The pictures in the galleries that follow are ones that either I have taken on my various trips to Europe, or others who contribute to the site (e.g., Jörgen Vijgen) have taken while there, and supplied to me. Please feel free to download them as you see fit. In order to provide the best resolution possible, I have uploaded high-resolution versions of the pictures, so when you open the picture full-size it may take a moment or two for the picture to download to your computer—a larger picture might be up to 200kb in size; not too big, but large enough that people with slower connections may have to wait about 3 seconds for the picture to download.
I ask you please not use the pictures for any printed purpose without contacting me first.
Jörgen Vijgen's description: In June of 2009 I had the privilege of accompanying Father Leo Elders s.v.d., on his annual visit to the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Father Elders offered me a tour of some of the Thomistic sites near Rome. Knowing that he worked and taught in Rome for several years and had visited these places several times, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. So here are some pictures.
Our first stop was the monastery of Monte Cassino, where Thomas spend his childhood until 1239 (pictures 32-50). I especially loved the crypt of the church and the inscription next to the Benedictine Pope, Saint Celestine V: "Humilitatem adspexi in corde meo."
Our next stop was the town of Aquino, where---at least according to the plaque outside the house---Thomas "is thought to have been born" (pictures 4-8). The statue on the market place, erected to commemorate pope Paul VI’s visit in 1974, has an inscription that reads: "Nullus enim in Ecclesia fuit, qui, ut Aquinas, de mysterio fidei tam acri ingenii scie, tanta scientiae altitudine, tantaque auctoritate disseruerit."
Most impressive on our trip was the monastery of Fossanova (pictures 9-31) where Thomas, upon receiving the viaticum, is said to have pronounced these moving words: "I receive you, price of my soul's redemption, I receive you, Viaticum of my pilgrimage: for love of you I have studied, watched and toiled." Next to the abbey there is a small house where you can climb to the second floor to the Stanza di San Tommaso, the room where Saint Thomas died. Unfortunately, there wasn’t the possibility for Father Elders to say Mass in the room that is now a simple but beautiful chapel.
I took a picture of a large inscription on the left wall of the chapel (picture 21) but even magnified to the fullest it is difficult to read because it is partly distorted. If anyone can tell me something more on this text, I would love to find out more.
From there on, we already had to depart to attend the conference of the Academy. But than again, Saint Thomas might approve the saying "aut disce, aut discede."
In February, 2005, I was honored to deliver a paper at a conference in Bologna, Italy, on the presence and activities of the Dominican Order in Bologna in the early 13th century. The conference, entitled “L’origine dell’Ordine dei Predicatori e l’Università di Bologna,” was held from February 18-20, 2005, in the famous (and newly restored) Cappella Ghisilardi at the church of San Domenico (St. Dominic himself is buried elsewhere in the church). My paper, “La ‘Summa de poenitentia’ attribuita a Paolo Ungaro,” dealt with an early Dominican teacher, Paul of Hungary, who had been a member of the Bologna law faculty before joining the Dominicans; Paul’s manual for confessors, Summa de penitentia, is currently being edited by me; it represents the beginnings of the Dominican moral tradition. The papers from the conference will appear shortly in the journal, Divus Thomas, the house journal of the Studio Filosofico Domenicano in Bologna. As you'll see from the pictures, things got a little interesting...
In March, 2002, I went to spend a week in Rome to do work at the Vatican Library (manuscript work). Getting there on a Saturday, I went down to Thomas's birthplace in Roccasecca on the Sunday, then back to Rome for four days of wonderful research. The wallpaper I have here comes from these pictures, and from some I took in 2000, on a trip to Rome.