Liz '17

This semester ended in the blink of an eye

As I sit here at the London-Heathrow airport heading home, I can’t help but reflect on this amazing semester. I still feels like a dream. I mean how often do people get to just pick everything up and move to Europe for four months?! That doesn’t happen very often, but wow am I fortunate that I was able to do that.

Last year when I went to Rome during the month of January, the end of the month came and I was more than ready to go home. I thought there was never any way that I would be able to do an entire semester, that was just too long. Last September came around and something came across me and I decided that I wanted to go abroad for an entire semester (AKA sometimes last minute decisions are the best!). Little did I know that this decision would be one of the greatest things I’ve done thus far in my life, where I would make friends that will last a lifetime, and memories that I’ll remember forever.

Going to Ireland this semester still feels like a dream. Going into the semester, I thought that it was going to be so long and that I was going to be so homesick the entire time, but lucky for me that wasn’t the case at all.

I remember before I was leaving that everyone would ask me if I knew anyone going, and when I told them I didn’t, they thought I was crazy. But that was actually one of the best parts of the trip. I went into this trip only knowing about people through their Facebook profiles, and I leave today just over four months later with 40 strangers that turned into friends that turned into family. It’s honestly so crazy how close people can get in such a short period of time. The worst part about getting so close to everyone was the last 24 hours where we had to say goodbye, everyone was a wreck: at the bar, on the lawn, at 3:00 AM, the entire time. But in reality, I know that God put all of these amazing people into my life for a reason. If he didn’t want our paths to cross later in life, he wouldn’t have had us become so close and then never let us see each other again. I can’t wait to see how God has our paths cross later in life. ☺

This semester has not only brought me so many new friends, I have also created memories that will be stories I tell to my grandchildren one day! This semester, I was able to go to 12 different countries and two continents!! In addition to all of that, I was also able to visit many different places within Ireland as well. I’m going to do my best to remember all of it, but there are somethings that definitely stick out more than others. For example, riding a camel in Morocco, spray painting the John Lennon wall, caving in Budapest, and going to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It still blows my mind that I was able to do so much in such a short amount of time.

This semester has also been full of growth for me as well. I have grown so much in who I am and I can see it in all aspects of my life. This semester has really taught me to be confident in myself and my abilities. Before this semester, I would always second guess who I was and all that I am capable of. Now, of course that still happens sometimes, but not nearly as much. I think this change is due to many factors, one of which was going abroad not knowing anyone. Although I am a super outgoing person, I had to step out of my comfort zone and really put myself out there to meet these people and make this semester what I wanted it to be or else I would end up hating it. Some of the people that I met this semester really helped to push my out of my comfort zone as well because they knew I could do it, I just didn’t believe in myself. I think going abroad, meeting new people and all of the traveling you get to do is amazing. And although some of the experiences were life changing, it is the little things that pushed me to become a better person and break out of my shell that will really make the difference in my life.

It still feels so unreal not only that I studied abroad this semester in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but that it is already over. I will remember this trip and these people forever. I can’t wait to have a little reunion in a few years down the road. Or when I go back to Ireland one day, I know that I’ll be able to see my Irish friends again. Crazy how life works out that way.

A super special thank you goes out to my parents for always allowing me to adventure (no matter how much my mom doesn’t want me to ) and for giving me the chance of a lifetime of going on this trip. Also, thank you to my friends from home who were there for me and answering my texts and FaceTime calls throughout this semester, no matter what time of day it was. Lastly, thank you to all those that I met and encountered this semester; thank you for making this semester absolutely incredible. I love you guys so much and it’s not a goodbye, it’s just a see you later.

Kate '18

Study Monday!

It’s the last Monday of the spring semester, and it is also a very important day- it’s Study Monday. Today, there are no classes held, instead this is a day allotted purely to studying for final exams. With summer just around the corner, and the semester coming to a close, try to put forth you last surge of effort, remain positive and focus on finishing your classes strong. There are a couple things going on today around campus to help out with your studying.

