Up to the mountaintop and down to the gift shop

From Brendan Johnson’s Rome Experience Journal, June 5, 2010:

This was a day of outings for the seminarians.  One group went up a mountain behind the city of Norcia – about a five-hour climb — and another group went with Fr. Baker around the city and then up to the site of an old Capuchin monastery (which will eventually be the site of the monks’ monastery) for lunch.  I went with Fr. Baker because I didn’t have any of the right clothes with me for that type of hiking – I guess next time I’ll have to plan ahead a little better.  At any rate, it was a nice little trip around the city.

Fr. Eric at the top of the mountain

We were able to see the outside of the church (San Lorenzo) where Sts. Benedict and Scholastica were born and got a wonderful explanation of the crypt church at the Basilica of St. Benedict from Fr. Benedict, OSB, a friend of Fr. Baker’s. He explained that the crypt church was originally a Roman basilica used for offices and the like.  St. Benedict’s father was a Roman official, and was given the building for his own private use when he moved in to Norcia for his work. Tradition holds that the altar on the left of the tabernacle was where Sts. Benedict and Scholastica were born.

 After a trip to the monks’ gift shop, we made our way up to the old Capuchin monastery, where we explored the ruins and had lunch on an overlook that has a beautiful view of the old city of Norcia and the more modern part. In all I found it a nice day – time to relax, but also some time to make our way around the countryside a little bit and enjoy the company.

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