The church and convent of Santa Sabina on the Aventine hill in Rome have been home to the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) since the 13th century. On 3 April I was enjoyed a visit both to Santa Sabina Church and into the Curia. My thanks to Fr Bonaventure Agbali OP, Secretary for the Master of the Order who gave me a lovely tour of Santa Sabina.
The visit included seeing the famous orange tree planted by St Dominic. In the photos you will see the view that anybody visiting Santa Sabina can see of the orange tree literally through a hole in the wall compared with the view from inside Santa Sabina with me standing in front of the tree. I loved seeing the small room which is now used as a Chapel but was once the sleeping area for Dominic. In this room it is just the area where the altar is that was the sleeping area for Dominic. Where the chairs are would have been a hallway. In this room is a beautiful icon of Dominic and Francis together which I found very inspiring and lots of Missals – all in different languages (even one in Arabic!).
They enjoy amazing views of Rome and lovely grounds with a park right next door that has many orange trees (all with fruit this time of year). As we walked through Santa Sabina I was struck by how much I truly felt “at home”. Most people we met stopped to chat, some knew Kevin Toomey and a Filipino Dominican Sister knew one of the Auckland Diocesan priests who I know. It is a small world… we shared stories of how we each live out the Dominican charism. I enjoyed a lovely lunch with about 20 friars who are based at Santa Sabina, each doing their own ministry.
4 April 2017