Castro Anxious to Have Ecumenical Center Built

Asks Bridgettine Order to Complete Project Within 5 Months

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ROME, DEC. 10, 2001 ( Fidel Castro hopes that a religious order of nuns can speed up its plans to open a center for spirituality in Havana.

The Mother Abbess of the Bridgettine Order of the Most Holy Savior just returned from Cuba, where she met Castro to discuss the opening of the ecumenical center.

The center, which will be directed by the Bridgettine Sisters, was specifically requested by the Communist leader, Mother Tekla Famiglietti, the abbess, told Vatican Radio.

The building will house eight religious and also serve as a hospitality center.

«It is a gift that Fidel Castro himself has wished to make to the Order, to commemorate John Paul II´s visit to Cuba,» the abbess said. «We have signed agreements and the works of restructuring will begin as soon as possible, because the Comandante himself has so requested.»

Following a long conversation, the abbess said Castro asked her: «Mother, how many months will the works take?»

«Eleven months,» she replied.

«Oh, no, we must do it before. The works must be completed, at the latest, in five months,» Castro retorted.

«I want this center to be finished has soon as possible, so that here, in Havana, we will have another religious community with the charism of ecumenical work, because many different religions are present here,» he concluded.

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