We are back, and were able to light the candle in 25 different churches, monasteries, & chapels.
My first order of business is to edit the photos of Susie's Candle lightings in all three countries.
I'm going to go to one of those on-line photo sites and produce a book for her of all our lightings.
As you would imagine, some of my very favorites were in Italy. I wrote a note in Italian and Alessandra edited for me so it didn't read like it came from Babelfish. We showed it to the officials in the places we visited. It explained what we were doing with the candle and asked permission to light and photograph it.
Here are my two favorite candle lighting experiences in Italy:
In the lower chapel of the tomb of St. Francesco di Assisi, we were permitted to go behind the rope to light our candle in the nook normally reserved for use by the monks. As visitors lined up in front of the tomb, a kind monk and a nun stood with us; shielded us from view; and said a prayer as we lit the candle. Even though cameras are strictly prohibited in the area, they graciously permitted to take the photo.
This tiny little church, dedicated to St. Antonio of Padua, is part of Borgo di Montemigiano. It is also built into the original 12th century city wall and is literally next door to our house. The chapel is closed for repairs to the tower and the entire area is encased in scaffolding and orange plastic netting. But when I showed my note to the construction foreman, he instructed all of his men to quit working for a few minutes. Then they removed tools and equipment from the area in front of the alter and all stood with us while we lit the candle. It was very moving.