Monthly Archives

November 2013

Lisa and Jacqueline

The “Ang” (Angelicum)

My School … In Rome
Every time I walk past the statue of St. Thomas Aquinas at the Angelicum (the
Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas), I think about the St. Thomas campus back
in St. Paul. It’s like I can’t escape the guy! But it does remind me of how soon I will be
back on my home campus and how blessed I am to be able to study, just for a
semester, at this university. Because it is a Pontifical University, half of the students
are religious, priests, and seminarians. We have classes taught by some pretty cool
Dominican priests, including Mother Teresa’s spiritual director (not that that’s a big
deal or anything). Plus, the Ang campus is just beautiful.
 
The classrooms open up to a courtyard in the middle with clementine trees and an old, broken fountain

The classrooms open up to a courtyard in the middle with clementine trees and an old,
broken fountain.

 We have really cool hallways (often complete with sisters walking through).


We have really cool hallways (often complete with sisters walking through).

And we have staircases next to beautiful large windows.

And we have staircases next to beautiful large windows.

We have a pretty great classroom for Dr. Junker’s class (with more large beautiful  windows.)

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      The Ang gardens are one of my favorite places on campus. There are about a dozen
lemon trees, which come in handy if you happen to need a lemon to make scones.
Some in our group even eat the lemons straight. The benches in the garden are a
great place to eat lunch between classes, or work on some reading. It’s just like being
on the quad back on the home campus – except it’s in the heart of Rome, a few
minutes’ walk from the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, and the Trevi fountain. All in all,
it is a great place to learn and grow, and if you are a student considering coming to
Rome – do it.
 
Lisa and Jacqueline

Tutti Santi

 
       Ciao! This is Jacqueline. This year I was able to celebrate Halloween, the Feast of All
Saints, and All Souls Day in a unique way in Rome Sweet Home as well as through old
traditions.
       Halloween is definitely the time for apples, dressing up, and lots and lots of candy. We
made sure that we had all of those. We were able to find or make costumes, some of
which were super impressive (for example, we had a pretty convincing Lion and
martyrs, Saint Ignatius, and Cindy Lou Who). We also got mounds of candy and let the
Junker children trick-or-treat from door to door which was absolutely adorable.
While Halloween is not as big in Italy as it is in America, they take the Feast of All
Saints to a whole new level. They have lots of Saints buried everywhere around here
and even more relics all of which are venerated and celebrated on this day. It was
awesome to be with many of the Saints on their feast day and see so many people
from all over the place, gathering to see their patrons. As inconvenient as crowds can
be, it’s also amazing to think about how universal the church is. And, it reminds me of
how blessed I am to spend an entire semester visiting as many Saints as I want.
One neat thing about this time of the year was that there were flowers everywhere.
People flock to the cemeteries outside the cities limits at this time and lay flowers on
the graves of those they love. Actually, visiting a Roman cemetery on All Souls Day
was one of the most unique things I have experienced so far. Father Carola took us to
see the cemetery which was above ground and was massive. It is hard to describe
because it was so unlike anything I had ever experienced before. There was
mausoleum after monument after gravestone, stretching in every direction for as far
as the eye could see. It was a necropolis filled with flowers, people, and silence. As
dusk fell and shadows filled the entire space, the flickering of the candles became
more visible and the whole place was filled with the movement of dark and light, a
place filled with sorrow and death but also hope of those who had lost their loved
ones.
       Rome has been filled with so many incredible experiences like these; it allows me to
see and touch my faith in a real way. I am able to see the relics of the Saints, sit where
they sat, and not only pray where they prayed but also what they prayed when I join
them in the mass. All you Saints in Heaven, Pray for Us!!!
 
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Lisa and Jacqueline

A Reposo in Umbria

As great as it is to be in Rome and as many cool ancient Catholic stuff there is here, Rome is still a big city, and for those of us who aren’t city people (and even some who are) the dirt and sweat and crowds start to get to you after a while.

Last weekend, Fr. Justin, one of our chaplains at Bernardi, took our whole group on a day trip to Perugia for their annual chocolate festival and then to Assisi. It was wonderful to get out of the city and experience Italy outside of Rome.

The view in Perugia was stunning, so of course we had to stop and enjoy it for a while before heading to the chocolate festival

The view in Perugia was stunning, so of course we had to stop and enjoy it for a while before heading to the chocolate festival

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The only thing I had heard about the chocolate festival was that there was a lot of chocolate involved, which certainly turned out to be true. The streets were filled with tents selling chocolate in any and all forms.

Chocolate with nuts...

Chocolate with nuts…

Truffles...

Truffles…

 

Chocolate pies...

Chocolate pies…

 

Chocolate with creamy layers of delicious...

Chocolate with creamy layers of delicious…

So much chocolate!  They even had "hot chocolate," which in Italy means basically just melted chocolate.

So much chocolate! They even had “hot chocolate,” which in Italy means basically just melted chocolate.

Lizzy enjoying her nutella crepe

Lizzy enjoying her nutella crepe

Once we were sufficiently filled with chocolate, we sat down on the edge of town to enjoy the view.

Once we were sufficiently filled with chocolate, we sat down on the edge of town to enjoy the view.

