Thursday, January 3, 2008

January 3, 2008

January 3, 2008
+ Holy Name of JESUS

ROME – 12:54 PM

…let each one deny [herself] some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting. (RB 49:7) Well, it’s not Lent yet, but Sister Veronica and I are excelling at sleep deprivation. Even though we each slept about eight or nine hours, our first class at 8:45 AM felt like 2:45 AM North American time. I think it will take a few days for the pattern of life here to right us.
Our first real class was on the context of the Rule of Benedict. Sister Aquinata lectured on the political, social and cultural dynamics of 6th century Rome. My head is spinning with Vandals, Goths and various barbarian hordes. Sister Aquinata is big on hand-outs and pictures. Many require serious study – like the one that graphs the typical hours of the day in Benedict’s monastery. Many terms are familiar to us as our monastic customs bear a lasting imprint of the practices of early cenobitic life. But there are many Latin terms and phrases which will come, I hope, in time.
It’s grey and very cold here. Not certain of the temperature, but Roman winter is damp, raw. We have heat in our rooms – praise GOD. During the day hours, it’s rather chilly, but at night, the heat is turned up for cozy sleep.
Breakfast here is a typical continental repast - fresh, warm, crusty bread, sweet Italian butter, thick marmalade, coffee and team. For the adventurous among us, there is salami and several cheeses. And a thick, sweet apricot nectar that needs a little watering down for my American palate. Everything here tastes so good…there is always pasta and meat for lunch (which is dinner here.) At supper, we have soup and bread - very simple but very good.
I am fighting off something…can’t tell if it’s in my chest or sinus or throat. I plan to load up on sleep and fluids so that I can feel well enough to explore the city on Saturday (our ‘free’ day.) I am adding a second posting today to provide the horarium (daily schedule) for our program. My bed is calling to me…our siesta is from 1-3:00 PM. (I can hear someone snoring through the wall already!) More tomorrow… - Sister Vicki