Praised be Jesus Christ! Today kicked off the first formal day of our summer study session. Father John Cush, our presenter for the 25th and 26th, began his first conference by noting that the principal way Rome teaches us is by bringing us out of ourselves. Tis true. In Rome, we are in the heart of the Church, at the heart of an international Church which is composed of people from different cultures, different religious communities, dioceses, etc. We step beyond the borders of what we know and how we do things and turn outwards, growing in knowledge of each other and the world around us. It’s hard to explain but when you’re here, you do experience this.

Some highlights…

The Jesuits reside next to the Gesu. They gave us the immense privilege of allowing us to attend Mass in the very room in which St. Ignatius died – his room which is now converted into a Chapel. I took some photos and will try to share it with you. Imagine….to be in places where the saints walked before us?! Amazing. A point of interest – I don’t know if you know this, but St. Ignatius was very short. Maybe 5 feet tall? Something like this. This was surprising to learn as the caliber of his person unconsciously in my mind made him a giant. He was one figuratively but not literally. They have a mask of his “death face” which I believe was the mold put on his face after his death. To see the only pair of sandals that he owned and wore, to see his vest, some of his books and to see a document with his actual handwriting. Amazing. I need to find another word – as lately the word “amazing” seems to pepper a lot of my writing and thinking.

He had beautiful penmanship by the way! J Truly beautiful penmanship.

After seeing these relics, we then made our way into the Gesu. For those who’ve not been inside the Gesu, you may want to go on-line and take a visual tour that way – though I imagine the pictures probably won’t do it justice. The Churches here are so spectacular, each one delicately ornate and with its own unique beauty and story, it’s hard to keep up with it all. The Gesu has the blessing of having a hand of St. Francis Xavier and the original painting of the Sacred Heart as well as St. Ignatius remains. Talk about a loaded Church!

Father said today that those who come to Rome cannot help but leave Rome a different person then when they first arrived. Transformed with a deeper love for the good Lord and His Church. Know that I am praying that the fruit of all the blessings from this trip will flow outwards upon my community as well and upon you, our family and friends. God bless you! Sister Mary Scholastica, O.C.D.