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25 July 2009

Sadly, summer has ended

It's rather sad, but, come Monday morning, my carefree and adventurous summer will be over. I will begin my new job as English Teacher Extraordinaire. I'm pretty excited about the new gig (actually, I'm SUPER excited!), but I'm a bit sad to see my fun summer of traveling and moving and new experiences. I was able to visit The Boy in DC four (I think), and we had some fun times. We got to see all of the city and do some exploring. On my most recent trip (this past weekend), we visited the Franciscan monastery that is in the northeast section of town. (Normally, this section of town is pretty sketch, but it is just beyond the borders of the sketchy part of town. We felt safe.) The monastery is actually the Holy Land in America. This means that this monastery is an exact replica of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. It is a fully functioning church with a friary and beautiful gardens as well as replicas of the various tombs, monuments, and catacombs that would be found in the Holy Sepulcher. It was breath-takingly beautiful.

This is the interior of the (replica) chapel in which St. Francis died a looooooooong time ago (800 years or so).

The back door of the above-mentioned chapel.

The entire church yard is surrounded by the Rosary Portico.
Along the portico is the Hail Mary written in over 170 different languages.

The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Well, at least, the statue of Mary that is in the grotto.

These are a few interiors of the church. I didn't take too many because I felt awkward taking pictures inside of such a sacred place, but there were a few I couldn't resist.

The shrine of the Blessed Mother.

The amazing bronze altar in the center of the church.
The shrine of St. Francis.
(Appropriate given that it is a franciscan monastery.)
It was a beautiful and moving visit to such a holy place. It allowed The Boy and I to have some quality time to connect with each other as well as reflection on our faith. We walked through the church and around the grounds for a few hours, absorbing the beauty and discussing both personal and religious matters. Not that we were having relationship problems or anything; it's just nice to be able to reconnect and deepen your relationship in a spiritual and awe-inspiring place. And it was also a wonderful place to end what I like to call "My DC Summer."
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