sicilians.  He eventually died at the hands of the Mafia, although the carbinieri took DSC04325credit for it.  He is still regarded as a hero for trying to help form an independent state and help the poor in the area of Montelepre.  (At one point they even campaigned to become the 49th state in the US.)  The story is told in a book written by his nephew, with interviews from his sister and other famDSC04316ily members.   The story was behind the area and hotel was very interesting and unique.  We definitely enjoyed our time there, fellowshipping with other local leaders and several missionary couples from Bari.  At one point during some free time we went to a small shop to get some freshly made ricotta and mozzarella. After tasting the real stuff, the supermarket stuff is nowhere close.  (Shawn and I had a friend teach us how to make cannoli filling with the ricotta and chocolate chips. Yummy!)  We also had the chance to host some friends from the conference so they could get an earlier start on their 9-10 hour drive home.  We walked to a park that evening to allow their kids time to get rid of their excess energy and enjoy the fresh air.  We had a busy weekend, but enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.  (Photos include: My husband playing the guitar, our speaker, the inside of the dining area, views of the area, brothers, our morning meditation speaker, the garden area, and me under a flowering bush.)  DSC04327