The Abbey of Montecassino was not affected by the Second World War for most of its duration. The civilians who lived in its shadow saw the Monastery as a beacon of light in such desperately dark times. In 1944, when the Allied victims rose to 55,000, the Abbey was sacrificed: it was reduced to rubble by American bombing. The Germans unexpectedly found refuge in its ruins. All those who witnessed the destruction had lost hope, like the light from the lighthouse had been turned off. Every day it became a struggle to survive, until the moment Canada offered the people hope for a new beginning.