Annie, Leigh and I took a trip to Florence! What A DELIGHT. We stayed at a nice hotel, had nice food, went to Mass at the Duomo, shopped in the Lorenzo mercato, and best of all, enjoyed Fra Angelico’s monastery, full of frescoes he painted.
Fra Angelico’s monastery was the main reason we went. I burst into tears when we walked into the monastery. Being there 20 years ago had been a life-changing experience for me. Seeing this monk having painted frescoes all over his monastery walls, including scenes from the life of Christ in all the cells, shaped me. It inspired me as to how to craft one’s daily life in a holy way; how to bring one’s faith into the ordinary aspects of one’s everyday environment. It was big for me that this famous painter turned saint (at least, blessed) was not primarily painting altarpieces for public churches (although he did that too). HIs best work (in my opinion) was for the private cells and corridors in which the monks resided.
That spoke volumes to me: give your best talent to your home, your private world and the people in it. If there is something left over, give it to the public.
My life since then has been shaped exactly according to that model. Giving my best spirituality, my best talent, the best my self has to offer to those in my private world–that is the choice I have made.
Being in Fra Angelico’s monastery 20 years later was emotional for me, inspiring for me, and gives me great support in the choices I had been making.
Oh, how I love the museo san marco!