Monthly Archives

March 2010


Dzien dobry!

Spring break is here! Eleven of us just came back from spending 5 days in Poland. We flew into Katowice and took a taxi to Częstochowa where we stayed for the night. We walked through the market, and then made our way to venerate the image of the Black Madonna. We spent the night in Częstochowa, and then went to visit Auschwitz the next day. On our way to Krakow we stopped in Wadowice to see the house that Pope John Paul II grew up in. Our final stop was Krakow. I think I can say that the whole group fell in love with Krakow. The city was beautiful, and the people were kind.

We were blessed to be there for Palm Sunday, and we went to the Dominican church for mass. The church was packed and there was standing room only. What amazed me even more was that it was packed with young adults. Then, after 10 minutes of trying to exit the church, we realize that there is a procession coming down the street for the next mass. There was a procession of people singing, playing hand drums, carrying palms, twirling sticks with flames, and carrying a large image of the face of Christ. We stood there with our jaws on the floor. The Church is alive and kicking! Poland’s passionate youth blew me away.
We finished the week checking out the Wawel Castle, celebrating a birthday, and then hitting up the salt mines before spending the night in the Katowice airport. I left a little bit of my heart in Poland.


Silent Retreat

This weekend the Bernardi household spent the two days in silence. Father Carola and the rest of the chaplaincy led the retreat for us. We stayed at a retreat house on Lago Albano across from Castel GandolfoI (the Pope’s summer residence). I actually got sick on the first day of the retreat. I took some sudafed, and knocked out. After missing a whole session, I woke up and made my way down to find Fr. Carola. He smiled and told me to enjoy the private room and rest. I was frustrated. Frustrated that I was sick. Frustrated that I was missing out on sessions, and missing the opportunity to pray with the group. It was in my room, alone, and in my sickness that I met Him. I went through my old journal. Reading entires from over a year ago, I recognized that I continue to fall in the same ways, and the Lord continues to pull me out of myself time and time again. How could I not be joyful!
This is the beauty of the Catholic Studies program. The staff and professors care about our growth, not only intellectual but spiritual. This was the main reason that I drove 2000 miles from the west coast to study at St. Thomas.


Napoli, Sorrento and Capri

This weekend I went on my first weekend trip without the whole group. Six of us went to Naples, Sorrento, and Capri. We were incredibly blessed in that we never missed a train the whole trip. We spent a few hours in Naples the first day, and made sure to get pizza. We spent a couple of hours strolling through the National Archeological Museum in Naples. It was absolutely beautiful! I’m so glad we were able to see the Pompeian paintings before actually seeing the city itself. With so few ancient Roman paintings left, the several rooms of paintings in this museum are a real gift.
After spending the majority of the day in Naples, we hoped on a train and headed to Sorrento, where we would be staying for the next two nights. With no address, and the sun down, we were happy that we were able to find the place! We stayed at the convent “La Culla” (which means crib). The view from our room was spectacular, the sisters were so sweet to us, and we had some of the best coffee and lemon cake there.

We spent most of that day on the island of Capri, doing some sight seeing, and taking a chair lift to the top of the island for a better view. One of the guys who was with us, Mike, stayed up a while longer to get some more pictures, and he noticed a couple on one of the look outs. The guy was proposing to his girlfriend! Mike snapped a picture, waited a while, and went up to be the first to congratulate them. He exchanged info so he could send them the picture, and found out that they are both students from Ave Maria University (in Florida) who are also studying in Rome. We look forward to meeting up with them again.

Sunday we woke up early, went to mass with one of the sisters, and before we left she showed us the giant icon that she is working on for their private chapel! Again, what a gift! We made our way to Pompeii, and walked the ancient Roman roads for a couple of hours. We then made our way back to home/Rome.



We’ve been here for almost 5 weeks, and I don’t even know where to begin. The first week alone was jam packed with activity!
Let me introduce myself. My name is Jacqui and I am currently a senior at the University of St. Thomas, double majoring in History and Catholic Studies. I am originally from sunny southern California, and transferred to UST fall of 2008. I have absolutely loved my time at St. Thomas, and I’m so greatful for the opportunity to study in Rome this semester. So far we’ve already seen the bones of St. Peter, the Sistine chapel, the mosiacs in Ravena, venerated the relics of St. Catherine in Siena, and gone to a Wednesday Papal audience. Oh, and we got to see snow fall on Rome.
During one of our first meetings as a group, we were asked what our expectations or hopes were for our time here. One of the guys said that he hoped that we would all get answers to any questions we brought. I’m excited to see what answers I will leave with.