Thursday, August 21, 2008

Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

This is the Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, not the Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Asissi. Though it seems to me like some was going around building churches on top of Temples to Minerva. In front of the basilica, which is about twenty steps away from the Parthenon, is a beautiful Bernini sculpture of an elephant with an obelisk on his back. Inside the church are some of the remains of St. Catherine of Siena. If you’ve ever been to Siena, you’ll remember her head in a reliquary in the duomo. Recently I’ve learned that some hagiographers now think St. Catherine was definitely anorexic, and possibly crazy. Still, she convinced the pope to end the Babylonia Captivity and surely your average woman in that time couldn’t have done that.

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