Dispatch #4 from Sr. Bobbi!
Just 24 hrs ago Sr. Ruth and I were actually in front of the small cell of Benedict in Rome (above). It had only enough space for him to stretch out but not to move around in. Before he finished his studies, he grew so frustrated with the decadence of Roman society that he left to find a more spiritual way.
The church where his cell is was unused for many years. Then someone got permission from the bishop to open it as a shrine to St Rita. In the process it was discovered to be linked to Benedict and became popular in his name (although it is also a memorial to St Rita).
Earlier in the day we toured the church thought to be in Benedict’s home parish. We toured the underground crpyt area that had a small remnant of a mosaic of Benedict healing a leper. When down in that area it seemed sacred: I could imagine Benedict walking there.
It is so unreal to think such old structures are still standing and, in fact, still being used. Both churches have regular daily masses. We have been profoundly moved to be so close to Benedict!