Thursday, September 2, 2010

Flashback 6: The Shroud of Turin and the Saints and Shopping Centers of Milan

So back toward the end of last semester, when the Shroud of Turin was unveiled for public veneration, a large group of us from the NAC left for our May travel weekend and took a train up to Milan and Turin on pilgrimage. It was a really awesome trip. There was, like in the retreat in Ars, a lot of fraternity which we don't get to share on the same level back in Rome. The visits to the Shroud, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Ambrose, and St. John Bosco's oratory were amazing. I have a particular devotion to St. Ambrose, so I was really excited to be able to visit him and spend some time in prayer with him.

Here we see the Duomo (Cathedral, essentially) in Milan. It's one of the largest in the world, and the whole piazza is one of the coolest I think I've ever visited. As you can see, there were just tons of people gathered there. We got to go down into the crypt to see St. Charles Borromeo, then we went up to the top to view the city from the parapets of the duomo.

Here is a rather morbid statue of St. Bartholomew, held to have been martyred by being flayed alive. If you notice, he is all muscle, holding his skin over his shoulder. This was inside the duomo.

The next few pictures are actually from the famous mall in Milan, one of the oldest and most famous in the world, I think. Notice the store name which really doesn't belong in the pictures... Prada, Louis Vuitton, McDonald's?

Now back to the Duomo. Here is the view from the top.

Next we went and paid our respects to St. Ambrose. He is buried in full bishop's regalia, along with two canonized deacons at his right and his left.

Moving on to Milan, this was the Church in which the Shroud was displayed. They had a really nice short presentation on the Shroud prior to your arrival at the Shroud itself. Once you got there, there were no flash pictures allowed, obviously, since they will effectively destroy the Shroud. The Shroud has actually aged a huge amount just in the last few decades just from exposure to natural and artificial light, so the area around the Shroud is slighter darker, as you can tell from the photo. The line was huge but it was totally worth it. We were even able to attend Sunday Mass in the Church, right in front of the Shroud! Those were such precious moments of silent prayer, before the Shroud bearing the marks of the wounds of our Lord. You could make out almost everything on it, too, down to the nail marks, the mark in the side, and the patch of marks from the crown.

Finally, here is a shot from the Oratory of St. John Bosco. I took a lot more pictures, but some of them have disappeared, unfortunately. He is buried within his church, as is St. Dominic Savio.

Another funny shot from my travels- I guess ANY window is an emergency exit according to this criterion...

Finally, at the end of our trip, you can see how close to the mountains we were. It was pretty awesome and weird all at the same time having no horizon in view, just mountains.

And so went my trip to Milan and Turin. It was pretty pricey, but it was well worth the expense, and I will remember it for a long time to come.

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