Monte Cassino was amazing on our tour day! The weather was cool and clear with a wonderful breeze, and the clouds hung just a little around the tops of the mountains as we drove up the switchbacks to reach the summit and monastery. Gorgeous! The tour of all the little places was very nice and the crypt of Benedict and Scholastica was very impressive, but I had a favorite spot in the church and I skipped the museum to return to it. The four corners of the dome illustrated what the artist (and monks) considered to be the four vows at the time...obedience with the listening ear (I bought one for you Kathy!), poverty looking to the cross and pouring away all her wealth, chastity a glowing angel with open arms, and stability with a mountain behind and an anchor in hand.
I loved, LOVED the angel illustrating the vow of poverty. I found the image to be filled with meaning for me. In fact, I looked to the fresco as an illustration of converstatio: looking away from all else to follow Christ. My deep sorrow is that the monks or Italian state only sell the obedience angel in the gift shoppe, so I took all I could with the little Kodak camera from Mom & Dad and prayed that another sister with her super camera (seriously it should have a cape) has a better shot that I can borrow.
Yesterday, I went with Kym our Auzzie director and a few others to the nun shops near the Pantheon. What is a nun shop you may ask...well, it sells modest sweaters in blue, black, gray and white. They also sell cotton slips and long bloomer pants : ) There were three shops in the area. The first had sweaters for 35 Euro, not bad considering they were made well of either cotton or wool. The next shop carried a similar line for 55 Euro; I paused as I looked in the mirror to ask her to write the price just to make sure I had it right. I took their card and moved to the third shop. By this time the other sisters had moved from shopping to visit Gesu church. Here I fell in love with the most gorgeous sweaters, slips, and skirts...73, 24, 70 Euro! I kid you not! My jaw dropped open and I asked for a card to write the prices. When the sales lady continued to look at me expectantly, I told her it was so expensive that I needed to check with my sisters : ) Then I quickly walked out.
I enjoyed walking about the Trestevere area by myself a bit. It is such a beautifully vibrant local neighborhood with families, business professionals, and nuns in all sorts of interesting outfits strolling the avenue. Apparently, they don't hurry too quickly unless the train is being announced. I found my way very easily back to the Tram and Train to reach the Casa...all in all...it was a wonderful shopping day in the sunshine of Rome.
We three are starting to get very excited to our trip up to Switzerland! We have continued to be in contact with both contact sisters as we near the end of our time here in Rome. Imagine, in just a few days, we will be trying to figure German prayer and we had finally gotten used to the music of the Italian! I will try to e-mail before we move on to Switzerland, but after we leave I don't believe I will be able to e-mail another note. Be assured, I'm keeping a journal to help me tell the tales when we return home!
"...ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus."
"...that in all things God may be glorified."
Rule of Benedict 57:9 (1Peter 4:11)