Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Madonna del Parto
Wakening up early, we only had a short walk to the Station Church for this Saturday after Ash Wednesday. The Domus Santa Maria located near San Carlo ai Catinari, was around the corner from Piazza Navona. The Church of Sant Agostino, is located at the east end of the Piazza. Originally today's liturgy was celebrated in the church of St. Tryphon, an older Church which once stood near this spot but was demolished to make room for the adjacent Augustinian convent. The present church dedicated to St. Augustine dates back to the medieval period. Recycled from stone of the Coliseum, this church is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in the city today.

There are many sensational treasurers to be found here; Caravaggio's Madonna dei Pellegrini, Raphael's Isaiah, the venerated statue of the Madonna del Parto, whom the Italians consider the patron of all mothers, the beautiful high altar by Bernini, and most especially the remains of the mother of St. Augustine, St. Monica. (left side chapel) Originally buried in the seaport of Ostia in 387, her remains were translated to St. Tryphon in 1430 and later moved to this church. We took some time to pray and reflect upon this woman so steadfast in the faith, so contant in her prayer, and so unwavering in her confidence that God would hear her prayer for her son. What an example for us all.

The chapel to the right of the high altar has an image of St. Augustine with St. John the Baptist and St. Paul the Hermit, representing three great masters of the contemplative life, revered by many of the early Augustinian communities dedicated to the eremitic life. As you make your way around the church and visit the other side chapels you will find relics to St. Nicholas of Tolentine, taken from the catacombs of St. Callistus, relics of Ss. Fortunata, Pius, Justina, and Honorius, early christian martyrs, and figures representing the four doctors of the Latin Church, Ss. Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, and Gregory the Great.

Receive O Lord, the sacrifices we make during this Lenten season, and being cleansed through its virtues may we offer to you a tribute of love.

Tomb of Saint Monica

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