Our Monk in Rome
Fr. Christian Leisy, OSB, will begin making reports while in Rome on assignment with the Subiaco Cassinese Congregation beginning in January, 2017.
If you like, we can send these to your email address as they’re made available.
I have said it often enough over the past forty-seven years as a monk to have gotten tired of hearing myself say it, but here I am actually writing it: monks (and nuns) don’t receive a monthly pay check from the Vatican for being good monks and nuns. Therefore, in...read more
In August I spent part of a day in a national park in the region of Reggio Emilia of central Italy I was there escaping the blistering heat of Rome, where air conditioning is largely absent. The place is part of the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Appennines,...read more
Rome: EUR Those who live and work in Rome are presumably aware of, but perhaps rarely visit, a place called “EUR.” The three letters are an acronym for “Esposizione Universale Romana,” that is the “World Exposition in Rome.” And what exactly is that? As a place, EUR...read more
Italy is a country of beautiful shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well to angels and various saints. The sanctuaries are numerous, and I presume number in the hundreds. Almost everywhere in Italy, and in some cases not so far from each other, one can...read more
It seems that almost anywhere you go in Italy, at least at shrines, monasteries and other holy sites, a saint or blessed of the Catholic Church is connected to the place in some way. A recent visit for the funeral of one of the Benedictine nuns of Santa Lucia Abbey in...read more
It really took me by surprise, when recently, while reading a periodical published by the Carmelite friars in Italy, called, “Il Carmelo Oggi,” that is, “Carmel Today,” to find a two-page editorial article in the May 2018 issue about Elvis Presley! The piece was...read more
Saint Benedict exhorts his monks to “keep death daily before one’s eyes.” In the original Latin, the phrase is: “Mortem cotidie ante oculos suspectam habere.” As one of my friends would likely ask if reading the phrase in English or Latin: “What is that all about?”...read more
I confess that until fairly recently I knew very little about another important Italian saint, Francis of Paola. I could have told you that he was a fifteenth century hermit monk, the founder of an Order and was not Saint Francis of Assisi. Other than that, I might...read more
The Carthusians are an ancient and important monastic Order in the Catholic Church, founded in France in 1084 by Saint Bruno of Cologne. The Order was and continues to be a mostly hidden one, since its monks and nuns follow a life of strict solitude and prayer. For...read more
It almost goes without saying that there are many popular saints in Italy. Not all the saints near and dear to Italians were born in Italy, but lived here at some point in time and eventually won the hearts of Italians and remain very popular to this day. To name a...read more
Since coming to Rome to work in January of 2017, I have been struck by a word that is regularly used here. I don’t recall that it was so much in use thirty years ago when I was living here as a student, but most likely it was. The word is simply, “salve.” My...read more
The birthplace of Saint Benedict and his twin sister Saint Scholastica is very sacred to Benedictine monks, nuns and oblates. The city is now called Norcia, but in the time of Saints Benedict and Scholastica, born in 480, it was called Nursia. It is located in the...read more
Rome’s longest continuously occupied monastery of monks, existing since the eleventh century, is the Byzantine Catholic Monastery of Saint Mary of Grottaferrata. Located on the outskirts of Rome, this monastery of the Byzantine-Greek Catholic Rite belongs to the Order...read more
The Cistercian Benedictine Abbey of Our Lady of Saint Joseph, at Vitorchiano, near Viterbo, about forty-five miles north of Rome, is an Italian Trappistine monastery with seventy nuns at present. Founded in 1875, this flourishing monastery has made seven foundations,...read more
There are nineteen autonomous Congregations, or formal groupings of monasteries, that comprise the International Benedictine Confederation. The Subacio Cassinese Congregation, to which my monastery belongs, is just one of the nineteen Congregations. Some of the other...read more
For many years my list of important places to see in Italy has included the Franciscan Sanctuary of La Verna, located in Tuscany, high in the Apennine hills, not far from the city of Arezzo. The hope was realized this year when three monks of our curia were able to...read more
By the end of the nineteenth century Italy was overcrowded, poverty was rife and taxes were ever increasing. Between the years 1890 and 1910 some three million Italians immigrated to the United States. Often they were single men, but also married couples with children...read more
Officially known as the “Santuario Francescano di Rivotorto,” the Franciscan Shrine of Rivotorto is very close to the city of Assisi and like Assisi, is another important place in Franciscan history. The Rivotorto shrine lies in the plane beneath Monte Subasio on...read more
One of Rome’s most beautiful and fragrant natural sites, which comes into full bloom in early May, is the Rose Garden, called in Italian “il Roseto Comunale di Roma,” comprised of two and a half acres of land, between the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) and the eastern...read more
Undoubtedly, one of Rome’s most popular saints is Philip Neri. Like Saint Frances of Rome and Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, Philip Neri seems to be near and dear to the hearts of many Romans and Italians in general. In fact, Philip Neri is called the “Third Apostle of...read more
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