Day Eleven

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Day 11 was Sunday January 7th, In Italy the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We made plans to go to Mass at 6:00pm at St. Catherine’s Church of San Domenico. Today was going to be a bit of a Dominican day for Sr. Mary Mark. This was also the day we had a booked a tour of Siena and San Gimignano with one of the areas’ famous guides.

We slept in and came to breakfast about 8:30am. There at breakfast in the hotel was another family and after a while we figured it was not Italian they were speaking. It sounded more like Spanish. Later when we spoke with them we discovered they also spoke perfect English. They were from Costa Rica and were in Italy to bring their daughter to a language school.

After Breakfast we were met by our guide in the Lobby and began a walking tour of Siena and all the sites associated with St. Catherine. She explained a bit about the ancient neighborhoods in Siena, the contradas, and also about the ancient horse race that is still held every years, the Palio. This explained all the colors in our neighborhood and the decorations on all the lamps. She took us by that ugly Duomo and explained a bit of its history. We elected not to go in this time. In the main square, the Campo, she showed us pictures of how the horse race was celebrated in the Square.
She also a little bit about St. Bernardine of Siena and the insignia that was seen all over Siena and even on City Hall. Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol—IHS, Iesus Hominem Salvator, in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. This was to displace the superstitious symbols of the day, as well as the insignia of factions or contradas. The devotion spread, and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings. We visited the Church associated with the life of St. Catherine, and we also toured the site of her home that has been turned into a shrine. After walking back an forth across old Siena it was time for lunch and we stopped at one of the many bars in the city that serve sandwiches and refreshments.
After lunch we went to get our car and drove the 30km to Sam Gimignano. This was a bit like stepping back in time and walking through a medieval city. Here a light misty rain began to fall. We stopped in a variety of shops.
I think it was here we became pretty determined that next time we came to Italy we would have to find a place where we could do some cooking. I bought a bunch of spices for some Tuscan dishes, and even a small bottle of some of the new olive oil. After a tour of various sites and churches, we drove back to Siena and took a little break before Mass. Thanks Viviana, for such a marvelous day.

We walked over to San Domenico for the evening Mass. We felt right at home as the ladies prayed the Rosary before Mass. Mass in Italian is not too bad. The homilies are a bit rough when they last a long time and this one did. After Mass we made our way back to Duo Parte for dinner. I believe it was here that we converted Sr. Mary Mark to grappa. It was another fine feast. We then retired because tomorrow was going to be another long day.

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I'm disappointed that you did not mention the hot was rather, um, significant, for some of us. I mean it's not every day you get to have your insides coated in thick, hot, chocolate liquid!

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This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on January 30, 2007 1:58 PM.

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