May 11, 2013
June 3, 2011
May 14, 2011
There are many convent and monastery guesthouses in Rome but on July 15 a very special house of accommodation will open the doors. Domus Australia, a former seminary for the Marist Fathers has been totally renovated and the stylish single, double and triple guestrooms come with the most modern of facilities. All are ensuite with mini bar, airconditioning, heating, telephone and Internet access. Guests can relax in a comfortable lounge room or enjoy a drink in the rooftop bar. There is a guest laundry, lifts and a 150 seat chapel. A hearty Aussie style breakfast is served in the dining room. The centre caters for those who use wheelchairs and a resident Australian priest will celebrate daily Mass, in English. The aim of the centre is to provide a home away from home for Australian travellers. More info at www.domusaustralia.org
March 22, 2011
With the season of Lent well and truly upon us and with at least two false starts behind me, (willpower seems to grow less as I grow older) I was surprised to read an article about a young man from Iowa who has chosen to drink beer as his Lenten sacrifice – for a whole 46 days! I was rather taken aback at first but then I thought I should investigate further. Apparently, it has been a Lenten tradition among some monks in Europe to decline solid food during Lent, but sustain themselves on nourishing mugs of monastery brew, called ‘dopplebock’ (Doublebock).
This reminded me of when I was in Prague a few years ago with two of my children, both in their early twenties at the time. We were researching accommodation for the Good Night and God Bless travel guides and one morning, found ourselves in the restaurant of a vast medieval monastery on the perimeter of the city. After a couple of hours exploring the monastery and the accommodation in the hotel owned by the monks, I was in dire need of a morning pick-me-up. We sat in the garden of the monastery restaurant, the Klášterní šenk where I ordered a large mug of cappuccino. The kids had a quick, whispered conversation before one of them piped up with ‘Mum, we’ll have a beer because beer is cheaper than coffee’. I was a little taken aback, but at least they had the grace to look sheepish. After 20 odd years, this sudden interest in saving me money was somewhat astonishing. I checked the menu and sure enough a half- litre of beer was cheaper than a mug of coffee. I was told that the beer is made by monks of the local Strahov Monastery who have been brewing the St Norbert brand since the 14th century. Even though it was still morning, the kids got their way – after all, beer brewed by monks couldn’t be all that bad, could it?
In recent times I have discovered that a particular brew called ‘Lenten beer’ was first made by Paulaner monks in 1664 at their monastery in Neudeck ob der Au in Munich. However, the beer was so strong the monks were concerned about drinking it as their Lenten ‘penance’. To solve the quandary they sent a box of the beer to the Pope and asked him to make the decision on their behalf. However, the beer didn’t travel well and suffered from a jolting journey across the mountains and from the vagaries of the European weather. By the time it reached the Holy Father the beer had been severely spoiled. The Pope was shocked. The beer tasted so bad that he thought drinking it would be a wonderful Lenten Penance! This is the full-flavoured, malty, calorie laden beer that young man from the USA will be imbibing as his Lenten penance – and he has the permission of a much higher authority to drink it for the full 6½ weeks!
February 27, 2011
This week I read about a Spanish nun Sister María Jesús Galán, otherwise known as Sister Internet, who has been asked to leave her convent in Toledo in Central Spain because she spends too much time on the Internet making friends. Sister is apparently an avid fan of Facebook and had over 600 friends at the time she was asked to leave.
With the number of vocations fast dwindling, it seems a crazy decision by her superiors. Through Facebook, Sister María Jesús was building a bridge to those people cloistered nuns would not normally have the opportunity of meeting face to face. She was effectively communicating with the outside world, engaging others and encouraging response and comment.
On the other hand, Sisters Julie Vieira and Maxine Kollasch of the Catholic religious order Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in Monroe, Michigan run a much viewed website www.anunslife.org as part of their ministry. The website states, ‘Diversity of perspectives and opinions are always welcome here. We encourage dialogue even when it includes agreement or disagreement with us or with one another’. The site is linked to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Feedburner. The sisters blog, have a 24/7 chat room, an online gift shop (t-shirts and hoodies available) and run a live Podcast which is broadcast all over the globe. Used in such a way, the Internet provides an effective way of communicating and connecting with others on a social level, possibly even for nuns and monks who have taken a vow of silence.
Read full article at http://www.wanderingeducators.com/
December 24, 2010
Every best wish to my blog readers for a very happy Christmas and a relaxing, peaceful holiday period.
I will be celebrating Christmas with my family here in Australia, although we have two missing this year - one is working in Thailand and another in Adelaide. However, Sydney is a ‘hot’ Christmas location in more ways than one so there will be no snow, mulled wine or roast goose for us. Hopefully there will be barbequed prawns, oysters, salads and a typical Aussie pavlova, worked off with a cooling dip. But first its off to midnight Mass, something I have always wanted to attend in a cold climate. I can only imagine the warm, intimate atmosphere singing Christmas Carols by flickering candlelight in a medieval church or cathedral and then walking home in the snow (munching on roasted chestnuts). Maybe next year!
Have a lovely day on the 25th.
And happy travelling!!
December 17, 2010
After being away for three weeks I have just gone into my blog page to delete the thousands of spam e-mails delivered during my absence. Unfortunately it is a rather boring job with index finger on the spam button and just clicking, clicking, clicking………. They all have to be deleted individually and I realised that while I was doing this I accidentally deleted some genuine e-mails - and I like to respond to my emails. May I ask that if anyone reading this sent me an email over the past 4 weeks and got no response, please do send again and I will get back to you. The alternative e-mail address is
trishatgoodnightandgodbless.com substitute @ for the word ‘at’.
November 8, 2010
News from the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney:
In December 2008, a group of Australian Dioceses, led by the Archdiocese of Sydney and supported by each of the Australian Archdioceses finalised the process of buying the student house of the Marist Fathers located at Via Cernaia 14/B, Rome, to establish a new pilgrim centre for visitors to Rome. The centre is to be known as ‘Domus Australia’.
Continuing the long established Church tradition of providing accommodation for pilgrims to holy places, it is intended that Domus Australia will ultimately be much more than a place to rest, it will be a religious and cultural centre for pilgrims to Rome.
As well as offering very comfortable accommodation for pilgrims, it will provide a true Catholic pilgrimage experience, with daily Mass in English and an “information centre” providing the opportunity for visitors to Rome to learn more about the history of the Church and the many places of religious significance they should see while in Rome.
A key aim in establishing the pilgrim centre is to help tourists become pilgrims and while Domus Australia will be open to all, it is expected to be especially attractive and welcoming for Australian Catholic visitors to Rome and those from New Zealand and Oceania. Pilgrim groups will also be catered for.
An added benefit of establishing the new centre will be the opportunity to strengthen the link between the Catholic Church in Australia and Catholic Rome. The creation of Domus Australia has been welcomed by Pope Benedict XVI together with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, His Eminence Cardinal Bertone. The Centre also has the enthusiastic support of the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr Tim Fischer.
I hope to be in Rome at the end of November when I will visit Domus Australia, take some photos and find out further details. The web address is : www.domusaustralia.org
Ciao for now!
September 20, 2010
It’s been a long time since I have written a blog. However, I had ongoing trouble with my foot after the Camino and have been house bound for almost 2 months. And after suffering withdrawals from all that exercise I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself as well. When I went to the doctor here it was discovered that I had broken my foot on the walk, which was why all the drama (and pain) during the last couple of weeks walking the Camino. However, the bones have now healed and it is just the toe joints that have to totally recover. The good thing is that I am back pounding the pavements, (ever so gently and wearing inserts and lumpy and bumpy things on the soles of my trainers) as I want to try and get back the fitness I had gained when I finished walking those 850 kilometres across Spain. If only I had gone to the podiatrist BEFORE I went on the walk and not after!
However, I put the 2 months to good use and have used the time to write a guide to the Camino following the route and utilizing the accommodation I used. There will be no mention of accommodation in refugios or albergues in the guide, as they are spread all along the Camino and are easy to find. They change hands and close down and open up under another name quite regularly. This guide is for those who want to walk the Camino staying in places where they have the convenience of their own bedroom and bathroom, as I did. These places are not necessarily expensive but offer a little more comfort to those who want the peace and privacy of their own space in the evening. The guide will take the form of an e-book and when it is finished will be available for free download from the website.
In this blog I would like to include the link to a new YouTube video, made using a photo I took on the Camino. This was an incredible, heart-stirring moment which occurred early one morning as I was walking to Santo Domingo de la Calzada with my friend Marie. Link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJQPf75FT-M
The video can also be accessed via the link on the home page of the website www.goodnightandgodbless.com
Hope you like it!
Keep on walking!
July 3, 2010
I was up early as is the habit now, to get a few jobs done. First stop was the post office to send some of the contents of my backpack home so I don’t raise the ire of the Santiago based Ryan Air ground hostesses. Here I ran into Sinead who was doing the same thing - sending her hiking boots home by sea - I don’t think she ever wants to see them again!!!. We were given the same type of boxes to pack the goods in but different documentation to fill out - have no idea if we will ever sight our stuff again!
Then I rushed off to the cathedral for the pilgrim’s Mass. Sinead warned me to get there early if I wanted a good seat so I arrived for the 12pm Mass at 10.45. There was seating on both sides of the altar as well as in front of it. I managed to find an aisle seat in the 6th row from the front.
High on the ornate, gilded altar stood a bejeweled statue of St James and those sitting in the church could clearly see people climbing the steps at the rear of the altar and standing behind the statue to ‘embrace’ St James. The tomb of the saint lies in a crypt underneath the altar.
The service commenced on time and the huge cathedral was so packed that there didn’t even look to be any standing room left. Mass was a spectacular religious celebration and a performance worthy of the Sydney Opera House. The service is held every day during a Holy Year which is whenever St James’s Day falls on a Sunday.
. I counted more than 30 priests, at least 4 bishops, altar-boys and a young nun with the voice of an angel leading the singing. The countries represented by those who walked into the city in the previous 24hrs were read out. There was so much theatre, pomp and ceremony that I am sure every person present would have paid an entrance fee if requested!
I recognized one of the bishops on the altar as a man I had walked with on the Camino and found out later that he was the Bishop of Mexico City - I wish I could remember what I spoke to him about!.
While Mass was being celebrated more priests entered the cathedral and sat on pews in front of the altar. They each held a sign indicating the languages they spoke and then heard Confessions with the congregation looking on and with surprising little privacy. All thirty + priests were involved in distributing Communion which took almost half an hour. The highlight of the ceremony followed.
Secured to a thick rope attached to the lofty arched roof of the cathedral and hanging some 10 metres above the altar was a large, silver, urn shaped ‘botafumeiro’ or incense burner. The heavy burner is moved by 10 men operating a rope and pulley system and all clad in the style of a monk. The burner was carefully lowered to the front of the altar and lit with great ceremony. The ten men then got to work on the pulley and the botafumeiro swung higher and higher, back and forth under the arches like a giant pendulum, out and above the heads of the congregation, most of whom were watching in awe. After some minutes the botafumeiro was gradually slowed and returned to its ‘resting’ position. In a procession of red and white and with the smell of incense drifting through the cathedral, the priests, bishops and other clergy ceremoniously filed down the aisle and out of the cathedral. I think I could safely say that everyone inside was disappointed when the service came to an end - I certainly was.
After Mass I joined a long queue to ‘embrace’ St James and visited his tomb in the crypt. Then it was off to explore Santiago, an ancient old city of monasteries, churches and religious monuments and numerous souvenir shops selling all sorts of goods and souvenirs invoking the Camino.
travel guide, Good Night and God Bless, Camino, Camino de Santiago,