Friday, July 20, 2007

Meditalia - Capitolo Cinque

La lingua italiano 101

"Prego" = You're welcome... (following a Thank You)
"Prego!" = Yes, please... sit down anywhere you'd like!
"Prego" = No problem at all...
"Prego" = Please... Leave my shop now.

Prego is just one of those words where context and intonation mean everything. :-)

Well, we arrived safely in Siena. Unlike in other locations, we're staying at a hotel here. It's a little more impersonal, but the accomodations are perfectly located. By now (around 1:30pm), it's sizzling hot and not very inviting to wander around the streets of Siena. This is certainly a much more touristy town that Assisi and Cortona. There are stores everywhere... and many, many people. The main attraction for us in Siena are the sites related to S. Caterina. I'm learning that she was a very powerful woman in her time and was widely recognized as a peacemaker, sought out to negotiate between warring factions in the Church. In the 14th century, she convinced the Pope, who had been in exile in France for 70 years, to return to Rome. It would be interesting to see what the Roman Catholic Church would be like today were it not for her.

And you just gotta love the Catholics and our obsession with relics. Yesterday, we saw S. Caterina's finger on display. The church was closing, so we didn't get a chance to see her head, which was displayed at another altar further down. We'll be doing that later today. Yes, you read that right. Her head. Here, people pray to her head. The rest of her body is in Rome and we'll see if we can track that down when we're there on July 29th. It is said that S. Caterina is the most dispersed Saint. :-) On a less macabre note, this morning, we meditated in the house where she lived. There is a beautiful little chapel with magnificent scenes of her life painted on the walls.

So, I'll add S. Caterina to S. Francesco, S. Chiara (Assisi) and S. Margherita (Cortona) as new people of inspiration I can turn to whenever I may need it...

Siena is yet another town of hills. Not as many as Cortona or Assisi, but still, my calf muscles are getting a work-out! Tomorrow (Saturday) we leave for the Abbazie Monte Oliveto Maggiore for our 7-day Christian Meditation retreat. You likely won't be hearing from me until after that is done. I may write from Rome, but we're only there for a day, so I'm not sure I'll get a chance.

Well, I guess this is where I way Arrivederci... My family reunion is getting underway in NB, so I'm sending you all lotsa hugs from Italia. Safe travels to Sis & D. And Mom, thanks for posting a comment! I'm glad you got a chance to see this blog. I'm doing just fine! Hot, but fine! :-) And Hubby is in Lake Placid for a solo holiday and to take in the Ironman USA competition. Have fun, Babe and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Pace e bene,


Becks said...

I LOVE it!! So, you caught on to prego... use it often. It's so fun. Have a great retreat!

Anne said...

Greetings merry pilgrims! You are, indeed, on a true pilgrimage, meditating in the chapel of St.Francis. What an inspiring experience! I have reservations, though, about praying to saintly body parts! Thanks for the lovely postcard, Flora, and thanks to Joanne for allowing me to participate in your wonderful Italian adventure. Galilee was lovely, as usual,and it was great to see everyone again.The food,however, seems to get worse every year and the weather was not kind to us- we only had one beach day. Joyce Rupp was everything I anticipated, and then some. Lots of inspiration there. No offers on the house yet....Love to you both,