The city of Milan, in Northern Italy, is one of the most important commercial and financial centres in the world.
It is the largest city in northern Italy, and capital of the province of Milan and the region of Lombardy. The city’s links to the Hospitallers dates back to 11 March 1841, when the fifth son of Luigi Menni and Luigia Figini was born there. He was named Ángel Hércules and is now known as St. Benedict Menni.
Important places in Hospitaller history are:
The Church of Santa María alla Fontana, just a few steps away from the Mennis’ home where they ran a wood business. It was at this parish church that Ángel received the sacrament of baptism on the day he was born and was subsequently confirmed. The church has a chapel on one side, which is dedicated to Saint Benedict Menni, with a painting of the Saint by Alberto Venditti.
Underneath the church is a XVI Century sanctuary, in the centre of which stood a miraculous fountain that has now been replaced with a medieval stone with eleven spouts. It stands in what is considered to be the fountain’s original position.
The Central Station of Milan, where the young Ángel Hércules Menni worked as a volunteer caring for the wounded soldiers that arrived from the front in Magenta, 20 km from Milan, during the War of Independence between Italy and Austria (1859); from here they took the wounded to the St. María Aracoeli hospital of the Brothers of St. John of God (fatebenfratelli). It was here, where he came into contact with pain and saw the example of the Brothers, that Benedict Menni decided to follow Jesus in the Hospitaller Order.
Milan Cathedral (duomo , “House of God”), a splendid gothic-style monument with a neo-gothic façade. One of the 2,245 statues that adorn the outside perimeter is of our Founder.
The Pavia Charterhouse (Certosa di Pavia) a gothic-style monastery located in the small city of Pavia, 40 km from Milan. Ángeles Hércules went on his first spiritual retreats here when he was just seventeen years old and promised: “To trust in the Lord and his Most Holy Mother and in the generosity of God (…) without regard for my pride or being daunted by what men might say“.
In 1955, in the old Villa Bassi-Roncaldier de Albese, a city located some 40 km from Milan, the Italian province opened a centre to care for the mentally ill, called Villa San Benedetto. It is now a hospital complex with more than 200 beds and day-care and outpatient services, called Casa di Cura San Benedetto Menni.