Monthly Archives

January 2012

Alison

Ci vediamo, Roma.

ci vediamo

As hard as it is to believe, this is our last full week in Rome. I think the most fitting word to describe it would be ‘bittersweet.’ I am so caught between trying to squeeze every last drop out of my days, enjoying the sweetness of these small moments while knowing that come one week, I’ll be gone.

 But instead of listening to me sob, I’ll share some of my small revelations with you about the city that has utterly bewitched me.

 Here in Rome, history, culture, art, and religion seep up from under the cobblestones and grab your ankles, holding you fast so that your feet want to do nothing more than walk and walk and walk Rome’s streets.

Here in Rome, that worn-yet-vibrant rose color of old stucco stains all and any light that touches it, so you cannot help but stop to let your parched eyes drink in that pink air.

Here in Rome, you walk into the most magnificent basilica in the world, St. Peter’s, and breathe a sigh that says, “I’m home.”

Here in Rome, you see 70-year-old women greet each other with, “Ciao bella!,” and you couldn’t agree more.

 But the essence of Rome is all of this and yet none of this. One day I’m certain I know Rome, and the next day she surprises me. Four months is not enough in “la città più bella nel mondo:” the most beautiful city in the world. And that’s why this is not good-bye, but “ci vediamo.”

 Rome, I’ll be seeing you.

Alison

“Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life.”

pope

“Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life,” Pope St. Leo the Great enjoined in his 5th-century Christmas sermon. I can truly say we proved his words true.

 Yes, we were nearly 5,000 miles from home. We were all missing our families, friends, and holiday traditions. We missed ugly sweater parties, campy Christmas carols, and eating cookies. But we had no reason to be sad, for we received grace upon grace.

 Many Bernardians had the honor of participating in Midnight Mass with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. All fourteen of the seminarians served and three lay students read. And all the rest of the Bernardians got prime seating in the diplomatic section. I cannot even begin to describe what a profound experience it was, proudly watching my Bernardi brothers and sisters take a direct part in Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s. They all humbly fulfilled their roles for the greater glory of God, whether it was reading, holding a microphone for the Pope, or being a candle-bearer. We rejoiced in one another’s joy at receiving this incredible grace.

 Then Christmas day was full of caroling, a hilarious “Secret Santa” gift exchange, lots of good food, calling family in the States, relaxing, movies, and more food.

 Yet most importantly, sadness was not present within us, because, as Pope St. Leo proclaimed: “…At the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvelous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?”

 I pray that you all had a Merry, merry Christmas and that you were able to greet the New Year with hope and joy in your hearts. God bless.