No. 195 UCDA P150/2260

Handwritten notes by Eamon de Valera on his trip to Rome

Rome, 27 May 1933

I have been here now for a few days and have more than half the Jubilee Devotions done.

On arrival Wednesday, I was met at the station by a large body of young clerics who were enthusiastic in their greeting. On Thurs. I went to Confession and Holy Communion in the Amer. Paulist Church, Sta Susanna. Later we went to St. John Lateran where we assisted at High Mass with the Pope presiding. St. John Lateran is the Cathedral Church of Rome. Later we went to see the Excavations of the ancient Port of Rome 'Ostia'. The sea has receded about a mile and the modern Ostia is that distance from the old. The remains of ancient and medieval Rome are now to be seen everywhere one goes in the city and its neighbourhood.

Yesterday Friday I had an audience with the Pope. His Holiness though now an old man, 76 I think, is strong and apparently quite alert in mind. Later I saw Cardinal Pacelli the Cardinal Sec. of State who is simple and most likeable. I would put him at under 60 years of age.

We then saw Card. Lauri and Cardinal Gasparri with his nephew Mgr. Bernadini, the new Apostolic delegate to Australia. I have met the latter in the United States. He was a professor of Canon Law in Washington University.

I forgot to say that when leaving Card. Pacelli he gave me the Sash and 'Grand Cross' of the Order of Pius IX, a decoration from the Pope. I had no information in advance and I was not asked if I would like it or not. It was taken for granted that I would and I didn't get the opportunity of having it commuted into something else for Ireland as I had hoped. I think the Rector of the Irish Coll.1 was responsible for the suggestion. His view was that as my predecessor had been decorated anything that might appear like discrimina- tion would be bad for the Church.

Yesterday Sat. I had an audience with the King of Italy.2 He spoke English exceptionally well, and knows his politics well. He is obviously very intelligent and a hard worker. Mussolini and he get on well together.

We did the Jubilee in St. Mary Major and a [word indecipherable] in St. Peters.

After lunch saw Card Lauri who returned our visit and had a reception at the Legation where I met the 'Irish Colony' in Rome.

Sunday 7.45 am. I am now about to go to the Catacombs of St Callixtus and Sebastian to hear mass - possibly to serve it. Later I shall be at lunch at St. Isodore's and in the evening at St Peter's for the beatification of Caterina Labouré, of the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul: [writing later I can say this programme was duly carried out.]

Monday 29. I laid wreath on monument to unknown soldier - visited the Pantheon - lunched at the Irish College and visited Mussolini.

Tuesday 30. Mass at St. Agnes, visited catacombs there. Visited St Clemente (Irish Dominicans) St. Patricio (Augustinians) Christian Brothers who gave Irish Exhibition.

Wednesday 31. Went to Church of St. Cecilia for Mass. The martyr's body is under high altar but no mass there. Went then to St. Mary of the Angels (the Church where King and Royal family and military go) and went to Mass there.

Later I went to the Fascisti Exhibition and gave lunch at the legation to Card Lauri, Mgrs Luzio, Pizani, Bernadini and the heads of the Irish Colleges and religious houses here.

In the evening I called on Cardinal [blank] doyen of the Coll. of Cardinals.

Cardinal Lumasoni Biondi [word indecipherable] apostolic [word indecipherable] to the United States now Hd. of Propaganda.

Cardinal Sparelli; protector of Irish College formerly 'Auditor' in American Apostolic legation and later to Havanna and Canada.

1 Michael Curran, Rector of the Irish College in Rome (1930-38).

2 Victor Emmanuel III (1869-1947), King of Italy (1900-46).

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