One of the immediate benefits of our senza cane status was our ability to take an overnight to Rome to have dinner and drinks with some old friends: Tim Noone, Jacques Dalarun and Marybeth Ingham at Collegio San Isidoro, which is the Franciscan House for the Province of Ireland, replete with a chapel decorated by Bernini and a tradition that goes back to the great Franciscan scholar, Luke Wadding. (See picture.) Although, according to Jacques, Napolean once used the chapel to stable horses. I have a special debt to the friars of San Isidoro. Here's the story:
In the mid-19th century, Bishop Timon of Buffalo, went to Rome for the official Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. While he was there, he asked the Minister General of the Franciscans to send some missionaries to the Buffalo area to work with the Irish immigrants who were building the Erie Canal. Timon was referred to San Isodoro where he met one of the professors, an Italian named Father Panfilo from the town of Magliano, in the Abruzzi region. He spoke English fluently and was convinced to come to the Buffalo diocese to minister to English speaking workers. In June of 1855, four Franciscans arrived in New York and made their way to Buffalo, where they established parishes and schools including Saint Bonaventure University.
The next picture shows Tim, Jacques, Judy and me.
After dinner, Tim, Jacques, Judy and I went out for café e sambuca at an outdoor café with the Pantheon a few steps (quattro passi) away. This is NOT the usual fish-fry that one does on a Friday night in Franklinville.
The next day we returned to Umbria, but stopped in Assisi first. There we joined a group from the Umbra Institute. Assisi was shrouded in fog that day, but I snapped a couple of pictures. Perhaps the most bizarre is an installation, a Nativity scene, in the Piazza Inferiore di San Francesco by Kurt Laurenz Metzler, called "Neurotic Metropolitan Nativity" described in the local press as an invitation to dialogue and hope."Judge for yourself.
I've also added a very unusual, totally random,
presentation of the image of Francis.
The next day we took our students to La grande Shanghai,
a Chinese restaurant near the Stranieri. I know,you're asking: why go to a Chinese restaurant in Italy? Well it is pretty cheap (I paid the tab) and the kids loved it Here’s a picture:
Clockwise: Judy, Carla, Samantha, Angela,
Sarah, Noel, Mike, Phil and Senora Traub.