Monday, November 21, 2011

Flurry of Feast Days


The end of November is a wild run of Church feasts and celebrations.

16th ~ St. Gertrude the Great
17th ~ St. Elizabeth of Hungary
18th ~ Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter and Paul
19th ~ St. Mechtilde
20th ~ Feast of Christ the King
21st ~ Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
22nd ~ St. Cecilia

Whew...Every day my class has been started with a reminder of the feast or memorial, a story of how the feast came to be, or a memory of how my Family or Benedictine Sisters celebrate the day. Tomorrow, I will tell about standing on St. Cecilia's tile floor. During my 2010 summer of Benedictine study in Rome, we spent an afternoon at Sancta Cecilia with one of the Benedictine Nuns as a guide. She took us below the basilica (and its famous leaning bell tower) to the what is believed to be Cecilia's 3rd century home. We silently followed this British-Italian sister of ours listen to her tell the the martyr's tale.
Suddenly, I just stopped.

I looked down and realized that I was standing on the tile floor from somewhere in the 200's. I was standing on a floor on which some of the earliest Christians had walked. Realizing that I was obstructing the flow of tourists, my roughly clad pilgrim feet stepped to the side and I meditated in wonder at a simple tile floor. (I checked my journal and) My main thought from that moment was "how can I see every tile floor as the ground of saints and martyrs?" A desire to keep that moment of reflection alive sprung up in my heart and I snapped a quick photo of my toes on that ancient tile.

Continuing down the hallway, I discovered my Sister Pilgrims in the chapel. Originally, it had been a humble house chapel, but somewhere along the line it had been done in jeweled tile. Above the altar Sancta Caecilia is pictured in the glory of a gold field, hands raised in prayer to God. Another image of Cecilia (above) was in a niche; there she was flanked by the two men she had brought to conversion, her husband and his brother, and the form of her martyrdom, the sword, at her feet. This glory filled chapel was an amazing reminder of her faith in, hope for, and love of God. Here we Sister Pilgrims had time to pray for her intercession
and inspiration. It was an amazing experience.


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