Levi and I are simultaneously submitting blog entries.
We arrived in Rome yesterday to be greeted by ugly weather. After getting settled in Alice's apartment I found a nearby internet café. To my luck I found an email from Br. Benoit, who is a Benedictine from Saint Vincent that is currently studying in Rome. Benoit gave me the name of the monestary and told me to stop by and ask for him. I googled San Anselm and found that it was minutes away on foot. I called Benoit's cell phone via Skype and told him I would be there in half an hour.
I walked across the Tiber River and cought a glimpse of the gorgeous monestary up on the hill. I requested Benoit at the porter and minutes later I was greeted by the friendly monk. Benoit was excited as I was to talk about Rome, my trip, and Saint Vincent. Almost immediately he took me to the top of the tower that overlooked all of Rome. We could see Saint Peters Baslica, the Pantheon, and the Coluseum.
San Anselm is the Benedictine monastery in Rome that is the home for any Benedictine that is studying in Rome. The congregation is compiled of 120 monks from 40 different countries. I joined them for vespers in the chapel at 7:15, where I found myself lost in the psalms in Latin. I saw a monk that I recognized from Saint Vincent and pointed him out to Br. Benoit. The familiar monk was Fr. Mauris who just arrived in Rome a couple of days ago and is studying Latin Litergy for the next two months. Following vespers I joined both Benoit and Mauris for a delicious dinner.
While eating dinner the Benedictine hospitality that I am so familiar with immediately surfaced. Mauris offered to go with us Wednesday morning to see a handful of the churches in Rome. Benoit invited Levi, Alice, Alice's roommate Sarah, and myself to lunch at San Anselm on Wednesday afternoon. Even across the Atlantic I feel like I am back at Saint Vincent.
This morning the four of us got up at 6:15 to get an early start at the Vatican. We got there early enough to beat the lines for Saint Peter's Basilica. Although we had to battle some crazy nuns to get through security, we made it through fairly quickly. When we walked in the door any expectation that I had previously had was wiped away. It truly blew my mind. Everything about it was incredible. The statues, the art, the size, the brillance, EVERYTHING. To our luck, there was a mass in service whenever we were there. With a handful of bishops or archbishops around the altar, we experienced the Saint Peter's Basilica to the fullest.
When we left the Saint Peter's we departed for the Vatican Museum where we apparently did not beat the line. The line extended for blocks around the Vatican wall. After 2 hours and 8€ we were wandering through the home of the Sistene Chapel. We went through a number of fantastic exhibits, but the prize was truly at the end. When we stepped into the Sistene Chapel everything that was previously saw could be compared to a coloring book. Michelangelo's masterpiece is truly a MASTERPIECE! Both the front fresco and the ceiling are beyond belief.
Tomorrow we're going to explore the ruins, the colluseum, the pantheon, and the other landmarks in the hustling and bustling Rome. When in Rome...
I cannot wait to be on the beach in Barcelona!