By Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
Without much sleep on Friday night on the plane we arrived safely in Rome. Upon our arrival we found ourselves in the time zone of Saturday morning with the whole day ahead of us, but without sleep and therefore with little energy for the rest of the day.
This is the Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome. Here you see Fr. Bill Comerford from the Vancouver community; Fr. Ciro Perez from Saskatoon; Vincent who is studying in Rome (a Vietnamese confere who met us at the airport and then guided us from the airport by bus to our residence in Rome) and myself; Anthony Nguyen van Dung from our Vietnamese Province, is taking the picture and is a Redemptorist studying in Toronto. The four of us flew from Toronto to Rome to begin a three week course in the History and Sprituality of the Redemptorists.
Below is our Redemptorist Residence in Rome. There are Redemptorists from around the world who stay here and work in our Redemptorist government, or who study in Rome, and some with the local Italian community who serve in various ministries and at the parish of St. Alphonsus. There are three more wings and much courtyard space behind what you can see here. As you may know, Fr. Michael Brehl is on holidays in Canada and we did not see him here.
Here we visited with the Redemptoristines in St. Agathe de Goti. This was the town in which St. Alphonsus resided as bishop. He invited the Redemptoristines to found a monastery here. They have been here since the late 1700’s.
Here you can see the older part of the city that was built to protect it from invasion from hostile people! That is a long drop to the bottom of that canyon!
At the time of this letter we are staying for five days of study and we are touring some of the settings of the early Redemptorist ministry around Materdomini in Italy. Today in Materdomini, there is a very popular shrine to St. Gerard. We are staying in a building called Hotel San Gerardo. As you can see this is built in a rural place (the municipal district has a population of about 3,000 people) west of Naples, in the mountains of Italy. This picture was taken from the balcony of my room – very beautiful view.
Thankfullly, it is a LOT more quiet and I can get some sleep – in contrast to Rome where I could get little sleep whenever the window was open.
At the shrine to St. Gerard there are many rooms where people have sent in pictures of children, signs, letters, artwork, in gratitude for the graces, cures and miracles worked through the intercession of St. Gerard. Here is a picture of one of the rooms.
Well that is about all the news for now. Thanks for your prayers and we are also keeping you all in our prayers!