Wednesday, May 04, 2011

I Came, I Saw, I Prayed (Day Two in Rome)

First day found here.

St. Dominic is on the left....
One thing I forgot to add to the end of my last travelogue post: my one regret was that I wasn't able to receive eucharist at the Beatification mass, since it was being celebrated about a kilometer away. As I was heading back to Casa LaSalle, I saw a small church off the main street, decided to pop in and look, and voila! They were starting a late afternoon mass! Isn't God good? As I sat there, I noticed behind the altar a very large painting...looks familiar...hey, isn't that St. Dominic? Hey, isn't that priest concelebrating wearing the Dominican garb? Didn't the administrator who convinced me to go to Rome, a Dominican sister, initially try to set me up to stay with the Dominicans so I could venerate the tomb of St. Dominic--because she had never been able to. Well, the tomb of Dominic was not there, but I am glad I got to have a Dominican experience for her. So this photo at left is for you, Sr. Judy.

Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Monday, I was torn. There were at least five things I wanted to do in Rome, and about six hours to do them, including lunch. I had hoped I could get into St. Peter's Basilica speedy quick if I arrived at 7am (yes, midnight Minnesota time). Well, I arrived at 7:30am and there was a line way way way out the door. I really didn't want to spend the time in line that morning, so after sitting and marveling that the square was still absolutely hopping this early, and wondering why all these happy people were still all making me tear up, decided to go to one of the churches that was the easiest to travel to from there: the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, which is also a block from one of my favorite sculptures, the Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Bernini, housed in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. I really loved the Basilica. Michelangelo was the architect, and it was built on one half of the public baths of old. It is a massive, open structure, just impossible to capture on film. The altar area (pictured right) seemed quite cozy by comparison, and I had said I would pray for people's intentions at one point that seemed like the appropriate spot in Rome. This was it. Consider all intentions prayed.

Then I stumbled around until I found the Santa Maria della Vittoria. First: it's tiny! Second: it's baroque! I'm no art historian, but baroque has always seemed...well...more complicated and detailed than I usually like. Still, if you love nooks and crannies art everywhere, this little church had it. And, of course, it has this amazing sculpture, which depicts a mystical experience Teresa of
Avila records in her autobiography.

It almost seems odd that such a phenomenon of art is in the side chapel of a small little Church on a busy street, wide open, just walk in, no glass barrier--but wonderful in a "you never know what you will find" way as well. Besides, the everyday churchgoer deserves beautiful art as well, yes?

By the way, I once heard that if you are ever in a Church in Rome, remember to look up. I was sitting in a pew, and casually looked up

After this jaunt, it looked like it was going to rain, so I got back to the Vatican area and found someplace covered for lunch. Yes, I finally had pasta, and it was quite good, but I've had fresh pasta before so I wasn't exactly surprised by it either. The mass of Thanksgiving that was part of the beatification ceremonies was still going on (another three hour mass!), so I joined a bunch of pilgrims watching it on the big screen at Piazza Risorgimento (where I was the previous day, although it was not shoulder to shoulder crowded now--just very very crowded!). After that I just wandered around the nearby streets until it was nearly time for the blogger meeting, which I treat more seriously in this post.

(Left) Here is Kat of The Crescat, looking oh so cool and retro chic taking notes in a moleskin journal at the blogmeet. It was great to meet her.

(Right) And there I am with another Minnesota blogger, Susan Vigilante of Desperate Irish Housewife. Yes, Ironic and Desperate, hanging out. There is some existential joke in that statement.

And here is the venue. Very functional. Very easy to use. Very "Catholic Geekdom Unites." Wish I had known they were supplying plugs (my laptop ran out of battery 3/4 through).

So four hours later: we walk out. Or I do, I need to get back to Casa LaSalle to pack for an early flight the next day. But I see this on the way to my temporary home:

Ciao, Rome. It was a beautiful visit.

I'm giving final exams and grading hard and fast the next few days, so blogging will be light. Back soon!


Christine Falk Dalessio said...

Yes! " the everyday churchgoer deserves beautiful art'n
Thanks for bringing us all along on your trip (yay)!

Dcn Scott Dodge said...

Awesome. It's been fun to follow your quick trip.

Allen's Brain said...

Well, ya know what they say. If it ain't baroque, don't fix it.