Today’s pilgrimage journey will bring us from the heavy and unmovable architecture of Rome and the Romanesque to the inspired lightness of Gothic architecture. We’ll begin our day this morning with a visit to the Pantheon, perhaps the most idyllic and famous expression of ancient Roman stoicism and tranquility.
With this moving experience still charged in our hearts and minds, we’ll travel just a few meters to visit Rome’s only untouched Gothic church, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Here, through the high ribbed and vaulted ceilings we’ll take an architectural leap through space and time, uncovering the dignity of purpose that sets the highest aspirations as the aim of human life. We’ll next witness these aspirations in action. Visiting with the community of Saint Egidio, we’ll aim to glimpse the all-adorning dignity of love in the simple acts of kindness to immigrants and strangers. Inspiring our journey today will be our reflection on the rise of mendicant (or wandering) religious orders in the high Middle Ages. St Francis is perhaps the most famous mendicant friar in the world whose simple desire to live a life of gospel poverty in the world while serving the poorest of the poor continues to inspire.
Before our day concludes, we consider the notion of pilgrimage through community with a walk through Rome’s Jewish district. The poetry of Immanuel Ben Solomon will focus our hearts and minds as we discover the resilience of a community in pilgrimage over the course of centuries and also reflect on the ease with which the very best and most spiritually Christians gifted can fail in the love of neighbor. Tonight we’ll feast in the Jewish Quarter.
Walking: Moderate 3-6 miles.