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Senglea and Montecassino

A delegation led by the mayor of Cassino in Italy, Dr Bruno V. Scrittarelli, will today start a short visit to Senglea in preparation for the forthcoming twinning between the two towns.

Although at first hand the two towns do not seem to have much in common, the connection between them is quite impressive.

One of the main connections goes back to 1911 when Francesco Inguanez, born in Senglea in 1887 joined the Benedictine Abbey at Montecassino where he was ordained priest, adopting Mauro as his new name.

Built in 529, the Benedictine Abbey in Montecassino lies in the foothills of the Appenine Mountains midway between Rome and Naples.

Although the Benedictine Order for males was not so popular in Malta, many young women joined the Order set up by St Scholastica, who was St Benedict's sister, in the monasteries in Vittoriosa, Valletta and Mdina.

Don Mauro was appointed archivist and librarian at Montecassino, establishing himself as an authority in the science of paleography.

He published about 170 articles in leading international reviews and organised the Montecassino Bibliographic Exhibition in 1929 and the Italian Historic Institute Conference a year later.

Don Mauro's most amazing feat was the planning and supervision of Montecassino's valuable manuscripts as they were transported to Rome for safekeeping during the devastation caused in World War Two when the abbey was demolished.

The abbey was rebuilt according to the original plans after the war.

Don Mauro returned to Malta and was appointed librarian of the Royal Library in Valletta where he was responsible for the restoration of rare monuments at the library.

The connection of St Benedict with Senglea goes back in history: from the 11th century onwards, the Order of St John, which came to Malta in 1530, observed the rule of St Benedict.

Senglea played an important role in the Great Siege against the Turks in 1565 and it took on its new name from Grand Master Claude la Sengle.

Senglea also went through a terrible time during WWII when it was heavily scarred by enemy bombs.

The parish churches of Senglea and Cassino are basilicas and both are dedicated to Our Lady.

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