Study Monday Mass

There is a special Study Monday Mass being held in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas tonight at 8:30 p.m. This is a nice opportunity to take a break from studying and a chance to open your heart to God before taking your final exams.

The Late Night Breakfast

The Late Night Breakfast is being held tonight from 9:30-11:00 p.m. in the View. It is FREE for all St. Thomas students with your student ID.

Good luck on your finals Tommies!!


Kate '18

Foshay Tower, Minneapolis

I didn’t grow up in the Minneapolis area, so I jump at every opportunity I get to explore the city! I love exploring the Minneapolis area because there is so much to do, and sometimes it is fun to do the “touristy” things that often times get overlooked. I took the St. Thomas shuttle bus from the St. Thomas campus in St. Paul to the downtown Minneapolis campus. From the Minneapolis campus, the Foshay Tower Observation Deck is then a short two block walk. The Foshay Tower Observation Deck is located at the very top of the W Minneapolis hotel in the heart of downtown. It was the tallest building in Minneapolis from 1929-1972 and has set a remarkable example of architectural design and engineering for the state of Minnesota. The best part about this adventure is it is only $5 for students! The Foshay Tower overlooks the entire city and has an incredible view. It provides viewers with a completely new perspective of Minneapolis and it is rumored that there is a 30-mile view on a clear day.

Be adventurous, explore and check out the Foshay Tower for yourself!




Kate '18


Dr. Cassiane Flom, who is an iconographer, recently came to speak to my Christian Worship Theology class at St. Thomas. Dr. Flom has created over 150 icons of her own and has studied under two major iconographers. Going to a Catholic University, I feel that we are blessed to have the opportunity of hearing fascinating seminars such as this. My Theology class had been studying iconography is class, so my professor, who is a Russian Orthodox Catholic priest, invited Dr. Flom in to provide a more in-depth approach to iconography.

“Icon-o-graphy.” Iconography is the process of a religious image that is written, not painted. Iconography stems from the Greek word for icon, which is iconographia. Iconography dates back to the time of the apostles where Luke was the first iconographer. Icons appeal to the intellects and spirts, but never to the emotions. In order to create an icon, the iconographer is required to be fasting and partaking in prayer so the grace of God is written into the icon.

There are three different types of medians used for icons. Each start with a white gesso base and then uses pigment and a medium in the form of egg tempera, wax or acrylic. The egg tempera method dates back to the B.C. times and is still used today by taking ground pigment and mixing it with egg yolk. Wax iconostas consists of pigments and melted wax. The acrylic method is used by mixing pigments and an acrylic median. Icons must be 2-dimensional and are on surfaces such as wood, boards, mosaics and sacred vesicles or vestments. The iconographer must follow certain steps and procedures while writing the icon. Specifically, it is said that the iconographer must first lay the foundation colors, which are darker, and then apply the highlighting colors, which are lighter, on top. This order represents the darkness without Christ and then the light that is brought by Christ.

Icons consist of images of Christ, Mary, the saints and biblical events. Icons cannot be 3-dimensional, have to parallel the scriptures, bear witness to the truth, must be biblically correct, and cannot just be created. There is a difference between worship and venerating something, and icons are only to be venerated, never worshiped. Veneration might be done in the form of praying in the presence of the icon, looking at it with with devotion, bowing or kneeling before the icon, crossing oneself, lighting a candle or offering incense. Icons are used or placed in the home or church.

I found what Dr. Cassiane Flom presented on icons to be truly fascinating. I think that a lot of people are aware of elements in their faith, but they do not always understand or know why these things are the way they are. I had little knowledge of icons prior to the seminar, and left wanting to know even more about icons. Below are some examples of icons.




