We left Santa Maria alle Fornaci by train for Ostiense where we took the metro for the Colosseum. This is the fastest way to reach San Clemente, a church of unbelievable historical richness that is located only a couple blocks from the Flavian Amphitheater. Here Fr. Matthew Gray was so good as to celebrate Mass yet again for our group – our alumni have been so very good to us on this trip! – and then to take us on a tour of the various strata that make up San Clemente.
Perhaps “time machine” would be a more apt description for the church of San Clemente! After Mass, once we had descended the stairs into the archeological site, we were transported within a matter of minutes to the street level of the first century anno Domini. We sat in the antechamber of a Mithraeic temple; later we dipped our hands into a spring of water flowing past an early first century house.
After the visit to San Clemente, we passed through the Roman Forum on the way to Santa Croce, where we met members of the faculty, ate lunch, toured their facility, received a roof-top tour of the city, and visited the church adjoining their university.
In the afternoon we visited the Basilica of St. Augustine, where his mother, St. Monica, is buried. The evening found us at the residence of the those students that were sent from North America, before the building of the NAC, to complete their graduate studies in various disciplines. Fr. Matthew Grady was, once again, our very generous host, cooking us several courses in the grand Italian style.
Everyone was delighted with the view from the roof-top, the conversation, and the delicious food. Another amazing day filled with the amazing generosity of our friends and the sights of Rome!
(For the collection of photos from Day 9 and from all previous days, please go here.)