We woke late on Tuesday, the morning after our arrival -- though considering the time difference of six hours it was not late but quite early: nine a.m. in
Piazzo del Popolo as seen from above in the Borghese Gardens.
Our parish priest from Grand Marais, had written a letter to the
Beryl on the bridge on her way to the Vatican
The trite expression we use to describe the event that ensued is “It’s a small world,” but my encounter with a nun from the same monastery where I’d spent 15 years of my life made the world seem miniscule. This unexpected meeting while waiting at the
Sister, who’d been granted a few extra days in Rome before returning to the cloister in New Jersey, had acted as a tour guide on a Franciscan pilgrimage to share the perspective of St. Clare’s life in conjunction with that of St. Francis. Those on that pilgrimage told her afterwards that they’d gone to
It was late by the time we entered the bronze doors to claim our “invitations,” to the Papal Audience. Here’s a bit of advice for those hoping to attend a general Papal Audience: Forget the tickets -- we were never asked to present them at the actual audience the next day. Spend the time visiting the Vatican Museums instead. Having spent hours waiting on yet another line for those “tickets,” we had little time to visit the Vatican Museums before they closed. Bill and I were among the last persons allowed to enter the museums and then we had to “fly” through that immense labyrinth of art-laden halls in our desire to reach the Sistine Chapel (which is one of the final stops within the museum) before the museum closed at 4 p.m.
Is there ever a “good time” to visit the Sistine Chapel? I have no idea. Thirty years ago when I last visited there weren’t the crowds there are today. As Bill and I craned our necks to view Michelangelo’s ceiling, we were pushed about by the milling crowd. Bill even missed seeing the most famed fresco of all – the creation of Adam which is tucked among the other portrayals of saints and sibyls adorning that ceiling. Certainly we could have seen more through reproductions in books and online, but then we would have missed the sense of awe that standing in the presence of Michelangelo’s frescoes evokes.