Day 13 - July 6, 2016
We crossed the Tiber River into the Trastevere area where soldiers have traditionally been housed in Rome. A Carmelite priest celebrated Mass for us “under the foot of St. Teresa of Avila.” The relic of her foot was encased above the altar. Using St. Theresa’s Way of Perfection, Father emphasized in his homily the virtues of humility, detachment, and prayer. We received a tour of the Church of Maria Della Scala and the neighboring pharmacy from Fr. Ivan Clifford Pinto, OCD, the Superior. We saw the tomb of Cardinal van Thaun, whose cause is up for canonization; there were also relics of the Little Flower. In the sacristy, Father told us the story of many saints who had visited the Church and prayed with the Carmelites there, as it was the Italian headquarters (which also conducted missionary work) for 240 years.
The pharmacy dated back centuries. It was run by the Carmelites, who used herbs, ancient lore, and many remedies. At one point, there was a tunnel between the Vatican and the pharmacy for the use of the Pope, if he needed to come to the pharmacy for medicine. Some of the remedies were a secret which died out with the last Carmelite pharmacist after the Italian state took possession of all Church property in Rome. We saw the machines that made the pills; original bottles and pestaries still contain ancient formulas (one had 57 ingredients and could cure brainstroke and paralysis!) Modern methods replaced the ancient lore, and now the pharmacy next door is privately run.
We then visited the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, which Sr. Mary Angela explained to us competes with St. Mary Major for the title of oldest Church dedicated to the Blessed Mother. The beautiful mosaics date back to the 1100s. A side chapel boasted a mosaic of the Council of Nicea. St. Callistas is buried there. Gregorian chant wafted through the Church, keeping the atmosphere reverent and prayerful.
Around 3 pm, Msgr. John Kennedy of the Archdiocese of Dublin assigned to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, came to the Domus to give a conference on the 1983 Code of Canon Law in regards to Religious Life, which he said is acknowledged as “the most beautifully written” section of Canon Law.
We watched a video, Pius XII: Under the Roman Sun, which was a edge-of-your seat drama about the role Pope Pius XII took in safeguarding the Jews during the Nazi occupation of Rome.
Venerating the relic of the foot of St. Teresa of Avila
One case of an ancient pharmacy, formerly run by the Carmelites
Group picture in front of Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
Msgr Kennedy with the Sisters