Father Romano Bottegal was a Cistercian Hermit who was born in Italy in 1921. He entered the abbey of Tre Fontane in 1946 and professed solemn vows in 1951. In 1964 he was granted a canonical indult Ad ducendam vitam eremiticam for three years. He then led an hermetical life in Jabbouleh in the Lebanon. In 1966 he was granted an indult of perpetual exclaustration Ad nutum Sanctae Sedis. From 1969 to 1973 he led an hermetical life in Israel and Lebanon. In 1976 he began his life as a recluse. He died on the 19.02.1978 in Beirut and is buried in the Cathedral of St Barbara at Baalbeck.
His Spiritual Life –
In July 1938 he made a perpetual vow of chastity and consecration to Merciful Love.
‘ In the 15th year as a hermit, Love desires that in my hermit life I become a very little victim, a thirst for love, victim for peace in Jerusalem and in the Near east.’
What is perfect oblation? ‘To allow Christ and the spirit of Christ to live in me, it means, his love, his certainty, his joy, his prayer, his Resurrection, just as a warmed up electric body is full of the heat of the electric currrent. To accomplish each act as an act of death, that is, detached from everything – to aspire to the Love from whom we come and to whom we go, that we might meet him.’
‘In medio Amoris-Universi, minima creatura.. in the people of God, with the people of God, in God’s church, near God’s altar – the last called to the wedding feast, carrying the smallest gift, happy with crumbs from freinds and enemies, overcome by Christ, renewed, tranfromed by Christ: myself, a tiny Christ, conqueror and conquered. In the heart of your joy, I entrust my body and soul.’
‘To sum up my 55 years… A mystical good for nothing enjoying a world of Grace.’
‘If only one person is outside our love ,God who is love cannot come to dwell in us.’
‘Where there is love, there is no fear, if there is fear, it means there is not true love.’
On being asked by religious sisters about contemplation – ‘True holiness is that of the Cross. Contemplation? It can be or not be – what counts, and what is essential to holiness, is the Cross.’
On how we can reach contemplation ‘ prayer and reading can help those who are beginners. But contemplation is something else: it is living in God with joy and unspeakable suffering.’
‘A christian, the church have only one value to the extent that they belong to Christ. And it is when He is on the Cross that Christ reaches the summit of his greatness. In the invisible world, in this present life, the cross is the point towards which tends the Old Testament ( Jerusalem for the Jew) and to which the New Testament (the Church) refers. Therefore it is the point a Christian must realise in himself, to this point he must tend, because in this point he is truly a Christian and there he makes the Gospel real for himself… But how is Christ on the Cross? He is victorious but also defeated .. He suffers and loves everyone, spending himself completly for all. There is no disputing the Cross, no attachment to wordly things – The point ,the Cross, has eternal value, and eternity depends on it. It is the only necessary reality, the precious stone. He who finds this point, and in the measure he finds it, is close to the Kingdom of heaven, and in the same measure he enters the Kingsom of heaven.’
Reference: Wehbe, Louis. (2006) Father Romano Bottegal. Trappiste- Vitorchiano
A Profile of Fr. Romano Bottegal, OCSO (1921-1978) Augusta Tescari, and Maria Cecilia Zaffi / in Cistercian Studies Vol 39.2 (2004) 151-73
The postulatrix of the cause is Revd. Sr Augusta Trappiste – Vitorchiano