Dispatch #11 from Sr. Bobbi
Our residence here in Rome is the Generalate of the Tutzing Benedictines. They are a missionary order with Sisters all across the world. The photo above is their community tree.
Their daily schedule of 6:30 Lauds and 7:00 Eucharist NEVER changes. We do not pray with them but we do attend Mass, except on Sunday when we have our own with our invited priests.
When you go to Mass you never know what language the music will be sung in – Korean, African, Portuguese – but the liturgy is in English. It gives me a great sense of the universal church. The Millwood priests, just down the road, serve as chaplains. One in particular I like very much for he has a good insightful introduction. That is the practice here – no homily but a brief opening introduction.
At our opening week picnic with the ‘Casa Sisters,’ as we fondly call them, I befriended Therese. She is one of their four elected conciliars and is responsible for communication with select missions as well as general congregational matters.
Therese is from Uganda and has a delightful personality. She is a balance of humor and seriousness and is fluent in English. She speaks lovingly of the elderly Sisters and of those who are ill. She also speaks fondly of all the missions and their good works.
She misses Uganda. The Sisters have schools and hospitals, and work with AIDS patients there. She said the Clinton Foundation has made a significant difference in funding for education and distribution of meds. People with AIDS are living longer and there is much, much more understanding of the disease. Because of that, people do not fear AIDS patients as once happened.
The Casa is like a hotel. Tourists stay and meals are included if you want them. So there has been a variety of people staying with us. Convents and monasteries are almost like bed and breakfasts all over Europe. This work is sometimes the Sisters’ best income. The Sisters here do all the work, although two women help with registration, getting guests around and housekeeping. Casa is not a retreat house as I thought before I came.
The grounds are quite spacious and walkable and full of many flower and veggie gardens. There is one man in charge of grounds.
My room is very comfortable. I have two windows and can watch the morning sunrise. Also, I do get entertained by the sports club across the street as they have dance lessons three nights of then week. Saturday they usually have a band – mostly rock and roll. The 80’s song ‘YMCA’ is popular!
Finally, the food is rather bland and not good Italian. We all agree that it is Italian trying to be American! However, we do enjoy our Italian food groups of pasta, bread and wine at lunch (pranza) and dinner (cena). We get fresh hard rolls, cereal and juices each morning. The coffee is strong and bitter, but with a little water and milk it works very well for my two morning cups.
The CASA Sisters are sad we are leaving soon and that the program is ending. We are too!