Postcard from Bergamo, Italy: A skeletal glance at her churches and religious art

Continuing on a sped-up photographic post-mortem of our visit to Bergamo this past summer….

These randomly combined snapshots are assembled primarily from her Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Alexander, a Roman soldier beheaded on this spot in 303 when the emperors created many martyrs in their efforts to purge their legions of all Christians; a baptistery first constructed in 1340, deconstructed but saved three centuries later and then finally reassembled across from the Cathedral another two centuries later; and the adjacent Colleoni Chapel, a church and mausoleum with distinctive marble patterns and a rose window built by the Colleoni family in the late 1400s. Plus, some other church images and religious art from Bergamo’s museums.

Apologies to Bergamo and artists including Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Oh, and to San Alessandro, for forgetting to mention flowers sprang up and bloomed from the blood shed during his martyrdom.

Postcard from Bologna, Italy: Basilica of San Francesco

A visit by Saint Francis of Assisi to Bologna in 1222 sparked interest in building a major church for the Franciscans serving the city. The Gothic Basilica of San Francesco was completed in 1263.

Enhancements added later include a Venetian marble altar sculpted by Jacobello and Pier Pabla dalle Masegne.

Pope Alexander V (1339-1410), one of the “antipopes” reigning during the time of the schism resulting in competing popes ruling from Avignon, is entombed here. He died unexpectedly one night in Bologna while in the sole company of one of his cardinals. The cardinal was elevated to become Pope John XXIII (1370-1419), leaving a cloud of suspicion lingering in the minds of some.

Aside from a few takeovers for usage as military barracks or weapons storage, including the French in 1796 and an Italian war in 1842, the church has remained under the auspices of the Franciscans since then.

Postcard from Guanajuato, Mexico: Templo de San Cayetano, the patron saint of jobseekers

The amazingly rich vein of silver discovered in the mine of La Valenciana provided Antonio de Obregon y Alcocer with more than enough wealth to commission a major church in honor of his patron saint, San Cayetano.

The Churrigueresque church perched above the city of Guanajuato was constructed of cantera rosa, pink volcanic stone, between 1765 and 1788. The second tower either collapsed or was never built, perhaps because the original architect died before the church was completed. Three enormous gilded altars reflect the profits mined nearby.

San Cayetano (1480-1547) was not a fan of wealth, however. In fact he turned his back on greedy clergymen he encountered in Rome and worked in Vicenzia, Italy, for reform of the church. Becoming a priest at age 33, he distributed his riches to the poor. He dedicated himself to helping the lower classes and those in need of work. To combat usurious lenders preying on the poor, he founded a charitable organization accepting pawned objects in exchange for loans.

As San Cayetano is regarded as a patron saint of laborers, he probably comforted the miners. He is considered the saint to answer prayers for pan y trabajo.

Struggling to land a job? Maybe it’s time for a pilgrimage to La Valenciana to light a candle to San Cayetano.