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.

 

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Impressions of Rome: Emperor Nero Returns to Rome. Sort of

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...

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Impressions of Rome: Trees and Flowers in the City

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...

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Impressions of Rome: Piazza Farnese and Santa Brigida

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...

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Impressions of Rome: Aldo Moro

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...

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Impressions of Rome: Silence in the City

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...

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Impressions of Rome: Catholic Culture

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...

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Impressions of Rome: San Benedetto in Piscinula

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...

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Impressions of Italy: Mountains, Lakes and an Island

Impressions of Italy: Mountains, Lakes and an Island Italy is a land of nearly infinite beauty. This reality is always brought home to me when I travel outside of Rome. Rome itself is filled with beauty, of course, especially in its art and architecture, much of it...

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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...

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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...

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Impressions of Italy: Abbey of the Holy Cross at Sassovivo

In another posting, called “Impressions of Italy: A Visit to Umbria,” I wrote about my weekend in Foligno with the Little Brothers of Jesus Caritas. Their Order and most of its members are based at the ancient Benedictine monastery, called “Abbazia di Santa Croce in...

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Impressions of Italy: A Visit to Umbria

Until now my online reflections have been focused on the city of Rome. That makes sense since I hadn’t ventured beyond Rome since my arrival in Italy on January 13th this year. An outing to Umbria, land of Saint Francis, took place on the weekend of March 24th, which...

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Impressions of Rome: Sant’Ambrogio della Massima

The headquarters (called “the curia”) of our Subiaco Cassinese Benedictine Congregation is housed in a former monastery, called “Sant’Ambrogio della Massima,” in the heart of Rome, the “centro storico,” or “historic center” of the Eternal City. Centrally located it...

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Impressions of Rome: Crossing Streets

Crossing streets in Rome might be considered a fine art. At nearly any hour of the day, beginning by 7:00 am or even earlier, and extending well into the night, the many and often wide major streets of Rome are teeming with traffic. This is no surprise or cause for...

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Impressions of Rome: Tor de’Spechhi (“Tower of Mirrors”)

An important Roman saint and special patroness of Benedictine oblates is Saint Frances of Rome. She was born in Rome in 1384, a time of famine, war and epidemics in the Eternal City. As an adult, Frances took on numerous charitable works on behalf of the poor of Rome...

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Impressions of Rome: Speaking Italian

In the summer of 1985 I enrolled in a language school in Florence, Italy, for two months of intensive Italian study, five days a week, four hours each day. The Tuscan city of Florence (“Firenze” in Italian), I had been told, was the place to go to learn Italian. I...

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Impressions of Rome: Life in Our Curia

On February 10th, 2017, Feast of Saint Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict, our Congregation’s Curia at Saint’Ambrogio, where I live, introduced the Office of Vigils into the daily horarium (schedule). Our Abbot President Guillermo is clear that while the curia...

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Impressions of Rome: City of Contrasts

Like every large city, Rome has its share of homeless, mentally unwell and beggars among its inhabitants. In the case of Rome this reality is especially evident in the historic center (“Centro Storico,” as they call it here) and at the Vatican. The Centro Storico and...

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"Let everyone that comes be received as Christ."

— The Rule of St. Benedict

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