Remembering Nana in Slovenia

Our Smith College Alumnae Chorus tour of Slovenia was only a few weeks after the death of my mother, known here at Top of JC’s Mind as Nana. One of the things that was comforting to me was saying prayers for my mom at the various churches we visited. Sometimes, I was even able to light a candle in her memory.

In prior tour posts, I have shared some photos from some of the churches we visited, but I wanted to share a few more. The ceiling from the chapel of Ljubljana Castle:

Most of the churches we saw on our trip had kneelers that were built into the wooden seats. I loved the curves of these pews from the Ljubljana castle chapel:
Ljubljana castle chapel pews

A cross silhouetted against Lake Bled in the entrance to the Mary of the Assumption:

The beautifully painted Stations of the Cross there:
Stations of the Cross at Lake Bled

In Trieste, the organ and a bit of the rose window, which was a later addition to Saint Just, when technology had progressed enough to have that large an opening in the wall:


Catholic altars contain relics, but one seldom sees them in such a conspicuous way:img_0233

A crucifix at St. George in Piran that had been restored from one of the older iterations of the church. I was struck by how contemporary designers have recalled this centuries-old style in their own work:

The main altar:

And the ceiling above the chancel:
chancel ceiling - St.George, Piran

There were two churches that I visited that were not part of the official tour. Because I was there as a pray-er rather than a tourist, I don’t have photos inside the churches, but they remain close to my heart. One was in Trieste, near the amphitheater ruins. Nana’s ethnic heritage was northern Italian, so it was special to be able to spend some quiet time in the church there. The other was when I went to Mass on our last morning in Ljubljana. It was comforting to be there as part of the congregation, even though they were speaking a language I didn’t know. All the same, I felt that the prayers in my heart were understood.

Besides my private prayer pilgrimage, I also silently dedicated my performances of the Duruflé Requiem to my mother.  This requiem is based on chants from the early church and is sung in Latin, as it would have been before the Second Vatican Council. Much of it is spare and meditative, beautiful but difficult to perform because the individual vocal lines are often exposed.

The most moving of these text for me is the “In Paradisum”, which is the final commendation of the deceased to God at the end of the funeral rite. The text translates:

May the Angels lead you into paradise:
may the martyrs receive you at your coming,
and lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem.

May the choir of Angels receive you,
and with Lazarus, who once was poor,
may you have everlasting rest.

At my mother’s funeral, this was the point at which I was most emotional, so I worried that I might have difficulty singing through it, especially as Duruflé sets the first stanza for sopranos only. I found, though, that it was comforting for me to bring my mother to mind at that moment, making the traditional prayer even more meaningful. In the powerful silence after we very quietly finished the piece, I could find peace.

Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

6 thoughts on “Remembering Nana in Slovenia”

  1. I have so loved reading your posts, Joanne! I’ve never had experience with blogs, so you are actually teaching me. This lovely post about your Mama, and how you experienced her in Slovenia, reminded me so much of my experience in Sicily, with SCAC. My dad had just died, and my inheritance is why I was able to go, when Giovanna’s husband Harry broke his hi8p which precluded his going on the trip. Daddy was a bass, sang in the church choir and in impromptu social gatherings. Although he was unassuming about his abilities, he taught me to harmonize from a young age, and I think my singing abilities (such as they are) came from him. Just as you talked about, singing a Requiem, right after his death, was moving beyond description for me. I cried and grinned through each of the performances!! So thank you so much for writing about your feelings. Mmmm – wonderful.
    Now, does one communicate with the blogger on the blog or on email directly or FB? I would really like to see other things you have written.
    One more question… it possible to get any of your (B’s) photos onto my computer? If so, how would I do that?
    Thank you, and prayers for your grief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, D, for visiting my blog, for your comments, your prayers, and for sharing your special memories of your dad and the Sicily tour. Music is so close to our hearts that it is a powerful remembrance of those we have lost.

      I’m happy to be able to introduce you to blogging! You can access years-worth of past blog posts by clicking on the arrow for the Archives, which will take you to posts from whatever month you select. You can also subscribe to new posts by signing up in the Follow Blog by Email section, which will send you an email every time I post. You could also like my FB page for the blog; all my blog posts automatically go into the newsfeed of the page. You can click on the FB page link on the blog or search on FB for Top of JC’s Mind.

      You can contact me by commenting on any blog post. I generally get a notification so I can see it and answer. Because we know each other, you can also use my personal email address, which you have, and/or send me a personal friend request on FB so that we are connected for messaging through Messenger.

      You should be able to copy any photo that is on the blog by right-clicking on it and using the “save as” option from the menu that will appear. If you are using a phone or tablet, you can bring up the save option by touching the photo.

      Hope that covers everything!



    1. It was very powerful to be able to visit these historic churches and pray there. Slovenia is a very beautiful country; perhaps you will have an opportunity to go there and visit the church in Lake Bled.


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