I am sorry that I have neglected to write for a while. Classes have started, and I am recovering from the plague…Aka a cold that turned into a hacking cough. I finally decided to be smart and pick up some medicine.
Now that classes are in full swing there are religious habits flocking the courtyard and hallways of the Angelicum. I’m starting to feel the need to dress up more and feel out of place when I’m not in a skirt or in black. Actually it is really just quite funny but also very beautiful. The presence of all these religious figures is a true blessing, and as I get to know some of them more personally, I am excited for what the coming months will bring.
So I guess I’ll backtrack to two Thursdays ago—Thursday October 9th. In the evening we went to the ordination of the deacons from the North American College Seminary. There were twenty-five men being ordained to the transitional deaconate at St. Peter’s Basilica. The ordination was absolutely beautiful. If you ever have the chance to go to a deaconate or priestly ordination, I strongly encourage you to do it. The tradition and joyfulness of this celebration is overwhelming and extremely grace-filled.
The faces of all the men as they processed in and out emitted a profound joy of knowing their vocation. God is calling each of us to this life of joy. No matter what vocation you choose, God is asking you to share in His love. Of course there is suffering in that but there is also immense happiness. This is so true for the religious life. If anyone has any doubt about the happiness of the vocation of the priesthood just go to an ordination. This is the same true joy I have seen in happy holy marriages and the faces of the groom awaiting his bride.
Although these men will not have a physical wife they are giving themselves to, they have that same joy reflected in their faces and the whole celebration was about this…the joy of giving themselves entirely to Holy Mother Church. It was also very exciting being there with the thirteen seminarians in our group…this was especially exciting for them, considering this could very well be them in a few years! All in all it was a wonderful grace-filled evening.
The next day we left early for Florence. We had the joy of touring some major churches, monasteries and museums with our Art and Architecture professor, Dr. Elizabeth Lev. She is absolutely brilliant and hilarious. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the city with a brilliant guide to explain the history of faith through an artistic lens.
Most memorable though was our time at the Duomo. We were rushing to Mass at the Baptistery. We nearly overwhelmed the priest and congregation at the Gospel as we tried discretely slipping into the back pews. This is quite difficult to do with twenty-eight college-aged students and only five rows deep of pews in the church. We tripled the congregation and caught the server quite off guard as he scattered off to find more hosts to be consecrated. At the homily the priest asked us to move up and fill in, and we packed the pews full. The priest himself was somewhat of a spectacle. He was quite overwhelmed and excited to have over two dozen young adults added to the congregation, and even though we could not understand much of his rapid joyous Italian, we picked up “giovani” exclaimed excitedly many times, which we realized was the Italian word for “youth!”
He was a short, gentle old man, and his huge vibrant eyes and enormous wide smile emitted an energy that penetrated the hearts of us all, even though we could only understand a few words of his rapid Italian. After Mass he came out to greet us, and a woman from the congregation who spoke English translated his joyful message to us.
His love for the Lord flooded our hearts with his passionate words. His eyes watered with tears of joy to see so many young students and seminarians wanting to know the Lord more. His message was simple yet profound: love Jesus; love others. Each of us carried his words with us, but more importantly the deep yearning to live the love he had for our Lord more deeply in our lives.
God love you!
Greetings from Rome! My name is Sam. I am a native of Wisconsin (near Green Bay) and a junior at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. I am studying Catholic Studies and Psychology. I am spending this semester studying in Rome, and am excited to share my adventures, pilgrimages, and studying experiences with you! I have been waiting to study in Rome ever since I applied to St. Thomas and I am thrilled about this experience!
Friday night I flew out of the States and landed in Amsterdam where we had a long layover and finally got to Rome really late at night. We had a daunting car ride to our campus. I think we almost died 20 times. There are no such thing as traffic rules at all. We were in a big 8-seater van and the driver would speed up and slow down and go through stop signs and make illegal turns like it was the way you were supposed to drive! It was quite the Italian driving experience. We made it to Bernardi (the name of the campus/building where we stay). It is SO BEAUTIFUL! I kept running into the other girls’ rooms and saying over and over again “We are REALLY here!”
On, Sunday Leandra (my roommate) and I got up for morning prayer in the chapel followed by breakfast with the group. This building used to be an old convent, so we are extremely blessed to have our own chapel! (We can stop by to visit Jesus any time!) We had orientation and in the evening Fr. Justin from the diocese of LaCrosse (yeah Wisconsin!) said Mass for us here in our chapel. Following we had our first community dinner. It was great to have all of us crowded around one big table like a family, sharing life with each other.