Thursday, August 15, 2013

Brushing up my Italian (and other things)

It's taking a few days to get my Italian brain on. I still want to say "hi" instead of "ciao" or "buon giorno," and automatically say "thanks" instead of "grazie." But there's more! I learned something new today. Not an Italian word, but an Italian custom. When they give you a cloth napkin at the dinner table, it is only meant to catch crumbs on your lap. Under no circumstances do you touch it to your lips, to wipe away that errant drop of spaghetti sauce, or to your fingers if a smidge of butter should get on them. Use the tiny paper napkins in the dispenser if you intend to make a mess.

This is where I learned that valuable lesson: at the Casa Divin Maestro (Divine Master Retreat House) in Arricia, just about a mile across Lake Albano from Castel Gandolfo, where Pope Francis celebrated Mass today (small consolation to the people of the village, who have to deal with the fact that the Pope is not spending the summer at this summer residence). You can see the Papal residence (and its observatory) on the left side of the image if you click on it. I wish I had a clearer shot for you, but I won't have a lot of free time once our retreat starts--tomorrow morning. (Didn't I just make my retreat in July? Yes, I did, but that was for me. This one is for the work of the Chapter, which is on behalf of every Daughter of St. Paul, and every person we are sent to (approximately 7.2 billion).)

Yes, retreat starts tomorrow so I must go offline, after just getting Internet access in my room! A room, interestingly enough, with door-sized windows that are the only source of ventilation, but which, being on the ground floor, can admit visitors much larger than the mosquitoes which are currently plaguing me. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about feeling safe enough to sleep.

You can follow the action on the website of the General Chapter, which will include photos, summaries of the talks and (I'm sure) other interesting things. Maybe you can even share some of the material through your Facebook or Twitter posts! Who knows: vocations could come from this very meeting!

Here we are after this morning's opening Mass in the chapel
of Blessed James Alberione's tomb. 

Thanks in advance for the prayers. Please include one of my former teachers in the convent, Sister Susan Helen Wallace (a prolific Pauline author), who is approaching the most important meeting of her life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It looks really nice there.

I tried learning Italian from a book called "Italian Made Simple" once. I didn't get very far though. I just know a few words here and there.