Our Discalced Carmelite sisters of Bologna, Italy, recount the historic visit:
“During his recent stay in Bologna on the occasion of the closing celebrations of the Eucharistic Congress, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I kindly accepted our invitation and visited our monastery.
“Welcomed festively by the chiming of bells, the Patriarch entered our church. After a hymn and a greeting, we opened the doors of the cloister so that he and his entourage could enter the monastery. He cordially greeted all the nuns. Also present for this event were representatives of the Poor Clares of Bologna and the Carmelites of Ravenna, including an orthodox nun.
“Later we went to the choir where the Patriarch venerated the relics by praying a Hail Mary and an Our Father in Latin. In the recreation hall, he talked to us about how much monastic life in the Church should be appreciated. After exchanging gifts, we engaged in a simple, serene, and very homey dialogue while coffee was served. The Patriarch wrote a blessing in Greek in our guestbook. The joy springing from this small gesture of communion has been great for all of us.”