Archive for August 21st, 2015

Sweeping Nuns, Rome, October 3, 2013

Sweeping Nuns, Rome, October 3, 2013


Sticking with the theme of nuns, this seemed an appropriate complement and contrast with the last-posted Favourite Shot, wherein nuns could be seen enjoying themselves and wielding pizza. In this image, taken along the Lungotevere Gianicolense in Rome on the way to the Vatican around 0740 AM in the morning, rather than kicking back, these nuns are al lavoro. I’m not entirely sure in what capacity they are working; perhaps there was a religious institution of some sort in the immediate vicinity, or are they an order who contributes to the cleaning of the streets more broadly? Perhaps someone can tell me. At the time, we were marching very rapidly in order to get in line for the Vatican Museums, famed for their length and the duration of the wait, and so I didn’t pause any longer than to take this shot.

Cleric-watching, including taking an interest in clerical artefacts and ritual, can be one of the more mild diversions when in Rome. As might be expected, there are various shops which specialise in items for the clergy ranging from the luxuriously opulent to the most austere. The sight of things such as beautifully crafted ceremonial items for giving mass on the fly, stylishly arrayed in velvet-lined, chic suitcases, is a curious reminder of the degree to which religion is a kind of craft. The stores specialising in underwear considered appropriate for nuns and priests can be très drôle for the unsuspecting tourist.

Incidentally, it’s my birthday today, and, as is traditional these days in our society, I thought I should draw attention to that fact. It’s also my first birthday as a father. I’m not entirely sure whether this makes much of a difference, but it is true that having a child draws a clear dividing line in life of the before and after. Perhaps, therefore, an image of people doing chores is an appropriate choice for this birthday.

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