Monday, July 7, 2014

St. Catherine of Siena and a great surprise in Rome

Catherine of Siena is a favorite saint of mine.  She was born and lived in Siena, Italy but died in Rome in 1380, only thirty-three years old.  She was in Rome at the request of Pope Urban VI who wanted her advice on unifying the Church.  When she died her body was entombed in Rome.  Her head, however, is in Siena.
In planning our trip to Italy, I had originally hoped to go to Siena, not that I really wanted to see her head, because you can if you like that sort of thing, but I wanted to see where she lived, the Church dedicated to her and get to know more about her.  For various reasons I couldn't work it out from home and so decided that if God wanted us to go to Siena, it would happen and if not, so be it.
I never once thought to find out where Catherine was in Rome.  Not once.  I have no idea why I didn't but I didn't.  In Rome, she was the last saint on my mind as we walked the streets searching for the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.
Most churches in Rome have very unassuming exteriors, often you can't even find the name of the church.  We had left the Pantheon and where aiming towards St. Igantius Loyola, clutching our map and trying to find a street sign.  We see a church with an elephant outside of it and John suggests we go in to see what's inside.  I'm a bit reluctant because my other saint is on my mind, but we were right there so in we went. It is beautiful the Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva (St. Mary over Minerva, built over a temple of Minerva, goddess of wisdom) I look at the map of the interior of the Church (Italian version) and see Main Altar:  St. Catherine of Siena.  I check the English version and sure enough, I read it correctly.  I am speechless. John tries to get me to look at the side altars and art but I am off to the main altar.  I shed tears (and that is so not me) as I saw her tomb.
So beautiful.  I knelt and prayed and felt such peace.  I thanked God for leading us to her.  It was a gift. 

This prayer was on a prayer card in the Church:

O God, who adorned blessed Catherine with the particular privilege of virginity and of patience and who permitted her to triumph over the assaults of evil spirits and to remain steadfast in the love of your name, grant, we implore you, that we, in imitation of her, the corruption of the world scorned and the dangers of all our enemies conquered, may attain your glory with certainty.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Papal Audience

On June 11 my husband and I were in Rome and had the the awesome privilege of attending the Papal Audience that morning.  And there is a story.  Of course there is a story. And it begins the day before when we arrived in Rome.  Our letter for the tickets gave us directions to the North American College where we were to pick up said tickets.  After much effort to find the college, we had the tickets in hand and a young sister from South Bend, Indiana gave us all the particulars for the event.
Our hotel was a ten minute walk to the gates of St. Peter Square and we set off at 6:15 a.m. or so to arrive early to get good seats.  You see, a ticket gets you in but it is not a reserved seat.  And I wanted good seats.
Alas, we misunderstood the directions and it took us an hour to get where we needed to go.  We considered it our morning cardio.
We waited with all the other throngs of people, went through security, and found pretty good seats near an aisle.  At this point no one had asked to see our tickets.  Se we are sitting, waiting and it is hot.  As in Rome was having a heat wave hot, 90 degrees hot and the sun is shining ever so brightly and people fan themselves with whatever they have handy.  In this case, tickets; cream colored tickets all around me.  Wait, why are we the only ones who have red tickets?  John says maybe those are tickets from America.  Possible, but no there's a group of college students from PA waving cream colored tickets.
I get up, show a Swiss Guard my tickets and he says, "go up there", pointing to the top of the steps.  I get my husband and we go up the steps after showing our tickets to security.

It was an experience I will not forget.  Seeing Pope Francis ride through the square, waving, kissing babies, hearing the crowd cry out "Papa Francesco" and then listening to him speak was a blessing.

After he speaks in Italian, different priests from various language groups give a brief summary of what he said.  Then we received his blessing and this blessing was not only for us but for our families and loved ones and in a special way for the young, old and ill.
Here is his talk that day or you can watch a video:

While I didn't get to meet Pope Francis it was still an emotional, exciting time.  My only regret was not realizing what the red tickets meant from the beginning.  Next time!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lawn Chair Catechism; session #2

Today we link up with Catholic Mom to discuss Chapter 2:  Assembly Line Construction:  Human Desire, Revelation, and Faith.

First let me say my attention is not the best right now.  I have too much swirling around me and in my head.  But I read the chapter!  And love it!  Favorite quote:  "The saints were not people who were spiritually proactive.  Rather, they were people who were highly responsive to God's invitation."  Wow.  Not being spiritually proactive is a recurring message in this chapter and one that is difficult and comforting for me at the same time.  I like being proactive, forging ahead, planning and all that sort of thing.  But God wants to reveal himself to us and enter into a relationship with us.  Not the other way around.  It means I need to have patience and wait.  Which is not what I want to do today.

Looking at today's questions, I realize that my life is somewhat of an open book.  And while I struggle often to say "they will be done" , my desire is to say it always.

Friday, May 30, 2014

7 Quick Takes about eyes, cars and what I'm praying and thinking about

1.  Last Friday I had an eye doctor appointment to check on a partial tear/hole in my macular.  Sounds serious, it's not.  At least mine isn't.  My appointment was longer than usual and my eyes were dilated longer than usual and it all gave me a huge headache.  I'm not sure it was the eye dilation or the technician who kept speaking in French when she said things like "look straight ahead" and "stay still" while doing my exam.  And then she kept dabbing the drops running down my face instead of handing me the tissue, like she was my mother!  So very odd.  Actually, my mom would not do that, unless for some reason I did not have the use of my arms!

2.My car is still not repaired.  It is being worked on and should be done in a few weeks.  I've had the rental car so long it needed an oil change so I took it to the car rental place and they took care of it.  They said I could keep the car or get a new one.  I kept the car.  But then I started to think, what if we could do that all the time, car needs an oil change, trade it for a new one; needs gas, get one with a full tank; dirty, go pick up a clean one.  You know, like the library, we could have a big lot where you just borrow cars, exchanging them like we do library books, only cars.

3.  I am an extrovert.  Why am I telling you this?  because in the summer work is very, very quiet.  Weeks can go by without a phone call or email, let alone an actual person coming to my office.  I think that's why I like social media so much.  I can be social with folks all over the place.  But you know what, I still miss being with people.

4.  Quote I really love and that has given me much to ponder:
I made this using Canva

5.  Today is the first day of the Pentecost Novena. Go to Pray more Novenas to get it delivered to you each day!

6.  St. Ignatius is one of my favorite saints.  The Prayer for Generosity is beautiful (no matter who wrote it) and dotMagis, the blog of Ignatian Spiritualy did a reflection on each line, take a look at it!  
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

7.  Next week is the last week of school.  I need to get started on my husband do list for summer.  Who am I kidding, I can just give him last year's!  

More fun Quick takes at Conversion Diary!