When I first got into the Vatican neighborhood, I had some errands to run. Picked up a bag of 100 miraculous medals for Pope Francis to bless when he (and I) return to the city in September, plus two simple reliquaries (one for the relic of the Founder, which I have had in a plastic case for ten years now), and the other for the relic of Blessed Francis Seelos, the Redemptorist priest so beloved of New Orleans (Dad had gotten it from the doctor who was involved in the canonization process; Mom carried it everywhere in a dilapidated Jiffy bag so she could bless people in need, and I got it after Mom had been blessed with it daily for three weeks). Errands accomplished, I went my way, camera in hand:
Around noon, I set my sights on St. Mary Major. I wanted to take advantage of the fact that my bus ticket would be valid for another 19 minutes, and figured my best bet was to aim for a basilica I knew would be open during the Roman nap time, and that was still in walking distance from St Peter's (or at least from the bus stop). As I debated whether to wait for a bus or take the Metro (a few more blocks away), I heard an American voice: "Hey, are you a Daughter of St. Paul?!" A group of young men from New Mexico (whom I presumed to be seminarians) was boarding the bus; one jumped back off to have his picture taken with me. He turned out to be a big fan of Sister Helena and of the "spoken word priest," Father Pontifex.
At St Mary Major, I started off in the Adoration chapel, a real sanctuary in the Basilica (off limits to tourists). Only after some time with Jesus in that quiet spot did I sport the camera and eager gaze of a tourist myself.
|Salus Populi Romano|
|The great apse (taken with just the (little) available light.|
With all the art on the apse and walls, you don't want to miss the floors!
The baptismal font has its own ornate grate.
I love this shot! It is as if the person carved into the door is peering longingly into the great church.
The grandiose tabernacle is in a chapel of its own, behind a grate with a
grapevine motif. Click around to see more details.
I also stopped at the Forum (with a stop at the closed-for-riposo Mamartine Prison): click inside the image for a different view of Rome:
Tomorrow our work in the General Chapter begins, and that means no more sightseeing (or blogging) for a while. Please keep us in your prayers!