Matilde Serao (1856-1927)

Matilde Serao

Nel paese di Gesù, Naples 1907

Following her visit to Palestine in 1893, Serao, an Italian journalist and chronicler, dedicated herself to the writing of her book Nel paese di Gesù, in which she describes all of the land of Palestine including the region of Galilee. She depicts the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum in a very lovely manner, giving new life to the Gospel stories:

“Down there, to the left of Tiberias, stood Bethsaida, the birthplace of St. Peter, and Capernaum, where Christ performed his greatest miracles: the two cities, where the miracles were made in vain, have now fallen into ruin: and you dream that they are still there, snow white among the yellow broom and the fragrant smell of lavender. Straining your eyes, you can just make out Magdala, the village of the renowned penitent. In the evenings, with the soft breeze blowing from Syria, and looking at the quiet surface of this lake, you are reminded of the small boat in which Jesus loved to be rowed, immersed in his sublime thoughts: of his trips when he humbly accompanied the poor fishermen and helped them cast their nets and haul them back in, silently blessing their labor while the fish miraculously filled the nets to overflowing; of the day of the storm, when his apostles feared for their lives and he calmed the angry lake with a wave of his hand; and of that dark and cloudy afternoon when, all at once, they saw him miraculously walk on the Sea of Gennesaret. Here! All is silence. You are alone. An immense sweetness melts your heart to be here where the most meaningful and effective part of his story took place: a great tenderness grabs hold of your heart, while you kneel down to interrogate these waters that he loved, where his words of kindness, of charity, seem to flow like a divine breath. Here!”

Nel paese di Gesù, Naples 1907, p. 290