Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Enjoying Italy (2011)

This year's location in Norcia, Italy, was in itself one of the highlights of the 2011 Summer Program of the St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies.

View over Norcia
Norcia is a small town (population under 5,000) in the province of Perugia, in Southeastern Umbria. It is famous generally forits sausages and hams made from wild boar; among Catholics, it is also known and loved as the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica.

Our location in Norcia also gave us the chance to spend a few days in Rome, as well as make a couple of day-trips, to Assisi and to Cascia.

Saint Peter's in Rome
For the feast of Corpus Christi we headed off to Rome to attend the papal Mass and Eucharistic procession with the Holy Father. Here we encountered some difficulties, principally, I think, on account of our choice of lodging. Our group was split up, and half of us encountered an unexpected curfew which prevented us from participating in the eucharistic procession. Lesson learned: ask about more than the price when looking for a place to stay (in fact, we were even misinformed about that!). The location was also further removed from the center of the city than we would have liked. Not to go on too long about the stressful parts of travel, though, it was wonderful to see the Holy Father, the great basilicas, the Vatican museum, etc. Not to mention the food - incredible pizza and pasta!

The next day after returning to Norcia we were off again to Cascia, the home of St. Rita. After the stresses of Rome, this was perfect. A short bus ride away, Cascia is a small, quiet, beautiful Umbrian hilltown. After visiting the Church in which lays St. Rita's incorrupt body, and seeing the relic of a eucharistic miracle, we wandered the streets or sat in the piazza eating gelato until it was time to head back to Norcia.


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