An experience proposed by Fr. Michele Lavra

On November 3, the Italian Jesuit and historian Michele Lavra invited his companions living in Rome to a special visit. Some 25 Jesuits, most of them recently arrived in Rome, gathered at the Church of the Gesù. For more than two hours, Father Lavra showed them around the church, the crypt, the whole building and more particularly the camerette or apartments where Saint Ignatius lived the last years of his life. Moreover, Fr. Michele gave an historical perspective and depth to the walls, corridors and chapels of these buildings. He explained how important it was for Ignatius and his first companions to live in the heart of the city, to serve people by living close to them. This perspective was very novel, at the time, for the members of a religious congregation.

After stopping in the side chapel where Fr. Pedro Arrupe is buried, one of the highlights of the visit was the meditation on a text about the last days of Fr. Lorenzo Ricci, General of the Society at the time of its suppression, when he was imprisoned at Castel Sant’Angelo. Fr. Michele also read, in the crypt next to his grave, the solemn declaration that Fr. Ricci had made on his deathbed. In the rooms of Saint Ignatius, the reflection focused more on the inner journey, on the path of purification proposed by our founder.

Here are some souvenirs, in images, of this excursion that focused on an historical and spiritual perspective.