Impressions of Italy: Assisi in Umbria

Over the weekend of September 29 – 30 this year I attended, along with two other members of our Sant’Ambrogio curia, the Fourth International Congress on Christian Mysticism. This event is one of bringing together scholars, and those less than scholars, like myself,...

Impressions of Rome: Signs on the Walls

While the appearance of the internet has undoubtedly changed many ways of doing things in Italy over the past thirty years, that is, since I finished my course of studies here in 1988, some things remain unchanged. One of them is the announcements of coming events...

Impression of Italy: San Giuseppe Moscati

On my visit to Napoli (Naples) earlier this year, I was taken to a shrine in a church near the historic center of town, honoring the memory of the Italian medical doctor and saint, Giuseppe (Joseph) Moscati, who lived from 1880 to 1927. Moscati was beatified by Pope,...

Impressions of Italy: Two Tuscan Hermitages

An important summer break for Italians happens in the middle of August, at the time of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15th each year. A few days before and some days after August 15th, things tend to come to a standstill in Italy....

Impressions of Rome: Dogs

Fair warning: dog lovers may not wish to read this essay. It is not all complimentary of “canis in speciebus,” the proper Latin name for “man’s best friend.” Some of what follows may offend those who believe that a dog can do no wrong or harm. Maybe not all dog owners...

Impressions of Italy: Soggiorno

I have refrained from writing about this until I had my very own. And what could the mystery item be? A car? A motorcycle? A new phone? No, nothing like that. It is in fact the title of this essay, a “Soggiorno.” And what on earth is that? I can explain. The Italian...

Impressions of Rome: Exercise

Anyone who knows me would not think of me as very athletic or a fan of sports and exercise. Some know I like to ride horses, and that is certainly exercise, but who would guess I love to swim, walk a lot and even been known to jog on occasion? I bring all this up...

Impressions of Italy: Napoli (Naples)

Over a long weekend in May, I had the opportunity to visit the city of Naples, (“Napoli” in Italian) and found it to be a very worthwhile and enriching experience. I went there from Rome by train and the ride is just an hour long. In Naples I stayed with a community...

Impressions of Italy: Holy Week and Easter

I imagine that after the Holy Land, Rome is likely the next biggest Holy Week destination place on planet earth. With spring’s arrival, that means longer daylight, warmer weather, trees in leaf and flowers blooming. At the same time, the influx of pilgrims and...

Impressions of Italy: Monastic Roots

“Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”—attributed to American author Mark Twain. Is monasticism dying or even dead? I occasionally have heard variations of that question since arriving in Rome four months ago. If you visit certain monasteries or read reports or...