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March 22


Saint of the day:
Saint Lea of Rome

The Story of St. Lea

A letter which St. Jerome wrote to St. Marcella provides the only information we have about St. Lea, a devout fourth century widow. Upon the death of her husband, she retired to a Roman monastery and ultimately became its Superior. Since his correspondence was acquainted with the details of St. Lea's life, St. Jerome omitted these in his letter. He concentrated instead on the fate of St. Lea in comparison with that of a consul who had recently died. "Who will praise the blessed Lea as she deserves? She renounced painting her face and adorning her head with shining pearls. She exchanged her rich attire for sackcloth, and ceased to command others in order to obey all. She dwelt in a corner with a few bits of furniture; she spent her nights in prayer, and instructed her companions through her example rather than through protests and speeches. And she looked forward to her arrival in heaven in order to receive her recompense for the virtues which she practiced on earth. "So it is that thence forth she enjoyed perfect happiness. From Abraham's bosom, where she resides with Lazarus, she sees our consul who was once decked out in purple, now vested in a shameful robe, vainly begging for a drop of water to quench his thirst. Although he went up to the capital to the plaudits of the people, and his death occasioned widespread grief, it is futile for the wife to assert that he has gone to heaven and possesses a great mansion there. The fact is that he is plunged into the darkness outside, whereas Lea who was willing to be considered a fool on earth, has been received into the house of the Father, at the wedding feast of the Lamb. "Hence, I tearfully beg you to refrain from seeking the favors of the world and to renounce all that is carnal. It is impossible to follow both the world and Jesus. Let us live a life of renunciation, for our bodies will soon be dust and nothing else will last any longer." Her feast day is March 22.









Visit The Pantheon!


The Roman Pantheon is the monument with the greatest number of records: the best preserved, with the biggest brick dome in the history of architecture and is considered the forerunner of all modern places of worship. It is the most copied and imitated of all ancient works.


Michelangelo felt it was the work of angels, not men. Where it stands was not chosen by chance, but is a legendary place in the city’s history. According to Roman legend, it is the place where the founder of Rome, Romulus, at his death was seized by an eagle and taken off into the skies with the Gods.


But what was it for and what does the name mean? Pantheon Rome The name comes from two Greek words pan, “everything” and theon, “divine”. Originally, the Pantheon was a small temple dedicated to all Roman gods. The Pantheon is not only its architecture or external beauty, but also the fact that it represents a true cultural revolution. It was the first temple built for the common people. Today, this could seem an obvious concept, but in ancient times temples were forbidden places, only for vestals and priests. The term temple comes from the Latin templum, which means “delimited space”; inside was sacred and with often just enough space for a sacrificial altar or a brazier for divine fire; temples were conceived to be beautiful and imposing outside and everyone was denied access; the penalty for access was death. The Pantheon overturns this concept and for the first time the idea of a place of worship open to everyone was conceived, where the faithful could spiritually communicate with the Gods. 

In the VII century, the Pantheon was turned into a church dedicated to Mary and the Martyrs. The Pantheon is also a national Mausoleum; it is the resting place of the Italian Royal family and some great Renaissance artists including Raphael. Yet again the Roman Pantheon is the forerunner of several other famous buildings, like that of the same name in Paris or Westminster Abbey. Today, the square with this ancient masterpiece “Piazza della Rotonda” is one of the most popular places in the city. It was built during the papacy of Clement XI by knocking down several buildings. Over the centuries, the Pantheon in Rome has been ransacked, closed, used as a fortress and as a church. It has suffered earthquakes and floods, but has survived the centuries intact and today, after more than two thousand years, it is still the bewitching backdrop to the walks of Romans and tourists.




Romeman Sytle Porketta!
Across from the Pantheon is the best little cheese, wine, pork shop and the porketta is just outstanding! The name of this glorious shop is Antica Salumeria! You will have found this amazing food emporium when you see a 6 foot tall wall painting of the blessed mother above the shop doors! No wonder it is heavenly! 


What is Porchetta? Literally translated, porchetta means “little pig”. In Italy, porchetta can refer to a roasted whole suckling pig, an older pig, or just the pork belly roll, “porchetta tronchetto”. No matter what type of porchetta, there is always one common thread: the rind is always included and it is crispy! 

How to Make Porchetta? It’s truly super easy, and only takes a minimal of ingredients and a few steps! Weights and amounts are not critical, so please don’t stress on exact amounts. Fennel Pollen is the star of the show to make porchetta. It really is a key ingredient and it is an authentic Italian flavor, but may be difficult to find. There really is no substitute since fennel/fennel seed and fennel pollen taste very different from one another. One may find wild fennel pollen, at a gourmet shop, or on amazon!  


  • one fresh porchetta roast with the skin (ask your reputable butcher) weighing 8 to 10 lbs

  • Kosher or sea salt (I used Maldon)

  • fresh or dry rosemary

  • wild Tuscan fennel pollen (if you can source it) at least 1 oz, but as you can see, more is better in this case (it is expensive, though) this brand is from Italy's most famous butcher

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • good quality extra virgin olive oil

  • crusty Italian bread rolls for serving


Prepare the Porchetta

  1. Open the piece of pork onto the butcher paper or clean countertop, skin side down.

  2. Sprinkle generously with the salt, then work the salt into the pork.

  3. Next, add the rosemary. We used fresh rosemary as I have a bush in my garden. Rub it and crush it between your fingers to release the oils.Add the freshly ground black pepper all over the porchetta. Now add the fennel pollen. Sprinkle evenly over the pork, but save a little of the pollen for after the porchetta has been rolled.


Roll the Pork Belly and Tie it.

  1. Roll it tightly, but as you roll it, sprinkly some salt onto the unseasoned pork. Continue rolling until you reach the end.

  2. Keeping the seam side down, start tying the pork. Another pair of hands will make this part immensely easier. There's no need for fancy ties or sailors' knots, just wrap, double knot and cut. 

  3. Repeat every few inches. The goal is only to keep the porchetta closed, so don't tie it too tightly, either. As you can see, ours is far from perfect, but unless you're serving the Queen of England, it won't matter.


Finish the Preparation and Roast.

  1. Turn the roast seam side up and add more seasonings, including the rest of the fennel pollen to the non-skin parts of the pork which are exposed (including the ends).

  2. Place seam side down on a rack on a roasting pan or baking tray. Cover the ends with aluminum foil and secure with toothpicks.

  3. Drizzle with olive oil and rub all over the skin with your hands. Sprinkle with more salt and rosemary.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C).

  5. Place in the hot oven when it comes to temperature and roast for 1 hour, then lower the temperature to 350°F (170°C) and continue to cook for about another 2 hours. Check the center of the roast when it reaches 170°F (76°C) remove from the oven. Take the foil off the ends and place on top of the porchetta, and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. 

  6. Using a sharp knife, remove one or two of the pieces of twine. Cut into slices and serve on crusty Italian rolls, or bread, Italian style!


Buon appetito!

PS if you would like the skin extra crispy cut the pork skin in a diamond pattern when raw...if needed ladle with hot oil. If the skin is well oiled the skin should blister and become so good and crispy! If the pork is not crispy ladle the hot oil after it has cooked. Magic will happen but be very careful!!!!




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