Dead People: Crypt of The Capuchin Monks
There is a sacred space in the catacombs of Rome — an ossuary (a chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains–wikipedia) which is dedicated as the tomb for possibly 4000 Capuchin clerics. Much can be found regarding how these bones came to be placed within this extensive tunnel- lined underground burial place, and we have included some links, below.
Additionally, there are SEVERAL other locations with similar crypts, one in particular which holds a significant inscripted poem, beseeching the visitors to think about death. Capela dos Ossos in Portugal, serves to remind us of our mere mortality and temporary station in the world as humans.
Our goal was more to point out the interesting poem that can be found within the walls of this place.
We felt that was more thought-provoking and appropriate to the subject of the meaning of life, and death, and where we figure in the scheme of things when each of us gets down to it, really.
We felt it was trying to tell us, as we looked at the eerie bones stacked up along the walls, and into the fleshless skulls piled high: Hey YOU, do not hurry past us so quickly! Your curiosity brought you this far, now stay a minute and LOOK at US! SEE us? YES! We are dead, and you, my friends, shall be dead too, someday. Yes, it IS an uncomfortable thought isn’t it? But we want you to slow down and think about who we were, what we were, what we did in life, what we contributed to the world as living human beings—then we want you to think about what YOU are doing with your own life, with your own gifts, and what you are giving to your own world around you. Are you making the best of what you have and doing what you ought? The longer you pause to ponder these things here, the wiser you shall be, the better you shall hope, the better you shall live out your days afterward…
We are crediting the
following to the Wikipedia where it included a number of pages dedicated to this place and its history, and this wonderful, solemn poem—in the original Italian along with an English translation:
Inside the Capela dos Ossos a poem about the need to reflect on one’s existence hangs in an old wooden frame on one of the pillars. It is attributed to Fr. António da Ascenção Teles, parish priest of the village of São Pedro (wherein the Church of Saint Francis with its Capela dos Ossos was erected) from 1845 to 1848.
|Aonde vais, caminhante, acelerado?
Pára…não prossigas mais avante;
Negócio, não tens mais importante,
Do que este, à tua vista apresentado.
Recorda quantos desta vida têm passado,
Pondera, que influido d’essa sorte,
Porém, se os olhos aqui levantas,
por Padre António da Ascenção
|Where are you going in such a hurry traveler?
Stop … do not proceed;
You have no greater concern,
Than this one: that on which you focus your sight.
Recall how many have passed from this world,
Ponder, you so influenced by fate,
If by chance you glance at this place,
by Fr. António da Ascenção (translation by Fr. Carlos A. Martins, CC)
©2014, C.S. Thompson.