Wednesday, June 30, 2010
My Reading List

This is, so far, my summer reading list. This list is pretty long, though, so more likely, this will turn into a reading list for my oh-so-abundant free time during the school year. (Please note sarcasm.) If you have further suggestions, let me know!

Currently reading:
Man and Woman: A Divine Invention by Alice von Hildebrand
Veritatis Splendor by Pope John Paul II

(I was supposed to have finished VS already, but Fr. G doesn’t need to know that I haven’t!)

Books for the summer (pretty much in the order I’d like to tackle them):
-Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Ratzinger
-Idea of the University by Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman
-Deus Caritas Est by Pope Benedict XVI

Books for the vague future:
-Something from St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena (I have St. T’s autobiography already. $3 at a library book corner—quite a steal! But due to warnings of its difficulty, I’ve been putting it off for 2 or 3 years. Maybe I’ll tackle it soon. But regardless, I would also like something of St. C’s too.)
-Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
-Introduction to the Devout Life by (??? I forget!!)
-One of JPII’s documents on the woman (probably Mulieris Dignitatem)
-He Leadeth Me (Someone in Rome had this one. It looked cool.)
-Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge (suggested kindly by Andrew)
-Something by St. Thomas Aquinas. I hear that his Latin is an easy read, but if I’m trying to read his Latin, I need to find a topic that I already have a vague idea about! :)

Oh yeah, and for when I get a fantasy kick, I know I need to read Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I think if I haven’t touched it by the next time I see Dan C, I should be thoroughly disappointed in myself. :-P

Considering that I get easily distracted from one book by another book, I might not actually read all of these for several years. But if I get through even the first 2 books on the summer list before I go to school, I’ll feel accomplished! :)

posted by Kristin @ 3:40 PM   1 comments
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Buona Festa di San Pietro e San Paolo!

It is my great joy to wish all of you a very blessed Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul!!! I pray that through the intercession of these great Apostles of Rome, you are drawn ever closer to the heart of Christ!

This feast day is especially dear to me—it was on this feast day last year that I received the affirming conviction that I was going to Rome for the semester. Of course, before then, I had applied for two programs there (neither of which I ended up doing—the Lord saved the best for last, as He tends to do!), and I visited Rome with my friends the previous April, so I had the idea of going for a semester. But I knew that Rome was where I was supposed to be on this feast day. I was reading a blog that day (can’t remember for the life of me which one it was…I would guess, but it's really not important which exact blog it was...), and it had pictures of the Papal Mass and First Vespers for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. I was hooked—I experienced such a longing to go and experience Rome more deeply at that point that I knew the Lord must be calling me there.

What a joy to be able to look back on that blessed day! One year later, I thank the Apostles of Rome for their intercession, because I know that they were praying for me, and they continue to do so. Sts. Peter and Paul guided me through the semester, allowing me see Our Lord more clearly, and also to learn more what it means to be one of His followers. I look at the pictures of the Papal events this year with a serene delight and gratitude for having been able to experience so much in the Eternal City.

When I see these pictures now, I am also amazed at the humility of one man whom I had the immense pleasure to meet while I was in Rome. This man is the Papal Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini. When he came to our house on the Feast of St. Philip Neri (another one of my dear spiritual fathers in Rome), I was struck by his joy, his humility and meekness, and his consideration of others. He had no problem posing for pictures with us, offering us blessings (including Chris’s whole family!), and simply spending time with us at our house. In fact, when his cab came to pick him up, while Fr. Carola was trying to usher him out of the door, he did not appear to be in any rush, and took the time to shake the hand and thank each and every person standing in the room. He was very soft-spoken, gentle, and joyful, but firm and clear in his answers to our questions (in Italian, translated into English by Fr. Carola). He spoke so eloquently about the Liturgy, and it was very edifying to see his example as a faithful priest of the Lord.

Msgr. Marini (on the right) handing the new Bishops' palliums to the Pope.

(Image from

But I was struck once again by his example today as I came across pictures of this year’s Mass. I mean, think about what his duties are. His job is to organize and run the Papal Masses, to make sure that they operate without a hitch. And yet, when the crowd begins to cheer and take pictures and clamor towards the center aisle, they rush to see the Holy Father, not Msgr. Marini. But I’ve noticed as I look back at my own pictures and see professional pictures of papal events, Msgr. Marini is always there, just in the background, dutifully serving the Lord. What an example to all of us! He works diligently at the task which the Lord has entrusted to him, yet asks for no applause. Is this not the vocation of every Christian, to work with the Lord in the segment of the vineyard which He has given to us to tend, and all the while asking for no praise for our efforts? After all, it is St. Paul himself who teaches us that “He must increase, I must decrease.” I think that we have an excellent example of this in Msgr. Marini, and I know I, for one, would do well to follow his example. In this, he imitates the very Princes of Rome whom we celebrate today, who gave up their lives for the sake of the Gospel, who preferred even death to abandoning our Lord and worked diligently to bring others to Christ.

Again, a very blessed Feast Day to you all, especially to all of you with whom I was privileged to share some part of the Eternal City! May God bless you all through their intercession!

“O Roma felix, quæ duorum Principum
Es consecrata glorioso ceteras
Horum cruore purpurata ceteras
Excellis orbis una pulchritudines.”

“O happy Rome! Who in thy martyr princes’ blood,
A twofold stream, art washed and doubly sanctified.
All earthly beauty thou alone outshinest far,
Empurpled by their ourpoured life-blood’s glorious tide.”
posted by Kristin @ 10:59 AM   0 comments
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Best answer I've ever heard!
One question often posed to many a priest and religious, and even to some married couples: "How did you know that ___ was your vocation?"

