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.
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
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...read more
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...read more
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...read more
Called the “Apostle to the English,” Saint Augustine of Canterbury, who died in 604, was a monk in Rome at the monastery of Saint Andrew near the Coliseum. The monastery was found by Saint Gregory the Great on his family’s land. Gregory later became Pope and exerted a...read more
Impressions of Rome: Shopping to Live, Not Living to Shop I presume I am not alone in not liking to shop, at least not for food and clothing. Fortunately I live in community where items for cooking and cleaning are purchased in bulk by designated shoppers among us....read more
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...read more
I know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but sometimes I am amazed at what goes up and then comes down in a matter of hours. For example, at Pentecost this year, Pope Francis met with thousands of people for prayer in the nearby Circo Massimo, the legendary place of...read more
Impressions of Rome: Trees and Flowers in the City I grew up in the city of Portland, Oregon, and since my family lived somewhat in the suburbs (at 48th Avenue and Killingsworth Street), we always had many trees, shrubs and flowers to admire. Even when taken for...read more
Impressions of Rome: Piazza Farnese and Santa Brigida Considered one of Rome’s most beautiful squares, Piazza Farnese is right next to Campo de’ Fiori, another attractive Roman piazza. The vast and open Piazza Farnese was the result of demolishing medieval buildings...read more
Impressions of Rome: Aldo Moro Nearly every day I walk past a memorial to one of Italy’s Prime Ministers who tragically died in 1978. The memorial is just three blocks from where I live and is on my usual “exercise walk” route. This essay is the story of the man and...read more
Impressions of Rome: Silence in the City Is it possible to find, enjoy and rest in silence in a city such as Rome? One would hope so, as silence is not so much a place or even an environment, but something that is almost indescribable but as real as one’s being, and...read more
Impressions of Rome: Catholic Culture I try to stop on a regular basis at the information table of our local parish church, Santa Maria in Portico in Campitelli (see my previous online posting “Church of Santa Maria in Portico”), to find out about Catholic cultural...read more
Impressions of Rome: San Benedetto in Piscinula For me, as a Benedictine monk, one of Rome’s most interesting churches is “San Benedetto in Piscinula.” As one of my friends likes to ask, “What is that all about?” In this case, the question would refer to the name of...read more
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