Roman Churches: March 2007 Archives

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This is the view from the window directly across from my cell. Looking west across the terrace and gardens of Santa Croce, I can see the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in the morning light. I shall never grow accustomed to seeing such sights. In Jam, Christe, Sol Iustitiae, the hymn at Lauds during Lent, we sing:

O Christ, Thou Sun of Justice, come,
Pierce with Thy rays our mental gloom;
With virtue light our souls once more,
And unto earth Thy day restore.

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The Monastery of Tor De' Specchi of the Benedictine Oblates of Saint Francesca Romana is open to the public but one day a year on March 9th, the feast of this most Roman of saints. Together with Sister Barbara Matazzaro, Paul Zalonski, and I made our pilgrimage there this morning. The sun was shining brightly and the day was glorious.

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The inner cloister was bathed in light. The lemon trees looked like something out of a medieval illuminated manuscript.

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We made our way through the monastery, stopping to admire the famous frescoes that depict the life of Saint Francesca Romana. In the chapel with its magnificent choir stalls, Holy Mass was being celebrated.

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This is one of twenty–seven frescoes depicting the life, miracles and visions of Saint Francesca Romana. This image depicts a miracle performed by Saint Francesca. A man named Gianni called for her help when surgeons decided to amputate one of his legs due to a serious infection. She applied ointment to the leg and it suddenly healed. In the left section of the composition, Santa Francesca gestures toward Gianni who lies in bed with his leg exposed; his bandages are below the bed. At the right of the composition, Gianni kneels to the Saint outside the doors of her convent.

The Ointment of Saint Francesca Romana is still made at the monastery; it is blessed as a sacramental for spiritual and physical healing. We were each able to obtain a little container of the blessed ointment and a small bottle of Acqua di Santa Francesca Romana as well.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory

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