The Presentation of Mary in the Temple

The 21st November is the World Day of Cloistered Life —Pro Orantibus Day (“For Those Who Pray”). It was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1953 on the day in which we celebrate the liturgical feast of the presentation of Mary in the Temple. To honour this special day, we visit the Chapel of the […]

The Handing of the Keys

Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci, better known as Pietro Perugino (1450-1523), was an Umbrian painter of the High Renaissance who realised the exceptional fresco entitled ‘The Handing of the Keys to St Peter’ between 1481/2 in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Rome. The fresco forms part of a series of mural decorations that gave the Sistine […]

The Dormition of the Virgin Mary

The splendid mosaics in the apse of St Mary Major’s Basilica in Rome narrate the life story of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Of particular interest is the “Dormitio Mariæ”, the Dormition of Mary, which is found just below the central mosaic. The mosaic depicts the Marian mystery that the Eastern Church refer to as the […]

The Temptations of Christ

The Temptations of Christ (1480-1482) Botticelli, Sistine Chapel St Luke’s account of the temptation of Jesus in the desert is the Gospel reading on the first Sunday of Lent and it also signals the start of the penitential itinerary that will lead us to Easter Sunday. The representation of the devil as a tempter is […]

The Colours of the Virgin of Revelation

“The celestial woman had black hair that protruded from a green mantle that flowed down her body from head to foot. Below the mantle she wore a white robe tied around the waist with a rose coloured sash ….”I am who I am in the Divine Trinity. I am the Virgin of Revelation.” With these […]

Bethlehem’s manger in Rome

  Just below the main altar in the splendid Basilica of St Mary Majors, Rome, it is possible to venerate the precious relic of Our Lord’s crib.  The relics are protected in an elegant crystal reliquary in the form of a manger which is supported by four golden angels.  It is closed by a lid […]

Dormition of Mary video

Sr Emanuela was interviewed on Relevant Radio on the Solemnity of the Assumption and she talked about the Mosaic of the Dormition of Mary in St Mary Major’sBasilica Rome.

The Nativity

  The first “living” crib was created on Christmas Eve 1223 in Greccio, Italy.  Here, St Francis of Assisi, wanted to relive the happy Bethlehem night in which the Almighty God was born, wrapped “in swaddling clothes and placed … in a manger” by His mother. (Lk 2:7) To create this profound experience, he made […]

A light that shines in the darkness

In 1610, the Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst (1592-1656) went to Rome were he was fascinated by the works of Caravaggio that were characterised by his use of darkness and light. The young artist went on to develop his own distinctive style which was also characterised by the use of light. He specialised in setting […]