The Monastic Mirror


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Facebook | Your Videos: Sr. Aquanita's feastday [HQ]

Facebook | Your Videos: Sr. Aquanita's feastday [HQ]

Sister Aquinata's name day

It is Sister Aquinata's name day today and we gave her a little blessing, and card.  In addition we sang an African song of celebration.  You can see it on my profile on the Facebook page. 

I am so honored to be here to learn from a wise master the Rule of Benedict...

May God continue to bless you Sr. as you bless and enrich our lives. 
       Sister John Paul

Pictures from our trip....continued

The ambo sculpture was commissioned in the jubilee year 2000.  It is the angel of the resurrection.  This was inspired by Bernini.  At the left is Fr. Michael standing behind the ambo....can you imagine proclaiming the Word of God from this beautiful ambo?

This is the scavi that has recently been verified to be from the first or second century.  This area is venerated as the place of the birth of Saints' Benedict and Scholastica.  The early fresco depict the Annunciation and the Nativity.  

This is the Chapter Room and Chapel for the monks.  If you look closely you can see the excavation under the glass floor.
  Thanks for sharing this special place with me.
    Sister John Paul

Norcia continued

Norcia is one of the few cities of Umbria whose ancient city walls are still totally preserved.  One part is from the time of the Romans, another part from the Middle Ages, and a part was reconstructed around 1800. 

One of the two large Porta's to enter the city with the insignia of a lion.

Cities built these walls as a means of protection during addition, they built on top of the mountain.  The term fortified city takes on a new meaning.

The Piazza or the market place is on the same site as it was in the time of the Romans.  The statue of St. Benedict was placed in the square at the time of the 1400th anniversary (1880).  From this focal point, you can make your way down the streets of shops to the Catellina.  This is the site of an ancient Temple of Fortuna.  It was built in the 16th century as a fortress and a palace.  It now house the museum 

This statue of Saint Benedict is probably the most notable one for everyone.  It is one many postcards, in books and overseas the whole town.

The Church of St. Benedict.  Tradition says that here stood the house where Benedict and Scholastica were born.  To the right and left of the portal are statues of the Saints. 

The church and abbey were suppressed in 1810 and in 2000 a new community of Benedictine monks came to Norcia per the request of then Abbot Primate Marcel Rooney.  The founding prior Father Cassian is from St. Mienrad's Archabbey  and started out with three and now have 13.  The monks are currently trying to restore much of the fresco's, crypt and Basicalla that was largely left unattended for so many years. 

Must go to class so I will post some more pictures later...have a great day...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our trip to Norcia

This morning bright and early we all got on a bus in the rain to head for the land of Saints' Benedict and Scholastica.  The rain turned to snow......but then to sun shine.  It was a glorious day to view where our history all began.  The bus went out of Rome and traveled around two hours up and through mountains until about 3km from the city of Norcia, we arrived a a cemetery and old chapel and farm.  This spot is said to be the house that belonged to the parents of the two saints and is considered the cradle of Benedictine women monastics. 

This is Sister Jaya standing next to the statue of St. Scholastica in the house of her parents.

This is one of the many fresco's that were only discovered after a restoration project was started.  This project that was begun in 1977 found a cycle of fresco's of the Life of Benedict dating back from the 15th century.  Many panels of the cycle remain hidden under the plasters and arches, but some have been restored.   Unfortunately, the last earthquake has done tremendous damage to this old farm house and it will take nearly 200 million euro to restore it.  To many of us, this is the spot where monastic life started for women. 

Tomorrow, I will post about the actual town of Norcia, the church of S. Benedetto and show you the birthplace of Benedict and Scholastica.  Until then, God Bless.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

God is our Joy.....

Yesterday morning we awoke early and started our journey to Assisi, Italy.  We first boarded a train, then a bus to arrive a the "termini" to purchase tickets for the 2 hour trip to Assisi.  It was early but there was laughter and a sense of excitement.

We arrived in Assisi at around 1000am and then took another bus up the hill.  We then walk to the Benedictine Sisters Monastery of St. Joseph.  There we celebrated mass in their guest chapel.  After mass we were given a tour of there casa and met Abbes Jacinta who welcomed us.

 This is the view from their veranda off of their refectory.  It show all of Assisi that soon we would all explore.  What was most striking about all this was that we had experienced Benedictine hospitality in its finest...maps, pictures and love were extended to us pilgrims....for as St. Paul says today in the second reading....We are all one.  We are from 17 various countries and nationalities in this holy place....but we were united in the love of God.

We now proceeded to the Basilica of St. Francis.  Which was on the opposite side of the town.  We were fresh...but by night we would be tired.  As for now....we journey to the many places in Assisi.

This Basicilia was damaged severely by the earthquake when I was last here in 1999.  It was so nice to see all of it restored.  The day as you can see was perfect with blue skies and no rain.  It was a bit chilly but it was great weather to walk up and down the streets of Assisi.

This is statues in bronze of Sts' Clare and Francis outside the house where Francis was born.  On top of the small casa is built a chapel that if you did not know Italian you would miss.  We were once again blessed because a priest with two men was explaining the chapel.  He then proceeded to tell us in English that Francis's mother had a dream that Francis should be born as a cave.  we then proceeded to see both the original house, well, door and his birth cave.  We were all thankful for this opportunity that was provided for us.   On the side is some of the additional pictures for you to enjoy...the wooden door is the original door to St. Francis's casa

                                                                                 There is just so much to see in Assisi, the fresco's on walls as you walk the streets, the artwork that in the United States would be in a museum but here is available for all to see and enjoy.  The little nooks that as you round a corner have a tile with a mosaic picture of Mary, Joseph or one of the saints.
                                                                            We then went to visit the Basicila of St. Clare.  These are her relics that have been preserved.

I could write on this place all day but will post some pictures and let you enjoy a taste of Assisi.

When we returned, it was late but Sr. Pia met us at the door in her bed clothes to welcome us home...she was as happy and joyful as we were....we are blessed not just by the experience but by the people.

May you have a blessed day this day and everyday....for as St. Paul not be sad today...for God is our Joy..   Sr. John Paul