The first waves of the earthquake hit central Italy on Wednesday resulting in hundreds of deaths. Norcia is located only an hour away from the epicenter.
There were no injuries to the monks, but the monastery has been severely damaged. The foundations of the building, dating back to medieval times, have been weakened, and it is unsafe to enter.
The Norcia Benedictine monks live at a monastery built on the historic birthplace of St. Benedict, the father of Western Civilization. Father Cassian Folsom founded the priory back in 2000 at the request of the townspeople. The monks were banished for nearly 200 years because of Napoleonic anti-clericalism.
According to a post Thursday from the subprior, "We have no specifics to share yet regarding damages we've faced, though we know they are extensive."
ChurchMilitant.com reached out to the Norcia Benedictine monks and were told by the communications department, "I am afraid given the monks' duties at this time I won't hear from them until tomorrow morning."
At this time there are two monks staying behind in Norcia to keep an eye on the historic monastery. The other brothers continue to follow the Rule of St. Benedict in Rome.
"We strive to maintain the order of the Rule even during the most difficult of circumstances, and this transfer, while disruptive, will ensure the safety of our monks and grant us all the peace to continue to practice our monastic life," the monks commented.