2015 was the year of the 900th anniversary of Matilda’s death, and I spent about half a year in the tower under her castle in Canossa. And what special year it was… It gave me the opportunity to participate in (a selection of) the festivities dedicated to her memory. And it was a beautiful occasion for contributing to her return by presenting the Italian version of my book Regina del Vaticano to Italian readers.
At 25 July I had the honor and pleasure to launch my book at the cultural centre ‘Andare a Canossa’ in Canossa. About 50 persons were present and listened to my story. Among them several Dutch friends who came especially for this occasion. We then shared a special ceremony at the little piazza in front of ‘my’ tower, with beautiful Matilda songs by Marina Ligabue, followed by a walk through the labyrinth ‘Curore di Matilda’, where everybody collected their lights in the centre of the heart. What a special way to engage with the labyrinth as a space of rebirth, in this case of our connection with the love of Matilda….
Many occasions followed: I presented the book Gonzaga (the likely place where Matilda died), in Sovana (the place of birth of pope Gregory VII), where we were blessed with an incredible rainbow, in Bolsena (where Matilda and Gregory after the famous meeting in Canossa brought the remains of St. Cristina to sanctify the Duomo), in Barga (where she extended the Duomo in honor of her father Bonifazio) and in Lucca (next to the S. Frediano church, where she left many marks). In this way one of my wishes was fulfilled: I brought the book to places along the ‘Matilda line’, from Mantova to Rome.
So the book is landing in Italy…. During my presentations I noted a special effect: the ‘local’ people were informed about a chapter in the history of their places that they didn’t know of before. But not only that, they also became aware of the importance of their towns in the larger history of Matilda, which is also a crucial chapter in the history of Italy, and of Europe. So the book is landing in Italy, and the ‘string of pearls’ of sacred places of which I talk in Queen of the Vatican becomes further alive…
To be continued next year. Several plans are already in the making!