Father Romano Bottegal


Romano Bottegal, a monk and contemplative, was born in 1921 in San Donato di Lamon (Belluno) into a very poor family, the youngest of six children. After elementary school, he entered the Minor Seminary of Feltre and then the Major Seminary of Belluno. He soon matured his monastic vocation, but was advised to wait for priestly ordination (June 29, 1946).

After this stage, he entered the Abbey of Tre Fontane in Rome. There he made his solemn profession (1951) and took courses at the Gregorian University, earning a degree in Theology (1953). In 1961, he responded to the abbot’s call of the monastery of Latroun (Israel), who was looking for volunteers to establish a foundation in Lebanon, obtaining permission to participate in this attempt. At Latroun, he began to study Arabic, Syriac, and Eastern liturgy. Once the Lebanese project was no longer supported by the General Chapter of the Trappists, Father Romano returned to Tre Fontane. The abbot, who, with the seriousness of his monastic commitment, knew his desire for greater solitude, allowed him to lead a hermitic life in the territory of the monastery. However, shortly thereafter, the new superior no longer allowed the young monk to continue his eremitic experience. He then, certain of his calling, left for Lebanon and put himself under the authority of the Melkite Bishop of Baalbek, Romano Bottegal lived as a hermit in Jabbouleh and for a period in the Holy Land, leading an extremely poor life with a barely sufficient diet and without heating or other comforts. He was an example of friendship and love towards Christians and Muslims without distinction. His life of austerity, prayer, and forgiveness was edifying, especially because the country of Lebanon was plagued by a fratricidal war. From the 15th year of his eremitic life, he lived as a recluse because the Love of God had driven him to leave earthly Jerusalem and live its spirit and mission, to die for the Holy Land and be like Jesus on the Cross, a “site of love,” a victim for peace in Jerusalem, the East, and China (Personal Notes). A man now transformed by the Charity of God, Romano, consumed by tuberculosis, died of a cardiac arrest at the hospital in Beirut on February 19, 1978.


Through the eremitic life, the young Trappist intends to embody the humility of Jesus and the desire for God. Father Romano’s humility embodies his not placing anything before the love of Christ (RB 4,21; cf. ibid. 72,11), a love preferred in such a way as to make everything, and especially oneself, disappear. Romano knows that God takes pleasure in the humble, and to live his vocation and mission for the world, he learns from the Virgin Mary. In his giving, he wants to be not only “like the Good Shepherd” but also “like the Mother of all.”

He himself notes: “Hermit: missionary of work, humility, poverty, abandonment, contempt” [elsewhere: “to forget oneself and work in Christ, with Christ, for Christ”], in order to “realize in himself the new Pascal mystery, the joy of Jesus, the humility of Jesus, the love of Jesus, the prayer of Jesus, the glory of Jesus.”

“What matters is the will of the Lord, the pleasure of love. Now, if It desires that you be the last, being last is what matters. … God desires humility: leave the first places to others…”. Romano’s last place and the way he occupies it – joyfully and gratefully – reminds man of the truth of his creatureliness, because he has nothing that he has not received, and everything that has been given to him is used to enter into the joy of his Lord (Mt 25,21) and in gratitude it is shared with others, showing solidarity with them and benefiting them (cf. Note).

Romano felt so immersed in the mystery of God, so much a part of the personality of Christ – his expansion and extension – that he perceived his existence as an instrument for the Kingdom of God: a minimal creature in the heart of love and the universe; one with all the people of God; in the Church of God, at the altar of God; last called to the wedding, bringing his smallest gift, to the last place; content with crumbs; minimal Christ, in whom the Lord lives his Mystery. Therefore, Trinitarian love always finds in him, joyfully grateful for his journey of grace in every step and detail, his humble beatitude, granting him to give himself completely for the Kingdom of God (cf. notes). A monk deep down and till the end, a hermit who always feels united to the Community of Tre Fontane, Romano lives a vocation that is ecumenical because it is truly monastic: the heart of his spirituality. The seed was received in the monastery. Already here, the young Trappist, meditating on St. Bernard’s Sermons on the Song of Songs, had taken some ideas that emphasized that the soul-bride identifies with the Church and the mission of the Church: wanting to correspond to the Lord, it is not enough for her “to be attracted” individually, to go alone to the Bridegroom. The identity and perfection of his life is that of a member who says, “That they may be perfected in one.” Every Christian must seek to realize for himself, in himself, the unity desired by Christ… and he achieves it if he becomes one with Christ, with the Church, with individual Christians of yesterday, today, tomorrow, so as to live the life of the mystical body for which the graces, pains, needs, desires of the mystical body are his, and he has as his interests those of the mystical body…” (Notes). Endowed with exceptional balance, sensitivity, and delicacy of soul, he combines his highest ideals with extreme realism; he unites the austerity of his lifestyle with a childlike heart, with gentleness towards himself, others, and all reality, living not only paternal but also maternal spirituality, and still a clear joy, which manifests both the equation of his will that has tied a knot with eternity, a will that desires only good and arrives at everything it wants, and the way his charity knows God.


These are the words that best condense the message of Father Romano: God is above all Joy. The unchanging smile of the very poor and spent hermit, his bright eyes in the midst of suffering, touched everyone, they were a sign of the presence of the Spirit, a light lit by Him, a light of the heart, a manifestation of resurrection, a demonstration of the existence of God, just as the evidence of the existence of a superior divine logic and a new way of being. His was true Easter joy, a gift from above, a proof of the supernatural, a joy that flowed from within and completely satisfied his soul. Communion with Him that fully satisfies. But there is still more. Romano also experienced that joy called the feast of the Spirit (John of the Cross): an explosion of charity that overflows deep within as a foretaste of heavenly glory, fervor that finally led him to seclusion.

(cfr. Note).


This uncommon monastic figure, this great mystic, whose fame of sanctity is spreading throughout the world, has already inspired many people and aroused adherents, devotions, and spiritual friendships, especially in Lebanon and Belluno. While his extremely austere life is difficult to imitate, the simplicity and unification he achieved are instead the normal path of every seeker of God.

Padre Romano Bottegal. The Missionary Hermit (Italian)

This uncommon monastic figure, this great mystic, whose fame of sanctity is spreading throughout the world, has already inspired many people and aroused adherents, devotions, and spiritual friendships, especially in Lebanon and Belluno.

Father Romano Bottegal FORMATORE (Italiano)

In September 2013, when the Postulator of the Order, Mother Augusta Tescari, asked me to become Vice Postulator of the Cause of Father Romano Bottegal, I objected that she should rather address Abbot of Tre Fontane, Father. Giacomo (Jacques Brière), who, however, when I consulted him, deemed it appropriate for me to take on the interim role, given not only his difficulties, but also the community’s in dedicating itself to such a task

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