dotCommonweal has a neat piece on an ecumenical monastic community in northern Italy.
Halfway between Milan and Turin, in a little hollow below a glacial morain, with the foothills of the Italian Alps providing the distant horizon, sits the monastery of Bose, one of the most important religious foundations in Italy since the Second Vatican Council. On the day the Council closed, December 8, 1965, Enzo Bianchi, a 21-year-old layman, began to live a monastic life in an abandoned farm house. It would be only in August of 1968 that three others decided to join him at Bose. One of them was a pastor in the Swiss Reformed Church, and one of them was a woman. With them two of the chief characteristics of the monastic community of Bose were established: it would be ecumenical in membership and would include both men and women. The experiment had to survive the opposition of the local bishop, but thanks to the support of the cardinal archbishop of Turin, the community survived and grew and eventually won the formal approval of a later bishop.
Bianchi, prior of the community but never ordained himself, has become an important figure in the Church in Italy. He is regularly called upon to give retreats for bishops and priests. He writes regular columns on contemporary affairs for newspapers: one recent one was on "the code of mediocrity" exemplified by a certain popular novel. He was asked to compose the liturgies of repentance that Pope John Paul II led on the first Sunday of Lent in 2000.
Sounds well worth a visit! Maybe the next time I find myself in Italy?
The last time in Rome, I picked up a slim volume from the Paolini bookstore on V. della Concelazione. "Eros Redento" by Jean Bastaire ("Eros redeemed" -- it seemed to be on similar themes as the Pope's first encyclical. I just started it ...) The publisher had a strange name. Qiqayon. Turns out it's the publishing house of the community of Bose, and refers to the Hebrew name of the shrub that gave Jonah shelter from heat!
The Community has it's own website.
[Not sure how the formatting's going to look on this. The DSL is still down and I'm on dialup and am emailing this through again ... :: sigh :: ]