Praised be Jesus Christ! Greetings from your Roman correspondent!
Let’s begin with the mundane: the birds, bugs, driving and people. It’s quite different here in Italy. The birds are louder (pigeons dive bombing sea gulls makes for quite a concert), mosquito bites don’t itch (though it makes me wonder what bit me) and I have yet to differentiate between angry versus loud conversations among the people.
Roman driving needs an entire section for itself. All the way home from the airport, I had to keep pushing my jaw back up. Back in the United States, we have lines that differentiate one side of the street from the other which also clearly separates the direction of the driving. We have traffic lights that indicate whether you go or stop and in many cases pedestrians have the right of way. Well, in Italy, let’s just say from my brief observations that if you are a passive driver, you ought not to drive. You’d have a wrecked car within the week. On a two lane street, there are usually three lanes of cars and motorcyclists driving in between the cars any which way. Their driving skills are amazing. If you are walking across the street on a green light, you better run fast and look out or you’ll be run over. From the airport to the Domus (where I am staying), my driver got in a mini-accident, though he braked in time for it to be minimal, and I still can’t tell who was in the wrong as both drivers seemed to be driving erratically and both seemed to be vocal about indicating it wasn’t their fault. Amazing. That’s all I can say. It’s safest on a bus as the bus is so big, they definitely have the right of way. 🙂
Today is June 21st. The feast day of St. Aloysius Gonzaga (the feast day of our Foundress) and what a lovely day it was! It began in the best way possible. Our two sisters who live and work here in Rome made it possible for me to attend with them the private Mass of Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State for the Vatican. I don’t understand a word of Italian but even with this, the homily seemed beautiful! From there, one of our sisters obtained permission to give me a tour of the Apostolic Palace. I can’t quite explain what it’s like. Rome is quite something in and of itself, but when you are inside Vatican City, you get an even stronger sense of being in the heart of the Church. We walked through the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s and then made our way to the Angelicum where we were tasked to take some photos for a project we are working on. On the way home, we got off the bus before our actual stop and walked through a couple of churches, the highlight being the Jesu. There is so much beauty everywhere that one needs to step back and just sit with it to more deeply appreciate what the senses are so quickly taking in. The Churches here are breathtaking!
This is more a step by step accounting of the day and I do realize I devoted an entire paragraph to Roman driving. J I do promise in the future, God-willing, to give you better explanations of the day so that you can have a taste of what I’m seeing. God-willing, I do hope to keep you posted pretty regularly. Blessings to you and know that prayers are coming your way from the Eternal City! Signing off…
Sister Mary Scholastica, O.C.D