Monday, March 31, 2008

Rome with Dee Mingey

Dee Mingey, my friend and colleague for nearly twenty years, has spent sixteen Easters in Rome with the Community of Sant' Egidio. This year when she came to Rome I was here too!

On the Monday after Easter we did a little exploring, including visits to a couple of my favorite churches. The Basilica of San Prassede is at the top of my list of old churches in Rome. It was built by St. Pascal I in the early 9th century and honors Saint Pressede, who sheltered persecuted Christians in the 1st Century. Twenty-three of these early believers we discovered and martyred before her eyes. Legend has it that she collected their blood with a sponge and placed this is a well where she herself was buried. The walls of the current church are decorated with frescoes from the 17th century, but the jewel of this basilica is the very small side chapel of Saint Zenone with some of the most beautiful mosaics I have ever seen. (This chapel also contains the pillar where Christ was scourged during his passion.)

Chiesa Dio Padre Misericordioso, the Jubilee Church by Richard Meier, is Number One on my list of modern churches. I think that even a person who does not care much for modern architecture would be inspired by this simple, light-filled church located in a working class neighborhood about 12 km from the center of Rome.

On Wednesday Dee accompanied me to school. I enjoyed having her see me in my new work environment, meeting my students and colleagues.

On Thursday Dee guided me around Trastevere and the parts of Rome that are home to the Community of Sant' Egidio. We spent time in the Church of Sant' Egidio reflecting on the icons and symbols that are important to the life and mission of the community.

Reproductions of this icon with the "Face of Jesus" can be found wherever the Community of Sant' Egidio gathers for prayer around the world

There is a restful garden behind the church that has some banana trees from Mozambique, given in thanksgiving for the community's role in bringing peace that country in the early 1990's, and a 100 year-old olive tree that was planted this year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the community.


Will said...

Christ is Risen Indeed!

Thanks Larry for sharing through Lent and beyond! And how wonderful to see Dee there and see a little of what she sees each year (it can't be 16 years). See you soon Dee! We went to Bank St Theatre off Abingdon Square a part of NYC I hadn't been to--made me think your NYC tours, Larry!

TheCrankyProfessor said...

I love Sta Prassede! I went to the Easter Vigil there in 2003, the previous time I taught for a semester in Rome! What a beautiful church.