Kate '18

Job Market Looks Promising

Your time spent in college is ultimately some of the best years of your life, as well as some of the most stressful. College students share the common goal of landing a good job upon gradation. However, the job market can be very competitive. Forbes recently published a list of 25 of the most promising jobs for millennials. I was personally shocked by how strong the projected numbers were, for instance, the median income for 18-34 year olds is $76,50 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 25% growth in jobs by 2022. Check out the Forbes list to see the top 25 jobs as well as the projected growth by 2022, the median income and the millennial share in these jobs.

Click on the link to Forbes!



Kate '18

20 Life Lessons

One of the most satisfying feelings is completing a class. In college, you will learn distinctive things from each course and in my Management 305 class, we learned valuable information to carry forth into both our personal and professional lives. I have learned a lot in this class, and can honestly say it was one of my favorites courses I have taken at St. Thomas. I truly believe this information is applicable to any person, and valuable content can be extracted from these simple, yet meaningful lessons. I took what I learned in the class and compiled a list of 20 life lessons to share with you.

1.) You are a manager. Use this time in your life to practice your management skills. These skills include decision making, time management, self-leadership, self-awareness and emotional intelligence, conflict management, critical thinking, self-motivation and political savviness.

2.) Learn when you need to be a manager and when you need to be a leader. You need to constantly be asking yourself, how can I create value?

3.) Be SMART goal orientated. Being goal orientated does not mean you have to be aggressive, it makes you focused. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, results orientated and time bound.

4.) Values. Hold firm to your own values and have the strength of character to stand up for your values. You can lose your soul in the midst of achieving your goals. As the manager, you set the tone. If you are compromising your values, that is the tone you are setting for everyone else.

5.) Mind the gap. Be mindful of the gaps that exist between the values you claim to have and the way you actually live your life.

6.) Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Self-actualization is key. Learn to not be too focused in yourself and you will be more mindful of what is going on around you. Also remember happiness is a choice, you choose to be happy. You also need to learn to be content. Life happens, and you will need to reevaluate your goals along the way. Life is about the journey, and it’s not always the destination.

7.) Learn to ask the right kinds of questions. Don’t always sit back and listen to others. Ask the right questions at the right time. Don’t ever be afraid to ask why.

8.) Ethics. Practice being ethical and don’t tolerate being unethical. With every privilege comes great responsibility.

9.) Challenge yourself and anticipate what is to come. Learn to be comfortable with being a little uncomfortable. Think about what might need to be done. Be proactive rather than reactive. Learn to take initiative.

10.) Manage your energy. Time is finite, but energy doesn’t have to be.

11.) Boring people get bored. Boredom is a symptom of non-critical thinking.

12.) Losing is a lesson. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson, learn something from everything.

13.) Correcting your mistakes. When you realize you made a mistake, own up to it and then immediately take the steps to correct your mistake. Engaging in humility is crucial.

14.) Be deliberate and prepare. Don’t let things happen, make things happen. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

15.) Know the rules. Know the rules well enough to know which rules you can break.

16.) Always have a plan B. Have options, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket because you never know what could happen.

17.) Silence. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

18.) Life is full of character building experiences. Experiences lead to feedback. Take the time to reflect on feedback and learn something from that. This process results in growth.

19.) Moderation. Practice operating between extremes of deficiency and excess.

20.) HAVE FUN!!

Kate '18

St. Thomas Trending Five- Week of May 9th, 2016

1.) Therapy Pets in the Library

It’s a busy time with the end of semester rapidly approaching. It is also a very stressful time with numerous papers to write and tests to study for, however, it’s proven that spending time with animals actually reduces your stress levels. Stop by the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library tonight from 6:00pm-8:00pm to de-stress during your last week of classes and visit with the Therapy Pets. Everyone is welcome!


2.) Thinking Outside the Huddle

Last fall the Tommie Football team dominated the competition in their undefeated run up to the NCAA Division III national championship. Off the field, four of the team’s players combined their knowledge in entrepreneurship, finance, economics and engineering to form their own “special team” and once again competed together for an award. The four teamed up to vie for the Hult Prize, which is the largest student competition in the world where winners receive $1 million in start-up funds and mentorship and advice from the international business community. Check out the full article which captures true team spirit off the field.


