Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Memories: Rome

I'm going to have to post my few pictures when I get back from Mundelein; I didn't put them in the computer yet. So check back!
Anyway, the day after our failed attempt at seeing the Pope, we had big plans (again). We had arranged to meet Sr. Bernadette, but that became the first adventure of the day. I had left early to go pray (at San Bernardo alle Terme--a round church built over a pagan temple, I believe, at the Baths of Diocletian). Suddenly, I remembered that I hadn't brought the camera (one of the main points of my trip being to get useful footage for my project). Praying that I wouldn't compromise the gathering spot from the very start, I slipped out of church and ran right into Sr. Bernadette! I told her to wait there for the others while I got the camera from the hotel. Little did I realize that the others would be unable to find the Church, which I had described as "across from Santa Susanna and diagonally from O. L. of the Rosary where the Bernini Teresa of Avila is." A small building blocked their view of the little round Church, and they went off toward Piazza Republica and an octagonal former-church-turned-museum. But in the end they found San Bernardo, Sr. Bernadette and (eventually) me. 
First off, we had to find a nice statue of St. Joseph for Barbara's mom. So off we went to the Sisters of the Divine Master (a sister-institute of the Daughters of St. Paul, founded by Bl. Alberione in 1924). The sisters' special area of apostolate is liturgy. They create vestments, tabernacles and chalices, etc. They also run a fine religious shop near St. Mary Major. So we walked to the Basilica and visited Mary, "Salus Populi Romano" and then on to the sisters. We followed that up with a pleasant lunch at a nearby restaurant (on via Cavour, I believe), and then decided that we couldn't leave Rome without going into the Colosseum. So off we went (on foot, of course--it became a bit of a joke that things were "within walking distance," but the Colosseum really was).
Milling around the great arches, we were approached by a young woman who invited us to join an English-language presentation (ticket to Colosseum--with expedited entrace--included; apart from the group, there was a 45-minute wait which you may as well spend listening to the guide). The price was reasonable, and we joined the crowd gathered around a guide with a pretty difficult Italian accent. Still, it was an interesting presentation. (Licensed guides have the equivalent, pretty much, of a Master's Degree in history and have to pass a certification test.) The guide seemed more concerned about the animals that suffered in the vicious games held in the stadium than in the fate of such members of society as gladiators (slaves) and Christians. But it was a good way to spend the wait, and we did get to march straight in when the tour was over. Unfortunately, that did in our plans to visit the room of St. Philip Neri, just one mile away as the crow flies, on the only day of the year that his room is open to the public (his feast day). We had arranged to meet my Jesuit webmaster friend at the Gesu, and then go to dinner. Karen already wrote about how tired we were, meeting Tom only long enough to arrange to meet him later for a meal in Trastevere.
We didn't expect to have so much trouble finding a taxi. And we weren't thinking that Trastevere is a really popular place to get an evening meal. By the time we got into that part of the city, all the places we tried were full. We had planned on a spectacular meal, and now were traipsing through cobblestoned streets, ready to settle anywhere that had four empty chairs (Sr. Bernadette had left us for another appointment). Providentially "il Canonico" (the Rectory) had room inside, and a large antipasto buffet. It wasn't spectacular, but it was definitely enjoyable.
Anyway, wait 'til you see some of my Colosseum pictures!

No comments: