Sunday, August 8, 2010
Twice this weekend, I drove by Roman Catholic churches (St. Francis of Assisi Church iin Wakefield and St. Romuald Chapel in Matunuck) as people were walking in for Mass and, both times, I noticed that as far as clothing is concerned, anything goes. Shorts, bath suits, and mini sundresses. I saw it all.
Then I thought about the planning that goes into my wardrobe when I travel to places like Italy and France and want to go inside a church or basilica. Shorts, skirts above the knee, and tanks tops or sleeveless shirts are not allowed.
I just didn't get it at the time (maybe because I wanted my luggage to be lighter without the heavier clothing), but now I do. It's a sign of respect and it looks so much nicer to wear dressier clothing in a place of worship.
I only wear camisoles and tank tops rather than short sleeve tees, so it took me a while to get the hang of what would be appropriate for my European travels. However, now, in my everyday life in Rhode Island, I never leave the house without wearing high heels, skirts, or dresses for work and everything I mentioned plus jeans, for play.
And I still remember being a toddler in the late 1960s, and my mother going off to church wearing a hat with a veil and my dad calling her "Jacqueline." (I was born after the John F. Kennedy assassination, so had no idea what he was talking about).
St. Romuald Chapel caters primarily to the summer crowd. It's the first time I'd even seen the place although it's around the corner from Seaview Market, a grocery store I shop at several times a week.
St. Romuald was born in Ravenna, Italy c.951 to the royal Onesti family. He founded the Camaldolese Order which encompasses the way of life described in the Rule of St. Benedict.
Up until age 20, he lived a life filled with sin and pleasure which I take to mean plenty of sex and alcohol. Then, after seeing his father kill someone in a duel, St. Romuald checked himself into the Abbey of Sant'Appollinare.
He became a monk and later decided to live as a hermit on an island in the region of Emilia-Romagna. St. Romuald spend more than 30 years travelling throughout Italy and establishing monasteries and hermitages.
He said, "Watch your thoughts like a good fishermen watching for fish."
St. Romuald died on June 19, c.1025/27 at a monastery in Val di Castro and his feast day is June 19.