Well, we saw a ton today! I have pictures from my morning adventure but not from the afternoon, for those you can visit the Rome Experience blog.
The Morning – Casa Santa Maria
Once Dr. Liz Lev was off and running with her class I departed for the Casa Santa Maria, the house in Rome for priests in graduate studies. A happy religious sister greeted me at the door and took me to see Elizabetta who coordinates the doings of the house. Now, by house I mean old palazzo of one of the minor noble families. It had four levels, with the chapel, refectory, library, offices on the first floor and rooms for the men on the other floors. I was taken to Elizsabetta’s office and, after some Italian shuffling of papers and looking very confused, the proper paper is found and the key to room #320 was found.
She summoned one of the cleaning ladies, who was entirely pleasant, and took me up to my new room
It was small to be sure and I will have to rearrange the furniture, but it is home. I have only one window and it looks out to the Biblicum, but it faces north and does not get direct sun (which is nice because of the heat) but always has some light. I was grateful for the smallness of the room and while a bit distraught at first but think I have found a way to arrange things in a decent way.
I went up to the storage area to get some of the things Fr. Tait Schroeder left for me. Chief among those was the air-conditioning unit which will make life much more pleasant. I clearly got one of the smallest and least desirable rooms, but I hope that I will have a large enough heart to set good example and remain in this small room.
However, I was shocked at the poor quality of things. Much of the furniture was broken. The sink was dirty and did not work well. The hallways are poorly painted, cracked and crumbling. The bathrooms were terribly kept – they clearly do not have enough staff. The first floor (where all the public offices are) were very nice but I was surprised at the poor quality of the places where the Bishops of the United States ask their priests, who are to give years away from family and friends, to live and give themselves to study. I don’t care about large or fancy, I don’t want the big room or best location, but dirty and falling apart was surprising.
Sorry to complain, because there are some very nice places. There two rooms ones the first floor that have been turned into Latin-rite chapels and one Byzantine chapel. Neither are fancy but both are are clean and very nice. Then one comes to the library.
It is nicely decorated and seems to have a large collection. I was rather spoiled by the library at Mundelein Seminary so it is not quite what I am used to, but looks nice. There was also a terribly decorated but very roomy study room next door.
Then I walked down the hall and found the refectory (an ecclesiastical word for dining room.)
As you can see it is wonderful. The room is well laid-out, nicely painted and was very clean and ordered with a great picture of Pope Pius IX at the back of the room.
The best is the chapel:
As you can see, it is a baroque gem, absolutely beautiful with a great tabernacle, lovely side chapels, an image of Our Lady of Humility above the altar and statues of some of the virgin martyrs above the doors. Speaking of, look who I found:
What happiness to know that every time I walk out of the chapel I can take a little strength from St. Agnes!
By this time the need was to get back to CIAM, so I thanked Elisabetta for her work and had a pleasant ride back to CIAM. It was surprisingly nice since the heat was up, namely the humidity was way up!
The Afternoon – Baroque beauty
So, as mentioned above, I don’t have pictures so a brief run-through:
First was the beauty of the fountains in the Piazza Navona by Bernini which are an homage to the ancient world, a return to the glories of the baroque and a clear symbol of the triumph of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
This probably blog heresy, but I just finished with a couple of Skype calls and am off to bed because I am tired. Perhaps more tomorrow.