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Life in Rome on the edge of the Pallottine family

In September 2017, I came to Rome to work as a secretary in the Curia of the Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation in Sant’ Anselmo on the Aventine. Since the partial integration into the community of monks was not as easy as it had sounded in preliminary discussions, I soon began to look for other contacts in the city. I knew already both the Pallottine Fathers and the Pallottine Missionary Sisters from translation assignments and, Sr. Maria Landsberger had even been to my home monastery in Dinklage for a few vacation days.

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So, I quickly became an (almost) regular guest at the Wednesday evening masses for the Pallottine family at San Salvatore in Onda. These are services with a simple and a very straightforward, unspectacular liturgy, with everyone receiving the vespers book and copies to sing and pray along. In a big city, where many routines are very anonymous and hardly anyone pays attention to their fellow human beings, this is very comforting. Those who come regularly are soon known by sight and, they greet each other – which is also a beautiful and not at all self-evident accent in this city of millions!

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Sr. Maria and the other sisters invited me again and again to the Procura, which was a joy for me each time: be it common vesper services at the beginning of Advent Sundays, some Masses on feast days, lunch, or tea in community, always accompanied by good conversations, and in the end, even a few meetings to learn Polish! I was lucky to have been given this in this big city and, especially in the situation of lockdown, with the obligation to keep one’s distance and to renounce contacts.

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Now I have finished my work in Sant’ Anselmo and return to my community in Dinklage. I look forward to seeing everyone again sometime – perhaps at the upcoming General Chapter?

Sr. Antje Eichhorn, O.S.B.