Basilica Santa Sabina – UPDATED

Okay, I’ll be writing about Rome, and posting pictures for a while–my husband took over 1,000 pictures, thank you, digital cameras!–and I need to write a thorough and public thank you to Danielle and Simcha and Sally for their terrific work while I’ve been gone, but I know some of you are waiting, so here are a few pictures. On Saturday, after a great deal of nagging from Sr. Mary Catharine, over at Moniales OP, we finally made our way slightly off the beaten path, to the Aventine hill and the very old, very lovely Basilica de Santa Sabina, whose erection began in 422 AD, which I’ve updated with a few more pictures:

Rome is everywhere beauty, sometimes grand, and sometimes rather simple. At Santa Sabina, the beauty was simple, but everywhere:

When we entered, a wedding mass was taking place:

So we hung back, in the narthex:

And peered into the gardens of the attached convento, thanks to the aid of a little peer-hole:

We didn’t see any friars strolling about, praying, but that is supposedly St. Dominic’s orange tree, you see there!

After the wedding, Santa Sabina looked like this:

Just simple, old and beautiful:

Grow higher, ancient portals…or arches!

Did I mention “old”? Ancient frescoes are still being uncovered:

And some of the decoratives seemed oddly Celtic to me; perhaps an Irish Dominican carved these:

Of course, this being Rome, even the simplest of churches has one grandish marble chapel:

Sr. Mary Catharine, told me, “if you see a Dominican Friar, tell him you are our friends, and he will show you a slab upon which St. Dominic used to pray…”

So, I found a friar and, showing him a medal Sister had given me for an anniversary of the founding of Dominican nuns, I said, “mi amici, moniales, in New Jersey said you could show me,” (here, I of course gestured wildly) “where Domenico prostrato? On the floor?”

The friar looked at me with deep pity, because I was that pathetic and then opened the gates of the choir, for us:

And led us here:

Umm, here:

Leaving we found an ancient altar:

And a reminder that our young Dominican friends in New Jersey, Michigan and elsewhere are part of a great and lasting legacy:

Related: Madrid; Pre-Roma

At OSV, Mary DeTurris Poust writes of how Rome becomes Home

All Images Mine – 2010

About Elizabeth Scalia

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