Beginning in August 2021, our three Sisters living in the Eternal City began to experience the slow lifting of restrictions that were imposed on Rome during the pandemic in the previous year. When the Sisters first arrived, the lines to get into St. Peter’s Basilica were still short and the number of tourists was still small.
As the year progressed, however, tourism began to rise, lines increased to get into St. Peter’s and other major Basilica’s, and the crowds on the buses were sometimes so large that the Sisters had to wait for the next available bus.
Returning to Rome from the previous year, Sister Maria continues to serve as the Director of Administration at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) while Sister Maria José serves as the head librarian at the North American College. Sister Dominica, who is new to Rome and the mission, maintained the library at the Casa Santa Maria.
This year, the Sisters have been able to make more pilgrimages to holy sites in regions outside Rome than in the previous year. During the visit of our new Prioress General, Mother Amata Veritas, and Vicaress General, Sister Mary Michael, we visited the tomb of St. Dominic in Bologna and attended Mass in the cell where he died. We even had the chance to attend a Wednesday General Audience, with the added privilege of shaking hands and speaking with Pope Francis!
A pilgrimage to the Holy Land was one of the grand blessings of our year. Our guide was Fr. Anthony Giambrone, OP, a Dominican Friar assigned to the Holy Land, and added gifts were time spent with Fr. Leo Checkai, OP and Fr. Jordan Schmidt, OP.
The Sisters have had the pleasure to host some of the Dominican friars on several occasions this year, including the Master General of the Order, Fr. Gerard Timoner, III. It is a privilege to pray for all our Sisters and benefactors within our own Rome chapel and at each of the locations we visit, both in and outside of Rome.