Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Missionary Fellowship

I got to Suore Tarcia's convent in time to join the community for a half hour's silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament preceding Vespers. The convent has a beautiful square cloister reminiscent of moorish architecture, although the building is not that old. The chapel is built in simple classical Graeco-
Roman style. 

The property was a friary until 1866 when the government of the newly unified Italy suppressed relgious community houses. It was bought and sold three times, the last owner being Sir Edward Hill, builder of Cardiff's dry dock. He lived there in retirement with his daughter Mabel. They had a chaplain and held Anglican services there. Mabel was active in creating local educational projects, working with Catholic religious orders. Her zeal led to the building of St George's Church when they sold their home and returned to Britain. The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary bought it, and still live there.

After the service I was invited to supper with the community, both an honour and a delight, as many of the nuns, like Suore Tarcisa spoke French, from their early training and their African missionary work, so conversation was lively, even if it didn't do my Italian learning much good. It's great to have so many like minded people praying together close by. I'm welcome to join them for prayer any time I can make it. Saturday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is one of their special holidays, and an Italian public holiday too. That'll do my Italian language exposure good.

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