Italy is brimming with religious iconry, churches, crosses and monuments to faith. I have no real Catholic background to draw from so much of it all is mysterious and novel for me.
I am deeply moved by Italians connection to Mary.
I have been to many churches from Palermo to Milan and places in between. I go for all sorts of reasons: the art, the beauty, the stillness, a chance to have a sit down and for a connection, a feeling, an emotion. There are a few places that stand out for me; they captured me at the time of my visit. I would feel my heart swell.
The veiled Christ sculpture in Cappella Sansevero in Naples was one of those.
Another was St Paul outside the walls, (san paolo fuori le mura), Santa Maria Maggiore and Saint John Lateran (san giovanni laterano) all in Rome. The domine quo vadis on the appia antica is also close to my heart.
La Scala Sancta was profound for me the first time I witnessed the faithful climbing the stairs on their knees.
On my return to Rome in September I went back to these places for more. I wanted to feel the same. I did enjoy seeing them again but the feeling wasn’t there. I don’t know if it was the jetlag, or heat or just that it was a return to somewhere already known to me. Even La Scala Sancta did nothing for me. In fact it seemed a bit Disney this time, like an attraction to tick off. I must have been having a particularly jaded moment. As I walked out of the building and rounded the corner, I saw him. There he was. I found my veiled Christ sleeping rough and I was deeply moved.