The best answer to this question I've ever heard came from Fr. Charles Morerod, the Angelicum coordinator of our Rome program and the Rector Magnificus of the Angelicum, who answered it for one of my classmates while he was dining with us at Bernardi. (How humbling, yet what an honor it was for us to be able to have him as a guest in our house!)

His answer was brief, but it speaks volumes about his faith and trust in the Lord's will:

"I did not know! I discovered it!"

Lord, I'm beginning to see more and more each day the truth of his statement--that our vocations are not a calculation on our part, but a joyous revelation on Your part, a loving invitation for us to love You and others in a specific way. Lord, let my answer be as Your Mother's each time You invite me to follow You more closely and to love You more deeply: "Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum."
posted by Kristin @ 10:32 PM   1 comments
Monday, June 14, 2010
To live up to my promise
...I will give you a little recap of my last 2 days in Rome! Thanks to Jacqui's and Mike's pictures on Facebook, I have a little visual to show you.

I stayed 2 days extra from the rest of Bernardi because I found out that Corpus Christi was the Thursday after we left, so I wanted to stay in Rome for it to see Our Lord processed from St. Mary Major to St. John Lateran.

The first day, I said goodbye to the Bernardians, moved into my hostel, and then I had 7 hours before I was going to meet some of the other Bernardians who stayed in Rome for dinner. So I thought that I'd have fun wandering around Rome by myself.

Well, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Slowly, the realization that yes, my semester WAS over, dawned on me, so it really turned into a rough day. I missed all of my friends too much to really be enjoying myself as I would've liked. So I really spent the day wandering the city...oh, and finding out that no, the hostel I booked actually DIDN'T have space for me, so they were going to block off a section of the common room for me with a giant, 8'x10' art canvas and call it a "private suite." It's kinda entertaining, actually--here's what it looked like...

So the next morning, thanks be to God, Fr. Carola invited me, Jacqui, Ashley, and Mike to Mass with him at St. Peter's Basilica for Corpus Christi. (Corpus Christi, though it's celebrated in most places on the next Sunday, even in the city of Rome, the Vatican City still celebrates it on the traditional day of the feast, which is Thursday.) It was a beautiful, reverent Mass, even with the simplicity which is typical of St. Peter's at 7 AM. Plus, Fr. Carola had an AWESOME homily, as usual. :-D

Next, we went to Santa Marinella, because one of Jacqui's friends recommended it to us. But the best thing to do there is the beach. And it was a bit chilly and overcast. So we didn't go to the beach. But it was a nice day trip with my friends--they made the day absolutely wonderful! And we ran into one of our friends from the Angelicum who lives there at the train station, so that was fun! :)

Finally, we got back to Rome, and it started to rain. I mean, rain a lot. So we bought these cheap, 3 Euro umbrellas. Of course, when you buy cheap, 3 Euro umbrellas, you don't expect much from them:

After eating my last meal at L'Archetto's (ghiottona, complete with vino), we met up with Fr. Carola at the Gregorian to go to the procession with the Pope, which was supposed to be my last great "hurrah" before leaving Rome.

Well, on the way, we found out that the procession was cancelled because of the rain.

I have to say, I would've taken that news much harder if I hadn't just spent such a wonderful day with such wonderful people. But when I found out it was cancelled, after a look of shock, I just shrugged my shoulders, smiled, and laughed. I guess God wanted me to stay for other reasons other than the procession. :) Because as it stood then, and as it stands right now, I don't regret staying those last 2 days, nor do I think that I stayed "for nothing." I got to spend two last days with four (we met Gina and her family too!) of my new friends and share a last few wonderful memories with them. As they hugged me to comfort me about my lost opportunity, I was just grateful for their presence and the four months I got to spend with them. Praise the Lord for placing such wonderful people in my life!

So we spent my last night in Rome getting desserts with Fr. Carola and listening to more of his stories. As we parted with Father for the night, I asked him for his blessing and got this one last blessing from one of the greatest priests I know. I admit, I walked away tearful (though Gina, the caring person that she is, was there to comfort me), but I tried my best to make the last few moments with my friends cheerful. After all, they gave me such a great last 2 days. Deo gratias!
posted by Kristin @ 7:11 PM   1 comments
Back at home
Dear blog readers whom I deprived of posts during my Roman travels,

I apologize for being so lax about posting. I meant to post to you. Really I did. But once I got a month behind, I tried to catch you up from that month. But that took forever, since a lot can happen in a month when you're in Rome. Then I had an essay to write. And that took forever too. And then I had finals. They...probably should've taken more "forever" than they did, but that's my fault. ;-) So two months passed, then three, and now here I am sitting in Pittsburgh feeling very bad for not keeping you more up to date.

BUT...I can promise you that I'll feel very reminiscent over the next few weeks, so you will get many faithful recaps of the adventures which everyday life in Rome can bring, of the glories of living in a community bound together by the love of Christ, and of the rich splendors which our Faith holds throughout the city of Rome.

To any Bernardians who might be reading this: I miss you dearly. I wish that I had more time with you, and I realize more and more that you each have a special place in my heart which is irreplaceable. I will be praying for each one of you, especially that you continue to draw nearer to Christ, for it is in Him that we will find everything true, loving, and beautiful. I remember that a few days before we left Fr. Carola said, "In Heaven, we'll have Bernardi forever. And we'll never have to say goodbye." So may God lead each of us there, and may He lead us closer to Him every day.

So now that my eyes are thoroughly misted over, I promise again, I WILL give you some recaps. And I mean it this time. :)

In Christ, through Mary,
posted by Kristin @ 6:52 PM   0 comments
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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