Sunday, February 7, 2010
"An Experiment in Christian Community"
Greetings from Rome! I'm finally settling into my residence here at the University of St. Thomas Bernardi Campus, so I finally have some time to write. Actually, this blog post has been ongoing for quite some time, but I just haven't had the chance to finish it.


First, let me describe to you the type of community I'm living in right now. There's 29 of us living in an old villa, which became a Spanish convent, and now finally belongs to the University of St. Thomas. Of these 29 people, 12 are laywomen, 9 are laymen, and 8 are seminarians at St. John Vianney Seminary, which is connected with UST. The first floor is the men's floor, the second floor is the women's, and both of us have community space on the ground floor (where our chapel, a study room, and a living room-type space is), the basement (where our computer lab, kitchen, and dining room is), and the third floor and terrace. Our residence is what our chaplain, Fr. Carola, described in his first homily to us as "an experiment in Christian community." He said that by having all different vocations living together in community, we learn how to support each other in Christian charity, and therefore form a strong Christian community. I'm looking forward to living with my brothers and sisters and growing in faith with them as we live here in Rome!!! I have very nice roommates, Jacqui and Ashley, who both go to St. Thomas, and I have a very lively community as a whole! :)


Here's a brief synopsis of events over the past few days, since it's been awhile, and I know I have a lot to report:


On Thursday, one of my classmates, Nick, helped avert a crisis by telling me that our flight from DC to Rome was cancelled due to the storms. Luckily, because of his information, I was able to transfer my flight to JFK, on a flight with 9 of my other classmates. Once this was all worked out, on Friday, I flew in from Pittsburgh to JFK, met up with my classmates, and we all flew to Fiumicino (Rome's main airport) together, where we met up with 6 more students to travel to our campus. We got on the bus and headed to Bernardi, which is a 20-25 minute walk north of the Vatican. Saturday and Sunday were full of orientation to our dorm, as well as two Masses with Fr. Carola, our chaplain. (Pitt, CMU, and Chatham students: Fr. Carola taught Fr. Kim when he was in Rome! :-D) We will be having Mass at our home every Wednesday night. The Mass with Fr. Carola is very much like the Mass at the Oratory, minus the chanted Gloria, so it is very comfortably familiar. :)

Monday was the first day at the Angelicum, or the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. Priests, religious, seminarians, and laypersons from all over the world come to study here!!! Our classes, except Italian, are all in English. So far, we've only had two of our classes--Church and Culture (or something like that...she wants a new name, but hasn't picked it yet) with Dr. Liz Lev (!!!), and Italian with a wonderful Italian woman named Marta. My other classes start next week, when the rest of the Ang starts classes. I'll also be taking Fundamental Moral Theology with a priest who I've heard is the Pope's principal theologian, Poets and Mystics with Fr. Paul Murray, and Church and Biomedical Revolution with Dr. Wojda, a professor from St. Thomas who, along with his wife and 5 children, are staying with us at Bernardi. (His wife and 2 older children are auditing Dr. Lev's class with us!)

Already, we've had some amazing experiences! For Church and Culture, Dr. Lev already took us to St. Peter's Basilica and the Catacombs of St. Priscilla. Dr. Lev is a world-renowned art historian, and it's wonderful to hear her insights about the art we are seeing! Today was the catacombs, and we got to see the first ever recorded images of Madonna and Child and the Epiphany. It's unfathomable to think that these treasures have remained underground for the past 1800 years, and it's humbling to consider the strong, resilient faith of the early Christians. Even just wandering around in Rome, there is so much to see! On the way back from class on Monday, we stopped in a church just to look around, and it ended up being the church where St. Charles Borromeo's heart is!!! How awesome is that?!? I can't wait for Lenten Station Churches to start--that'll be a wonderful opportunity to see Rome's splendors! (I'll explain Lenten Station Churches later!)

Today was also the Papal Audience!!! :-D We got to see Pope Benedict XVI, who looked like he was quite delighted today! My favorite part of the Audience was the Pater Noster and Papal Blessing in the end. Everyone in the audience chants the Pater Noster together, regardless of where they all traveled from to get there. I love how the Church encompasses all cultures, yet can come together in one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism...it transcends cultural boundaries...truly Catholic, truly universal! Oh, and get this!! The Papal Blessing extends to all friends and family of the attendees, so consider yourselves blessed! :-D

Well, I guess that's all I can think of to write for now. I'll try to write more frequently...already so much has happened that I can't write about it all! I hope you all are well, and I'm praying for each of you! (If you have special intentions, email me at kgottron@gmail.com.) May God bless you and keep you this day and always! Pax Christi vobiscum!
posted by Kristin @ 10:46 AM  
1 Comments:
  • At February 10, 2010 at 2:29 PM, Blogger Barbara said…

    Hey Kristin!!! I'm so glad to hear that you're here in Roma and that you've settled in. I can't wait to meet up with you in the next few weeks and compare notes!

     

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About Me


Name: Kristin
Home: Pittsburgh, PA, United States
About Me: Seeking my true Fatherland as I travel this spiritual journey with Our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope, with the help of God, to follow in the example of the saints and strive for holiness.
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