May 25: Santa Maria Sopra Minerva (Kelly's Confession)

Perhaps due to the subject title, you thought you would be getting some "Awesome Kelly confession story." Well, you probably will, but that will have to wait until a long bus ride through Umbria! That said, my confession today is ...  though I love San Pietro in Vaticano (St. Peter's Basilica), and though I love San Giovanni in Laterano (Archbasilica of St. John Lateran), and though I love San Paolo Fuori Le Mura (Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls), and Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica of St. Mary Major), the church in Rome where I am most at home is Santa Maria Sopra Minerva (Saint Mary above Minerva.)

I can't explain it, but on my first trip to Rome, after seeing those four beautiful and breath-taking Papal basilicas, and after visiting somewhere under a ka-jillion other churches... as I first stepped foot through the doors of a Gothic church that looks like anything but a church, I felt peace—I felt I was home. Turns out, I am a Dominican at heart... and... I love Catherine of Siena, whose body is buried here (except her head, which is in the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena). Beyond the sacristy, the room where she died in 1380 was reconstructed here by Antonio Barberini in 1637. That is so amazing to me. I am always overwhelmed thinking I am in the exact location where my sisters, the saints, walked before me—carving the way to holiness.

Cool Fact: Just down a little side street from the church, tucked away in a corner, is the private chapel of St. Catherine. I know. I've been there...  and it was there where I first I prayed for this pilgrimage! It was kneeling in her chapel when I first asked my sister in "joy" (As a child Catherine was so merry that the family gave her the pet name of "Euphrosyne", which is Greek for "joy") to help me bring other women to experience this bond, this sisterhood. Ironically, though not to God, it was that very night when I sat with Joan Lewis at La Scaletta (a restaurant we will visit together) and I told her God had put on my heart to lead a pilgrimage called "WINE & Shrine." Go figure, Joan was all in!

Today, ask St. Catherine of Siena to intercede on our behalf and help us prepare our hearts to be lit on fire for the love of God and empowered with boldness to speak the truth of Christ.

Looking forward to journeying with you!

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