3.) Target Insider with Sarah Peterson Post

Sarah Peterson Post is part of Target’s small team who developed Target’s Cartwheel. This revolutionary and innovative app was launched three years ago and have experienced overwhelming success since its launch. Check out the article on the St. Thomas Opus College of Business Master’s Pub event that was recently held where Sarah Peterson Post shared the keys to Cartwheel success and touches on the culture, people and practices.

4.) Meet Archbishop Bernard Hebda

There will be a reception will be held on May 17th at St. Thomas for faculty and staff to meet Archbishop Bernard Hebda, who is the new leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. There will also be a viewing of the Mass of Installation for Archbishop Bernard Hebda at Scooters in the Anderson Student Center on Friday, May 13th from 1:45pm-4:00pm. Join the University community as we welcome him as the ninth archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.


5.) Putting Alarm-Clock Factories Out of Business?

Dr. J. Roxanne Prichard, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, and Birdie Cunningham, associate director of health and wellness have teamed up to create and launch the University of St. Thomas Center for College Sleep. This is believed to be the first its kind in the United States, and it is a center that brings together two strengths found on a college campus: serious academic research and the programming skills of student-affairs administrators. Check out the full article to see what Dr. J. Roxanne Prichard and Birdie Cunningham have been up to!

Psychology Professor Roxanne Prichard, left, and Birdie Cunningham, right, of the Wellness Center, pose for a portrait in front of Aquinas Hall on April 14, 2016 in St. Paul. The two developed a sleep study for the Sleep Center in the Wellness Center.

Liz '17

10 Things I’ve learned while in Ireland

As I sit here wondering why I only have 10 days left in Ireland, I can’t help but look back at all that I have learned this semester. Of course I kind of learned things in the classroom, but I mean things that I have learned about the Irish culture. Most of these things are so normal to the Irish that they don’t even notice they are doing it/saying it, but for me, it was so different!

The words are different.

Some words that may mean one thing in Ireland, mean something completely different in America. For example, the word “craic” here means fun, as opposed to referring to an illegal drug like it does in America. Another example is “body warmer” which is used to refer to a vest in the states. In addition to having different meanings of words, they also spell words differently. An example of this is “colour” instead of color or “co-operation” rather than cooperation.


Driving on the “other” side of the street.

This was one of the first things I noticed when I first got to Ireland. I remember going to cross the street and looking to the left, and it was clear, so I started to cross the road. And of course a car came out of no where from the right because I had looked the wrong way. This happened for at least a month…


The temperature doesn’t ever really get above 21°C.

21°C is equivalent to about 65°F. When it gets this warm, people will go to the beach, that may mean they are wearing a jacket at the beach, but they will be there.


Irish is actually a language.

I always thought that Gaelic was the language, but often times it’s just referred to as Irish. Everyone is fluent in English, and a lot of people know at least a little bit of Gaelic. But, when you go to certain parts of the country, everything is in the native Irish language. For example, when I was in Dingle, all of the restaurants had Irish names and the schools in the area were all Irish speaking schools.


Many names are said backwards.

Of course, to the Irish, they aren’t saying anything backwards, but to me it was. At home, I would refer to the county I live in as Lake County or the river by school is the Mississippi River. Here, the county I have been living in is considered “County Limerick” and the river that runs through campus is the “River Shannon”.


Turning on the immersion.

The thought of having to flip a switch in order to have a hot shower took me way too long to understand. I would always forget that in order to have a warm shower I needed to turn the immersion on and then wait at least 20 minutes. It wasn’t until I got into a freezing cold shower that I would remember, sometimes I said oh well and took a freezing cold shower.


0% chance of rain, and it still rains.

