Another rough wake up. No worries crossed my mind, however, because I was very excited to finally experience for myself the mystical Bone Church. Traveling to Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini was easy. I feel as though I am finally getting a hold of the Roman transportation system (which is an extremely daunting task-even for a Chicagoan)! I hope you enjoy my sixth day experiencing the splendors of Roman Catholicism in its birth place, Rome!
I learned a lot on this day. The Bone Church was unlike anything I imagined or have ever seen before. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed. I, however, will deem this site as a must see for any Roman tourists.
The actual church entrance (museum) was fascinating. I have always been keen to learn more about the different sects of Roman Catholicism. I enjoyed reading about the history of the Cappuccini-or the Franciscan Order. A funny thing is a single Franciscan is called a Cappuccino! Here, I finally learned the significance of the pointed hoods (which I had been wondering about since the Easter Processions) and the way that the Franciscans dressed (they dress in a cross shaped robe with tie around the waist). I also got to read a little more about Saint Francis of Assisi whom I have heard so much about while being at the JFRC.
I really enjoyed seeing another Caravaggio painting. This Church housed the portrait of Saint Francis himself. Caravaggio is one of the crowd favorites here in Rome and it’s easy to see why! For reference, his most famous painting is the crucifixion of Peter-which I finally got to see in person on this day!
Proceeding into the Ossuary Crypt (or the Bone Church), I was blown away. I will admit I was a little creeped out, but the Bone Church also intrigued me. A fact about the Bone Church I found cool was that the Earth in this “cemetery” is apparently straight from the holy land. The Catholics never cease to amaze me. Another thing to note is that this is a crypt for the Franciscans, so all the bones are of their brethren.
Next we had a quick viewing of the Santissimi Trinita dei Monti. I really enjoyed walking to this site because the weather was so beautiful. Of course, the Spanish Steps are also always a sight for sore eyes. We didn’t go in this church, so we proceeded to Santa Maria del Popolo. This church was pretty cool as there are two more Caravaggio’s housed here (saint Peter’s Crucifixion and the conversion of saint Paul)!
Next came Gesu e maria al Corso which I learned had an interior that was inspired by the famous Roman artist, Bernini. It was easy to tell upon entering that this cathedral is very influenced by the Baroque artistic period. After wandering this church, we ventured to Chiesa Di san Giacomo in Augusta which I have actually stopped in a couple of times! It is very popular and always crowded as it is on Via Del Corso. I really like this church because of the ceiling. The ceiling fresco has magnificent colors and paints a beautiful theological picture. I think this was one of my favorite stops because of the prayer. I got to reflect on the quote of the Jubilee year ”be merciful as your father is merciful to you” or “Mesecordia come padre.”
Our final stop of the sixth on site was at Sant’Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso. The relics of the Catholic Church always interest me-I enjoyed seeing Peter’s chains and the shroud of Jesus. But it was very interesting to see Saint Charles’ heart. It was also kind of gross, but I am learning to understand the relics better after taking part in this class. At this site, we were asked to read the prayers at each side alter as they were in English. I found these very endearing. I used them as a platform to pray for my family members and loved ones, but also for those who need prayer that don’t often receive it.
In conclusion, this was my favorite on site to date. It is so lovely learning about the traditions of the Catholic Church, especially on a beautiful sunny spring day in Rome. These are the times I feel very connected to my spirituality and my university.
Thanks for reading!