This is the continuation of the story of the life of the Mother Maria Kolumba, foundress of the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. In our previous installment, Mother Kolumba reluctantly took a leave for her health, traveling to southern France at the insistence of the Father General, Reverend Jandel.
In April, Mother Kolumba left Cette to travel to Marseille in Southern France. It is there that Mary Magdalene was believed to have traveled, and lived doing penance in a cave. The cave is currently overseen by the Dominican Fathers.
With the permission of the Father General, the Reverend Mother traveled further to Rome by steam boat. She spent the month of May living in Rome, and upon her arrival, was able to participate in a ceremony of St. Catherine of Siena celebrated in the ancient church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.
During her stay, Mother Kolumba visited the holy places in Rome, growing in health and gradually being able to walk for farther and farther distances. She wrote back to her sisters, sharing her joys with them, including obtaining an audience with the Pope.
Asks for Blessings at Dominican Burial Places
From Rome, Mother Kolumba was fortunate enough to visit Assisi, where she saw the Church of St. Francis and the Portiuncula. Next, she visited the grave of St. Dominic in Bologna, and the Church of St. Anthony and Padua, asking for graces and blessings for her order at each of these holy sites.
Before returning to her cloister, the reverend mother stayed in Vienna, where she visited the Papal Nuncio, imploring him for a blessing. Her journey was made possible by the Father General who arranged for her travels during this leave. Finally, on August 3, Mother Kolumba returned to her order, as the sisters wrote, “our Dearest Mother came to us, healthy and happy, and we were awaiting her with great impatience as it was the ninth month of her absence. It was difficult to describe our happiness.”