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Where are we going?

Watercolour shrine

In the stairway is a small shrine where a candle burns at times of crisis. Coming upstairs now to write this, I plucked the postcard of the Madonna & child, that was stuck in this little shrine some years ago. Top right hand corner in small print reads: Santa Maria “ad Transitum” fresco from the school of Giotto, Church of Domine Quo Vadis.

We must have picked it up on one of our many Sunday bike rides down the Appian Way to Rome. It’s a fascinating place, dedicated to the Roman God of Return called Rediculus. Travellers would stop at the sanctuary for a blessing before embarking on a long and dangerous journey. The Appian way leads to Greece, Egypt and the East. If the traveller returned they would stop and gives thanks to the God for protecting them. Later a Christian Church was built on the spot. According to the legend, when Saint Peter attempted to escape Rome before he was crucified, on his way out of town he came across Jesus walking in the opposite direction. He asked Jesus, “Lord, where are you going? “Domine, quo vadis?“. Jesus answered, “I am going to Rome to be crucified again ” Eo Romam iterum crucifigi“.

I woke up this morning with no idea what to write about this strange hybrid painting. Then this spontaneous discovery of the connection to quo vadis! Where are we going as people? Nowhere for now. But the question is a deeper one for the whole of humanity….QUO VADIS?

Marino is 20 kms from the Church of Domine Quo Vadis. We have 96 covid-cases now. Only one person has recovered so far. Recovery seems to take a long time. Our good friend who is working in the Netherlands, contracted the disease a month ago is now off oxygen. His oxygen saturation is almost back to normal. The doctors cannot tell him if he is ‘clinically’ healed. The test came back as a false negative. During the illness he suffered from confusion ‘unable to follow my own thoughts and felt at the end’…

578 deaths in Italy yesterday, and fewer infections than usual.