Praised be Jesus Christ! I think we’re already moving out of Day 3 here in Roma!
Shall I give you another entire paragraph or two on Roman driving? I’m hoping that the sisters here aren’t getting tired of my ongoing commentary on the driving. It’s fascinating. Before I close the topic for now, two drivers did let me cross the street in a most gracious manner so there is hope after all! On a side note – the foot traffic in Rome makes the LA Airport look boring. 🙂
I’m not sure if I mentioned this but yours truly is blessed to be in Rome to attend a summer study session hosted by the CMSWR (Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious). The study days kick off tomorrow evening and in the meantime I have been trying to get a taste of Rome, acclimate to the time change, etc. (Another side note – in case you’re ever here and you’d like to know…Romans sleep between 3:30am-7am and between 1pm-3pm. At least this is what the sound level seems to indicate. But don’t quote me on this!)
Today began bright and early with a morning trip to the Vatican. Sister Marina, Sister Pauline Therese and I attended Mass at a beautiful Carmelite Church right next to St. Peter’s. For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you the name. A point of interest…I learned that within the vicinity of Rome there are 900 Churches! Tis true…there seems to be one on almost every other block. From there, we headed over to St. Peter’s and split. The two went off to work and I then had the morning to walk through St. Peter’s.
Amazing. To think that human hands built St. Peter’s! It has the touch of God in every corner, every ceiling, every statue. And to think that it was built when we did not have the luxury of electricity, etc. Goes to show you when there’s a will, there’s a way.
I had the privilege of praying by St. Pope John Paul II’s tomb for a length of time. Because it was so early in the am there was hardly anyone there and at one point, I was there by myself. It was a most moving experience. I only clued into Pope John Paul II when he was already pretty elderly but in my mind’s eye, I see him youthful, vibrant, energetic, strong. He epitomized gentle firmness. He was a father to so many of us and I imagine that he is now closer to us then he could ever physically have been in this life. I remembered you, my Sisters – by name, and the needs of each of our Carmels and our apostolates in prayer, and our friends and benefactors. Our Holy Father had the heart of a Carmelite so I figured we were his daughters in double whammy sort of way.
I spent a good chunk of the morning just walking through St. Peter’s and trying to soak it all in. At least some of it in. We are Catholic. And proud of it!
By the way, I should note that I have a personal mission to find the tomb of one of my heroes, Cardinal Raphael Merry del Val, and if I should find it, I’ll let you know. If you don’t know about him, I’d look him up. He is a GREAT friend to have!
From St. Peter’s I walked back to our residence (it’s about a 20 min. walk) and visited every Church along the way and went to the Jesu, where I believe the hand/arm of St. Francis Xavier is on display for veneration. Just noting it as a point of interest…there are so many Churches/tombs here, I can’t keep track of it all. It doesn’t help that everything is in Italian either. 🙂
One last interesting note before I sign off for the day, on the way from the Domus Guadalupe (that’s where we’re staying) to the bus stop, we pass by the ruins of what used to be some sort of Senate building. It is overcrowded with stray cats. I learned that the city continues to be kind to cats as when the city was facing ruin and the people starvation, they lived off the cats. Now to all cat lovers this is probably not what you want to be reading, but at least you can be comforted in knowing that was centuries ago and now the cats are “sort of” protected. At least they seem to me to be. So, now when I receive directions from Sister Marina and Sister Pauline Therese they tell me, “Go past the cats and turn left….or go past the cats and turn right.” Forget about the ancient ruins…it’s all about the cats!
Tomorrow I’ll try to end with a holier thought. 🙂
Blessed evening to you all and prayers! Sister Mary Scholastica, O.C.D.