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.
Recently I have been asked, more than once, “So how was your Christmas?” Before answering the question, I would ask another. Have you noticed that Americans now begin almost every question with the word, “So”? I haven’t quite figured out why that is, but it seems all...read more
Our Subiaco Cassinese Congregation has its curia or headquarters at what was the ancestral property of the great Bishop and Doctor of the Church, Saint Ambrose of Milan, as he is usually called, who lived from 340 -397. His officially name was “Ambrosius Aurelianus,”...read more
As a youngest growing up near the Oregon coast, my family frequently visited the beach town of Seaside, where my maternal grandparents and one aunt lived. My paternal grandparents had a cabin there also, to use when we wished. I loved the coast, though not so much the...read more
Impressions of Rome: Presepi In mid to late November around the city of Rome, and presumably in many other places in Italy, Christmas decorations begin to appear. These include the usual strings of colorful electric lights, often strung between buildings along city...read more
In Italy he is known as “San Pio Pietrelcina.” In English he is called “Saint Pius,” or more commonly, “Saint Padre Pio,” venerated by the Catholic Church with his feast on September 23rd each year. Born on May 25th, 1887 in the town of Pietrelcina in the southern...read more
Those readers who have been to Rome might wonder why I have never written in these weekly postings about going to a papal audience. I confess I have not been to one for many years, but recently that changed. On November 15th this year I attended an outdoor papal...read more
From November 10th to the 12th this year I assisted with a pilgrimage of Benedictine oblates to important sites in and around the Eternal City. Thirty-five men and women from Australia to the Netherlands to the United States, and places in between, had signed up (and...read more
All Souls Day is on November 2nd, a day when Catholics and many other Christians traditionally commemorate the Faithful Departed, remembering in prayer all those who have died. This year on All Souls Day I visited the monumental Roman cemetery of Verano, next to the...read more
I recently sent a friend in Michigan a short video clip of Piazza Venezia here in Rome, one of the city’s busiest places most of the day. In the early morning, though, before 8:30 am, it is a fairly tranquil thoroughfare and almost exudes an air of peace at an...read more
Growing up Catholic in the 1950s and 60s in the city of Portland, Oregon, we were blessed with two strikingly Catholic sites. The first was the Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, popularly called “the Grotto,” run by Catholic friars, the Servants of Mary, usually...read more
In case anyone is wondering, this is my forty-second entry for the “Our Monk in Rome” project. Each week, for the past forty-two weeks, I have submitted an essay to my computer savvy brothers in New Mexico to post on our website. That kind of technicality is far...read more
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,...read more
Impressions of Italy and Life: Friends Living “far from home,” I sometimes ponder the place and importance of friendship in my life. Keeping contact, at least on occasion, with those I hold near and dear is part of the adventure of working in a place that is not...read more
Impressions of Italy: Saint Januarius An important “Italian connection” from my Catholic grade school years, from 1959 to 1967, comes from the third grade, when we were studying the lives of the saints. I was either assigned or chose to explore the famous Italian...read more
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...read more
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,...read more
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....read more
I grew up in Oregon, one of the apparently “least-churched” states in the USA. Nonetheless, we were members of a vibrant Catholic church in Portland, dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, the great Italian archbishop of Milan, cardinal and Church reformer, who lived...read more
Impressions of Rome: Parrots I have never been much of a bird watcher, though I did appreciate the chanting of mourning doves in the great Pacific Northwest when was I growing up, and now in Rome these many years later. For years I thought their name was “morning,”...read more
Italian lunch, called “pranzo,” and supper, called “cena,” are nearly always accompanied by wine, either red or white, sometimes both. This is not just the case in restaurants and trattorie, but also private homes, as well as monasteries and other religious houses....read more
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