Bernardo Provenzano

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Curiously, many of the notes from Provenzano that police have intercepted sign off with religious blessings, such as one that concluded "May the Lord bless and protect you. " Coincidentally, according to mob godmother-turned-informant Giuseppina Vitale, Provenzano then appeared at a 1992 Cosa Nostra summit meeting dressed in the purple robes of a Catholic bishop. Religious behaviour and language progressively became the prominent features of Provenzano's figure. For example, Provenzano systematically underlined verses from the Bible and took notes of relevant passages to be threaded in his pizzini through otherwise routine instructions regarding daily business matters. He also recurrently thanked 'Our Lord Jesus Christ', and referred to 'The Divine Providence' and 'Our beloved Lord', expressing the hope that 'He might help us to do the right things'. In particular, the expression Con il volere di Dio (With God's will), to date has been counted 43 times, and it often appears more than once in the same piece of communication. Religion would therefore play a pivotal role in the way Provenzano established his leadership, succeeded in mediating between different mafia 'families' by creating a less centralised, more reticular structure, and eventually prevented the decline of the organisation.