Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weekend under the Tuscan Sun

Hey everyone!

I was in Tuscany from Saturday to Monday, and it's been non-stop ever since I got back, but I decided now would be as good a time as ever to procrastinate studying for my Italian final tomorrow, so here goes.

This weekend was a program trip. This means that everyone goes (45 students), our transportation and hotel and dinners are paid for, and our tour guide is our very own Dr. Dawson-Vasquez, the director of the program and fondly referred to as DDV. It's certainly not a bad way to spend a weekend, and Tuscany was beautiful to see.

We boarded our bus at 8am on Saturday and headed to Siena. There we saw a museum, a cathedral (Duomo) and St. Catherine of Siena's house.. and her head.

If you spend any time in Rome, you will be sure to see a lot of relics and many bodies of saints. Nearly every church you walk into has some saint's body on display or in the altar. It's something that in itself can be a little uncomfortable, but becomes even more so when the matter of splitting up said bodies gets involved. You see, I've seen St. Catherine of Siena's body, in Santa Maria sopra Minerva. I went to Mass right next to her body, in fact. Her head, however, rests in Siena. It's something I've wondered about often during my time here, what with the different aspects of how Catholics see the physical body, and the Theology of the Body and how that plays into it, and some other factors, and on this trip, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask both DDV and Msgr Irwin about it. It's definitely something I'll keep looking into.

View from Siena
The next day, we went to San Gimignano. Sunday was probably my favorite day. It's a beautiful little town with incredible views that my pictures cannot hope to do justice to and tons of little shops with beautiful ceramics. Also, we got to go to a Mass celebrated in English, which is always a huge bonus for me. Later that day, we went to Castel de Trebbio, where we did a wine tasting! It was so fun. I'm not much for red wines, but I did like the white wine they gave us. We sampled 4 different wines and then were treated to a wonderful 4 course dinner.

Wine tasting. I think you can tell the white one in the middle was my favorite.
San Gimignano
Dinner at Castel de Trebbio

On Monday, we had a few hours in Orvieto, where we saw another Duomo. I have to admit, I was not a fan of either of the Duomos we saw. The colors of Siena are black and white, so the whole thing is built with black and white stone, and frankly, to me it made the churches look like circus tents.

All in all, Orvieto was a bit of a let-down, since it's definitely the off season for them there and almost no stores were open. We even had a hard time finding a place that was open for lunch. However, Orvieto had one huge redeeming factor. The Duomo there houses the corporal with the blood of Jesus from the Eucharistic miracle in 1260 on it.

A corporal is the cloth that is laid over the altar while the priest consecrates the host during Transubstantiation (the bread and wine becoming Christ's Body and Blood). The story of the miracle is that there was a priest who was doubting the true presence of Christ in the species of the bread and wine, and during Mass, while he was consecrating the host, the corporal started to bleed.

Here's a link to a priest explaining it if you want to know more!
"The Eucharistic miracle of Orvieto is an extraordinary reminder for us of a simple truth, that Jesus Christ, God Himself, the creator of heaven and earth, Our creator, comes to us and gives Himself to us in the Eucharist." 
 It really was an incredible thing to see.

Should be another crazy week, keep me in your prayers!

Link to the Tuscany Facebook Album: Under the Tuscan Sun

Love, Chris

P.S- please tell me someone appreciated the pun of the Blood of Christ being a redeeming factor #TheologyMajorHumor

1 comment:

  1. Chris-I'm loving your blog! If I ever achieve sainthood (not likely...) I just want to put it out there that I do NOT want my body on display anywhere! I don't particularly like being the center of attention now so surely would not approve of it when I'm dead. Or-maybe if I'm dead I wouldn't care... Hmmm. Much to ponder.