I woke up this morning to a beautiful rainstorm, and the first thing I thought was “I don’t want to travel today.” Thus far, *not* going to the Amalffi Coast has been a really good decision. I can only run on empty for so long, so I’m glad to have this day to chill out and not stress!
On a completely unrelated note, I just ate an Italian carrot that looked like those twirly bamboo plants people put on their kitchen windowsills. It tasted kinda funny.
I don’t really remember what I blogged about last, but I should probably just let you all know the highlights of this past week :D It’s actually been pretty quiet. As usual, the tours are awesome and Dr. Connell is full of wisdoms and insights galore. On Tuesday, we visited the Tiber Island (not sure if that’s the legit name, but it’s an island. in the middle of the Tiber. and Livy mentions it in his history. yeah, it’s pretty old ^_^) And it’s super cool because there are only a couple of buildings there and one is a hospital (where you get a room which overlooks the Tiber and get to go eat pasta and drink wine on the terrace O_O I want to work in a hospital like that!) and the other is a Church. But the cool thing was, it’s St. Bartholomew’s Church (and there may have been a relic…I forget :/) BUT all of the side altars were dedicated to modern martyrs. It was really inspiring to see the relics of these (some yet uncanonized) saints, and pray for their intercession. They lived in our world…some were martyred only last year. It is possible to be a saint today, and persecution does happen. By their example, I hope to be inspired to stand up for Love and Truth with courage and strength.
I don’t think I’ll ever get over how ordinary the extraordinary is here. I am walking the streets which the Saints walked, and I’ve already seen the Pope twice! I am surrounded by BEAUTIFUL art and a Church on every corner. I am living and breathing centuries-old history. My classes are wonderful, our meals are cooked for us, our laundry done for us…my companions are beautiful, positive, God-fearing people. And I still find things to complain about. -_-
Life is wonderful!!
Something I think we can learn from this culture is to value beauty – in art, architecture, food, quality time, dress, decorum, etc. Our culture tries so hard to not “judge” anyone or make them uncomfortable, that we’ve come to the point where anything goes. That’s no way to live in a civilized society. I really appreciate the cultural norms and the enjoyment of things which aren’t “useful.” Utilitarianism sucks in so many ways.
I also got to see so many WONDERFUL works by Bernini and Caravaggio at the Villa Borghese yesterday. Here’s a shout-out to my Mama, who taught me art history when I didn’t really care about it — thank you so much!!! It’s a pretty legit feeling to walk into a gallery and know what’s going on…what “chiaroscuro” is, what is characteristic of a Peter Paul Rubens work :D I was captivated by the *motion* which Bernini (at the age of 20, mind you) was able to put into his sculptures. His statues were fascinating….to take a cold, dead piece of white marble and be able to turn it into a figure at the height of tension – with toned muscle, delicate hair, a tear-stained and distraught face. That’s awesome. I came to better appreciate the patience and skill of artists…I’d probably have just given up. ALSO, I don’t want to go into detail, but I do want to point out that, when it comes to nude art, the intention makes the difference. We are more than simply physical beings, and the fact that we can tell the difference in a work of art based upon the intention attests to that fact.
As a last note before I go: I just wanted to post this article (In This Year of Faith: Thank You, Mr. Monaghan, for the Catechism.) about Tom Monaghan. This man is incredibly generous, and while he is a man and not perfect, his dedication to and love for the Church are inspiring. I’d also just add one thing to the article: as a student at one of the schools he founded, I want to point out that, when I graduate, I am much more than a person “well qualified to effect change in the culture.” While that is valuable and certainly our vocation (Year of Faith…New Evangelization… <3 ), I also am someone who came to the University to grow as a person. I, as an individual, have been incredibly blessed by my time at Ave Maria University – by the education, religious opportunities, my peers, professors, staff, etc. Due to the generosity and faith of Tom Monaghan, I have grown so much as a person, and been given the roots and connections I know I need to continue to grow in the Love of Our Lord and in faith. As an individual, and a grateful student (and birthday buddy!) I would like to thank Tom Monaghan for giving me the opportunity to attend such a wonderful and life-changing school. May God bless him always!
Until next time, Ciao Belle!! <3
Oh, P.S. – I’ll post a bunch of pictures soon, so you can see some of the awesome stuff I’m up to also :D