Mary and I in Rome

     Mary and I went into Rome for an afternoon.  Special time!

We first descended upon the Piazza Navona–what a gorgeous place!

Sue says it is “the living room of Rome,” that is, where people go to lounge around after lunch and after dinner.

 Surely, it does have a beautiful but informal quality to it.

Years a go I took  philosophy classes in a school just a block away from the Piazza Navona so was there most days–I LOVE it! Mary and I had gelato there.

     We wandered up to the Pantheon–so much more magnificent than I remembered.

The dome is truly shocking, how huge it is versus the rest of the space.

A building whose entire ceiling is a dome–takes you by surprise!

     Then we walked through the streets, found a pizzeria, and then went to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, perhaps my favorite church in Rome.  It is breathtaking.  The ceiling is blue, but it shimmers, and looks like the sky.  St. Catherine is buried there at the main altar, and Fra Angelico is buried right next to the main altar.  These are Christians that speak volumes to me–St. Catherine for being the little, uneducated girl who righted the wrongs of the pope, and Fra Angelico for being a blessed for using his artistic talent for the glory of God.  I love the celebration of God’s people who give their ALL to God.
     We stopped in a few more churches, a few more shops, and ended our trip at the Piazza di Spagna.
     What I loved most about the time with Mary was that, although it is customary for me to buy a child a little something on our “special time” outings, we did not buy one thing.  She was so grateful to be getting the best that I had to offer, showing her things of such faith and beauty, that those things satisfied her.  When she was young, I realized she had come out of the womb, hard-wired for tangible, beautiful things–I thought, “Uh-Oh!!!!!”  I knew it would be a long, hard row, curbing her desire to possess beautiful things, curbing a tendency to all SORTS of vices that go along with that!  But there we were, surrounded by the most fabulous shops in the world, and she and I had long times, kneeling in churches, talking about who we were praying for, how we desire God’s blessings in our lives, in the world, and in the lives of our loved ones.  It was such a “graduation day” of sorts for me, because this was how Mary TRULY wanted to spend the day!
     One shop we went into was a purfumerie.  Mary sampled half a dozen–the lady in the shop sprayed the perfumes onto little strips of thick paper.
     When Mary returned to the campus, she handed out the perfume sample papers as though they were great prizes, and all the girls swooned over the different scents.  Clare was given the great honor of keeping one, as something to bring with her next time we go to the nursing home to offset the smells.  
     Mary is a special, special girl–she shocks me, the person she is becoming.  Full of grace, full of charm, yet used in such a modest, conservative, disciplined way.  God bless this child!