Today is the feast of the great saint, Catherine of Siena, doctor of the Church, and patroness of Europe and of Italy. She was born into a very large family (if memory serves, over 20 children!). Read what Pope Benedict XVI said about her here.
Since her tomb is in a church very near to where I live, I went over there a little while ago to say some prayers. The tomb is in the high altar, and on her feast days they open up the back of it and let people go around and go inside to pray, so that they can actually touch the tomb. So I did just that.
I prayed, among other things, for all who read this blog (and will read this post), my Facebook friends, etc. So consider yourself prayed for.
With many extra pilgrims still in town following the canonizations, there were quite a lot of people in the church, the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, which is just back behind the Pantheon.
Here is a view of the tomb as I waited in line:
There was much cutting of line going on, as is traditional here, and to which, even after three years, I have not fully resigned myself. Here we see people clamoring to go inside. About four people could fit inside at once:
Here is a slightly better view of the tomb that I had when I swung back around after saying my prayers:
After visiting the tomb I went to my second-favorite place in this church, the large statue of Our Lady of the Rosary, one of Rome’s more beautiful marian images:
Then, having lit a few candles for your intentions, mine, and someone else’s, I headed out on my next errand.
Fun fact: St. Catherine of Siena’s head is not in that tomb; it is in a reliquary displayed for veneration in a church in the town of Siena, near Florence, Italy! One of her fingers is also displayed there. Here is a photo of her head that someone put on Facebook earlier today (click to enlarge!):
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!