It would not be an exaggeration to say that it’s nigh on impossible to walk more than 200m in Roma without being exposed to religion one way or another. Calendars, post cards and fridge magnets of Pappa Francesco are so plentiful one participant of the photography workshop was heard saying when looking at one such calendar “is the Pope coming to visit?” Another was particularly taken with the calendar featuring handsome young priests. Not quite the caliber of the fireman calendars we might be used to – these gorgeous young men had on much more than just their dog collars, even if it was a ‘dress’.
Paraphernalia aside, just about every corner or piazza seems to have a church/cathedral/whatever you want to call them. Some open, some not. The grand daddy of all the churches is of course St Peter’s Basillica. It really does look quite impressive as you walk up the road. Leading lines of the road and bollards pull you towards the duomo. All along the wide avenue there are a hot porch of churches, gelato shops and more calendar shops. To get into St Peter’s square you have to pass a security check including X-ray of bags. Catholic or not, the Basilica is magnificent. It’s HUGE, it’s ornate and impressive.
I was fortunate enough to be there on some special day where groups were coming in carrying a simple cross and then singing some type of praises. Bingo for me – first group = nuns.
Other sites of worship may be smaller but somehow they have more of a heart. Unlike Spanish churches which I found creepy, these churches were stunning in different ways
The buildings may be nice and inspirational but in truth a church without people is just a pretty building. The congregation needs nothing said about it but those who have devoted their lives to religion are a it more interesting. Put in the streets of Rome the priests aren’t that visible but you do see them, albeit too quickly.
I think I have to choose my order on the clothing. The short habits just don’t compare. But in truth I think maroon and saffron is my colour of choice so I’m not going to run off and join one of these orders no matter how enticing that black whimple with the leather odornments or the nice following robes in the last image. The rosary are impressive but again rosary versus a nice mala … close.
So nuns, nuns everywhere. I somehow find their presence quite centering. All jokes aside I have a great admiration for people who are able to turn their backs on the mundane world in search of something else. This does make for interesting discussions in our household! Maybe one day, maybe …. I shall miss the daily exposure to monastics. They were a constant reminder of other things. Ani Fran (a nun of the Himialayan Buddhist type) once told me “There is more to life than taking photos” in her truely German way. Nuns, nuns everywhere were timely reminders of her words.