(From “Chronicle of the American Sisters of the Eastern Province of the Canonization of St. Louise” , used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
March 8, : Our first visit of the day was to the ancient church of Sts Cosmas and Damien … After Mass we made a tour through the Church. It is very small, comparatively speaking but contains an untold number of relics of the martyrs and saints. The main altar resembles our large reliquary for almost everywhere the eye rests, it beholds a relic. The mosaic in the dome, drawn much closer to the sight [sic] because of the several reconstructions of Rome, is in a splendid state of preservation. As a border underneath the mosaic there are circular portraits of saints very unfamiliar to modern generations.
The Church of St. Praxedes was next on our list. It was an exceedingly interesting, devotional, and historical spot. After examining the various chapels, mosaic, paintings, etc., we followed our guide, a young monk, into the crypt, where we saw the sarcophagi containing the relics of St. Praxedes and her cousin, St. Prudentiana … [In] the far end of the church is a niche nearing a long slab of grey and white marble, once used as a bed by St. Praxedes. Above the slab is a beautiful painting showing her asleep on this penitential couch. In the relic room we venerated many relics, and in particular two spines from the Holy Crown of Thorns …
Our third stop of the morning was at the Church of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem. This is another of Rome’s earliest Churches, having been built by St. Helena, and its ancient walls enshrine relics of the highest type … Completing the Stations one comes to the sanctuary containing the relics. A young, white-robed monk exposed the relics for our veneration. An aspiration or two in Latin and by the electric lamp held by the monk we saw a large cross in the center of the alter. It contained four large sections of the true cross … [This] church is so rich in relics it would be useless to try to name them all …
This afternoon we went to the Church of St. Susanna … The patroness of the church is not the Susanna of the Old Testament, but Saint Susanna, a Roman maiden who was martyred in 290 A.D. on the site of the present church. Recent excavations have brought to light many evidences of the house of St. Susanna. In one of the side chapels there is an appealing picture of the martyrdom of St. Lawrence.
The visiting Sisters are arriving in large numbers, mainly from various parts of Italy … Our Western Sisters will arrive tomorrow night with our Most Honored Mother.
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