Mary Conway on the mini-metro from Perugia back to our bus.

Mary Conway on the mini-metro from Perugia back to our bus.

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Fr. Justin gave us a tour of Assisi, full of all things Fransiscan. Unfortunately the chruches in Assisi are very camera shy (NO FOTO!) so I don’t have pictures inside any of the churches, but we got to visit the tombs of St. Francis and St. Clare in their Basilicas, the convent where St. Clare died, and the cross which came alive to St. Francis telling him to rebuild the church.

Basilica di San Francesco

Basilica di San Francesco

Here is Father Justin being the best tour guide every.  He is pointing out the parish church St. Francis attended as a child.

Here is Father Justin being the best tour guide every. He is pointing out the parish church St. Francis attended as a child.

It was a real burden having to walk down this incredibly picturesque path through an olive orchard with the countryside spread out before us, but we bore it well.

It was a real burden having to walk down this incredibly picturesque path through an olive orchard with the countryside spread out before us, but we bore it well.

 

This is the courtyard in San Damiano, the convent of St. Clare where she died.  Fr. Justin celebrated mass for us in one of the chapels here to conclude our day.

This is the courtyard in San Damiano, the convent of St. Clare where she died. Fr. Justin celebrated mass for us in one of the chapels here to conclude our day.

Most of the group returned to Bernardi that evening, but some of us took the opportunity to stay in Assisi

Most of the group returned to Bernardi that evening, but some of us took the opportunity to stay in Assisi

The view from our hostel

The view from our hostel

The Junkers, who were also staying in Assisi that night, invited us to have dinner with them.  Every semester, a Catholic Studies professor and their family came to Rome to live in Bernardi with the students.  This semester we have Dr. Junker, his wife Therese, and their three adorable children.  They are a wonderful family, and it is so great to have kids in the house.

The Junkers, who were also staying in Assisi that night, invited us to have dinner with them. Every semester, a Catholic Studies professor and their family came to Rome to live in Bernardi with the students. This semester we have Dr. Junker, his wife Therese, and their three adorable children. They are a wonderful family, and it is so great to have kids in the house.

The next morning these three hooligans went off to climb a mountain while I found a peaceful place to work on homework.

The next morning these three hooligans went off to climb a mountain while I found a peaceful place to work on homework.

Altogether not a bad place to write a paper.

Altogether not a bad place to write a paper.

Stacy Lona chilling out in Assisi's main Piazza

Stacy Lona chilling out in Assisi’s main Piazza

San Rufino

We also visited San Rufino, where Francis and Clare were baptized, and stumbled upon a choir recording a musical about the life of St. Francis.

At San Rufino we discovered a room with a whole series of frescoes of John Paul II, by Giuseppe Afrune

At San Rufino we discovered a room with a whole series of frescoes of John Paul II, by Giuseppe Afrune

Just one of the seventeen gorgeous frescoes

Just one of the seventeen gorgeous frescoes

That night as we watched the sun set over the Basilica of San Francesco I realized I am basically in love with this place.  Was I ready to return to Rome the next day?  Not really, but it was a great experience, and maybe I'll get to go back someday.

That night as we watched the sun set over the Basilica of San Francesco I realized I am basically in love with this place. Was I ready to return to Rome the next day? Not really, but it was a great experience, and maybe I’ll get to go back someday.

 

Lisa and Jacqueline

Bernini and the Beach

Ciao! Today,  This is Jacqueline.  I have plans to see Bernini’s famous “St. Teresa in Ecstasy” and explore some other random churches. Last time I did this, I stumbled across the oldest Christian mosaic in the world which was pretty awesome!

Classes have been going well. I saw the oldest surviving written Italian in the world yesterday. This is a typical day with Dr. Lev. The week before in class we went under St. Peter’s Basilica and were able to kneel beside the tomb of St. Peter. Then from the tiny room which held the body of such a powerful Saint we walked up into the grandeur of the basilica where we were surrounded of the masterpieces of geniuses like Michelangelo and Bernini, as well as the tombs of people like Pope St. Gregory the Great and Bl. Pope John Paul II (soon to be St. Pope John Paul II!). There is an incredibly overwhelming amount of beauty and holy presence in the Basilica.

Outside classes we have also been exploring. Two weekends ago a group of us went to the beach at Ostia Lido. It was wonderful to get out of the busy city for a little bit. Despite Italy’s temperamental weather and forecast of rain, the sun was shining and the water warm. We swam, waded, collected sea shells, tanned, and some highly motivated people did a little homework.

This past weekend we visited Perugia for their chocolate festival. Imagine every street filled with the smell of everything chocolate! It was basically a small taste of heaven on earth. After that we went to Assisi. I had heard only good things about Assisi and it still surpassed expectations! But that will have to wait for the next post!

Here are a few pictures from the beach.

 

Stacy Lona and Jaqueline Lucca, and the ocean

Stacy Lona, Jaqueline Lucca, and the ocean

Our resident geologist, Andrew Dieter, scours the shore for interesting rocks.

Our resident geologist, Andrew Dieter, scours the shore for interesting rocks.

And of course, one of the best things to do at the beach is just wade in the waves.

And of course, one of the best things to do at the beach is just wade in the waves.