Our Monastery in Rome is called Sts John & Paul's
Stamp: St Paul of the CrossIt is named after two Roman Martyrs from the same family who were Officers in the Emperor's Bodyguard. When it was discovered that they had become Christians, they were challenged to renounce the Faith but, on their refusal, they were killed and buried in their own home for secrecy sake. Afterwards, when their grave was discovered the place became a centre where other Christians gathered for prayer and pilgrimage. In due time, a church was erected on the site and later it was enlarged. The new Basilica, dating back to the 5th century, required the filling-in of the house beneath and it was only less than 100 years ago that excavations revealed many of the rooms hitherto filled with rubble.

Passionists have occupied the old monastery for only the past 200 years. Now there is a chapel to the side of the old Basilica where the Relics of St. Paul of the Cross are venerated. Many weddings take place in the Basilica which is situated on the Coelian Hill overlooking the Colosseum while the house is the home for the Passionists and another young community which occupies the top floor. St. John & Paul's is also the administrative centre for our Congregation where the Superior General and his advisors are located. It is a residence too for international students who come from Passionist retreats throughout the world to attend the Roman Universities.

"This view of the facade of the Basilica"This view of the facade of the Basilica is what one sees on approaching the Retreat along the Via St. Paolo della Cruce. It is a narrow little roadway closed to through-traffic. It leads from the Church of Santa Maria in Domenica to another old Church, San Gregorio. Half-way up the Hill is our retreat.

To the right of the picture is the wall surrounding the monastery garden while on the other side is the wall around the Coelimontana Park. The campanile of the Basilica which rises out of the trees is set close to the church in the Piazza SS. Giovanni e Paulo. Right opposite the entrance to the monastery is another busy entrance which gives entry to Canali Cinque - which is one of the Italian T.V. studios. All day long the Piazza is full of cars. Some of these would belong to Wedding Parties but, I'd guess that most of the vehicles would be parked by folk from the TV studios for they remain until late at night when the church has been closed for hours. On Sundays crowds come to the Park and many of them travel by car so that even then the Piazza is occupied. A gateway gives entrance to the grounds on the Via St. Paolo della Croce just where the red and blue sign prohibits parking. There is another entrance for cars in the Piazza close to the base of the campanile but the front door of the Retreat is approached by steps and a ramp.

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