Now this might be a slight exaggeration, but it has honestly happened more than once this semester! When they say it rains a lot in Ireland, they weren’t kidding. Sometimes there has been a 75% chance of rain, and then it never rained. You never know which is why there has probably been less than five days this semester I have left my house without my rain coat.


Bank holidays.

Bank holidays, are kind of like having Christmas, nine times per year. During a bank holiday, sometimes there are actual holidays (St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas), but other times it’s just the first Monday of the summer months. During a bank holiday, most businesses and schools are closed.

Ireland-2016-Holiday-Calendar (2)

Turning on the electrical outlets.

This was a new one too. I’m not sure what it is, but the Irish are very stingy with their electricity. In order to use anything that needs electrical power, you need to flip a switch for the power to work. This goes for everything from charging your phone to using the toaster or microwave in the kitchen. And then once you’re done with it, you’re supposed to turn the switch off so you don’t waste a bunch of electricity.


Rounding up and rounding down.

This wasn’t something that was ever told to me, but it kind of made sense when I would buy something at Spar (a local convenient store), and my total was €3.97, I wouldn’t get that 3 c back. At first I thought he was just rounding and taking a tip for himself, I thought it was weird, but I just went with it. Apparently rounding is a simple way for Ireland to reduce the use of 1c and 2c coins. Your change gets rounded up or down to the nearest five cent. So basically, if your change due ends in 1, 2, 6, or 7, it will be rounded down to the nearest five cent. If your change ends in 3, 4, 8 or 9, it will be rounded up to the nearest five cent.


Four months later, many of these things have become normal and going back to the states, in a few days will definitely take some getting used to. It’s so crazy to think this semester is just about over, but what an amazing semester it has been!

**all images from google images**

Kate '18

Taste of Love Bakery

One thing I love most about St. Paul is the countless coffee shops, pastry shops and bakeries in the area! Taste of Love Bakery just opened a new location within walking distance of St. Thomas and this is such a fun treat to reward yourself for working hard during these last few weeks of school. I don’t know about you, but I have a weakness when it comes to white cake donuts with frosting and sprinkles. The Taste of Love Bakery moto is “desserts from the heart,” and they definitely exceeded my expectations.

Check out the new Taste of Love Bakery location: 2042 Marshall Ave, St. Paul (Between Izzy’s and Choo Choo Bob’s)

Hours: Monday-Saturday 7am-7pm





Kate '18

Miracles Do Happen

Thousands of people have been flocking to a southwest suburban parish of Chicago to see a present day miracle. Since July, tiny droplets of fragranced oil have been trickling down the icon of St. John the Baptist which is located in front of the altar at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Homer Glen.

People react differently to supernatural events such as this, and many believe this oil coming from the icon possesses healing properties and it may be a blessing from God. Events like this ultimately tend to draw people towards God.

The parish priest described the oil coming from the icon to be a breathtaking event. Rev. Sotirios “Sam” Dimitriou was quoted saying, “You don’t expect anything like this. It’s breathtaking. It’s so powerful to see such an act of God before your eyes.” The oil is sweet smelling and is trickling from the icon’s halo, wings, hands and beard. The excess oil is being collected in a reservoir of cotton at the base of the icon. Several cases of divine healing have already been reported. One man had a blocked artery which has been cleared and another has claimed to be cancer free. The priest himself had previously experienced blackouts caused by a nerve condition, and these blackouts have ceased since the oil has begin to flow from the icon, and Dimitrious has stopped taking his medication.

The church has received an overwhelming amount of visitors coming to firsthand experience this miracle and true phenomenon. The diocese states, “We are blessed to have this occurring at our parish in Homer Glen, Illinois.” The auxiliary bishop of the diocese chose not to comment to the Chicago Tribune on whether the phenomenon was a genuine miracle, saying, “We let the faithful believe it if they wish.” Bishop Demetrios added: “If it brings you closer to God that’s wonderful. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”