VATICAN INSIDER: FR. MICHAEL MAHER, THE BOLLANDISTS AND THE LIVES OF SAINTS
In the interview segment this week, my guest is Jesuit Fr. Michael Maher. Father is a native of Milwaukee, a scholar and an expert on the Belgium-based Society of Bollandists. Named after the Flemish Jesuit Jean Bollandus, the Bollandists are an association of scholars and historians who since the early 17th century have studied the lives of the saints. This week in Part II, Father and I talk about research, how to distinguish between fact and legend and the challenges that must be overcome in research such as knowing ancient languages or even penmanship, and the amazing, unique Bollandist library. By the way, as I mentioned last week in Part I, he is a friend of EWTN’s Fr. Mitch Pacwa (another celebrated Jesuit).
The following photos were taken on two different occasions when Fr. Michael, after a guided tour of the Gesu church and St. Ignatius Loyola’s living quarters, offered us some refreshments on the church’s rooftop terrace! The wonderful late afternoon Roman sun, then the setting sun opens onto the magic of Rome by night.
As the sun sets
And it’s nighttime in Rome –
Soon, in a “coming attraction.” I’ll bring you some stunning photos of the Gesu church, and the rooms that St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, lived in that are both adjacent to and part of the Gesu. After that visit, Father Maher was also our guide on a visit to the church of St. Ignatius.
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INSIDE ROME’S SECURE VAULT FOR STOLEN ART
I could not post this on Facebook simply by clicking on the FB icon on this article so I offer the link to the entire story – one of the most interesting items you may well read all day! The title is the key to this fascinating story and, to whet your appetite, here are the first three paragraphs (the story has some fairly amazing photos as well):
“When a ceramic relief depicting the Madonna with Child was returned to the church of Scansano in Tuscany, Italy, after five decades of absence, the town threw a solemn celebration. The local bishop, priest, prefect, mayor, and law enforcement officials all attended. On a September morning in 2020, a crowd gathered. The torso-sized relief was propped up, surrounded by plants. A band blared nearby.
“The relief, by celebrated Renaissance sculptor Andrea della Robbia, had been stolen on a summer night in 1971, and had been missing ever since. “I was a kid, but I remember it there, on the altar,” mayor Francesco Marchi told the Italian publication La Repubblica. “I remember the dismay the day after the theft.”
“After Italian authorities found and seized the priceless artwork in Canada, but before it made its return to Scansano, the relief spent a few months in a little-known vault tucked away at the edge of Trastevere, a district of central Rome where, under normal circumstances, swarms of tourists would stroll among washing strung above their heads, climbing plants, and all manner of eateries. On the ground floor of an unremarkable orange, three-story building, behind a 20-foot wall, and under the 24/7 gaze of carabinieri surveillance, the Madonna sat among hundreds of Roman sarcophagi, Renaissance paintings, and legendary violins. Every item that finds itself in the vault has one thing in common: a brush with crime.” Inside Rome’s Secure Vault for Stolen Art – Atlas Obscura