- Meher Baba

It was 1925, and single mother Caterina was moving with her two children to Rome, from her impoverished hamlet in the countryside. Having lost her husband during the Great War, she was well aware of life’s brutality. But she was determined to make a living, to provide a good home for her younglings.

It was time for a fresh start.

Finding humble accommodation on Via Veneto, Caterina began to look for work immediately. She was a gifted baker, and she inquired hopefully at every bakery, patisserie and café for a job.

As the weeks went by, her hope turned into desperation. No one was hiring, and she was burning through her meagre savings.

Feeling sorry for the young family, Caterina’s landlord, Piero, offered a solution. A former tenant who had also been a baker, had recently retired; leaving Piero’s premises vacant. Caterina could use the property if she shared her earnings with him.

She didn’t have to think twice. And after a few days of hard work, she had spruced up her little shop, ready for business.

“This is it,” she said to herself, as she started baking. Before long, her first batch of delicious bread was out of the oven. With pride, she tore one loaf open, emitting a puff of warm, sweet aroma into the air.

As Caterina kneaded more dough, she noticed a honey bee fly in through the window. It buzzed merrily before landing on the broken loaf.

“A sign,” thought Caterina. And it was.

The delightful scent of freshly baked goodies wafted down Via Veneto, mesmerising young and old alike. A line soon formed. Delighted customers walked out arms heavy with their treats – each passing by the little sign hanging over the bakery entrance.

“As the heart is, so is the house,” it read.

Caterina sold all her wares that day and the next. It wasn’t long before she was the most popular baker in all of Rome. Every tasty morsel she made held a special ingredient that none could match. Her gratitude. A heartfelt expression of thanks that made her bread all the sweeter.

And every day she baked, along came the honey bee to claim its share.

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