Huh....isn't that interesting!
Much of what I see here at the Generalate is for the most part familiar, or at least it feels like it's familiar. Religious art, marble staircases, stained glass windows, crucifixes in every room, beautifully kept grounds, helpful signage so you don't get lost (although numbering the floors is still confusing)....lots of images of St. John Baptist de LaSalle. Basically it's what you would expect to see when visiting the Mother House of a religious order that is familiar to you.
After this morning's prayer I started thinking about some of the things here that aren't so familiar so I went on a "Huh, isn't that interesting" treasure hunt! Here's what I found.
First, I peeked into the little room, or more like a box with a window, that the translator's sit in during our sessions. I found out that by Italian law translators have to get a break after forty-fives minutes -- now I know why it seems like we are always taking "coffee breaks"! After each session we have to put our translating receivers in a big case with slots to be charged. There's something satisfying about seeing them all red before the break and then coming back and they are all green!
Another interesting thing is that we have dessert at breakfast. So we all eat our fruit, yogurt, eggs and such and then the tradition seems to be that we get a fancy cappuccino with cookies....so dessert at breakfast! "Frollino" is a shortbread-type cookie, and it's delicious!
In the main chapel at the Generalate there are first class relics of St. John Baptist de LaSalle, and one of them is his skull. I hesitated posting this picture but here it is. This is for real, and it's a little creepy. The Catholic tradition has great reverence for relics. Venerating relics is a way to honor the life of a Saint, as well as provide us a way to enhance our spiritual connectedness to Christ and the Communion of Saints. Last May we had a first class relic of St. Benilde at school for a few days - it was just a tiny sliver of a bone so not nearly as shocking as a skull!
On a much more mundane note, I ran across a gold mail slot on a door with "DeLaSalle"written in gold letters. It makes me want to write a letter to St. John Baptist de LaSalle and slide it in there!
The last three pictures don't require much narrative - a barbershop chair, a bidet and my room key. I came across the barbershop chair in a corner room on the third floor - interesting. The bidet - I have kinda heard of this sort of thing but didn't think it was for real! Google it if you're not familiar, that's all I will say! And finally, my room key. You can't really tell from the picture, but the green part is three dimensional and is actually super heavy. It reminds me of those big beacon/buoy things you see in the ocean. Most of us are used to the credit card type room key that slides easily in your pocket. I guess the idea by giving us a big old heavy green-thing key is that we can't possibly lose it. Interesting!