When in Rome!

Rome...ah! So many stories and sights and spiritual things I could tell you all about! Here is just a little highlight of some of the things I saw and experienced. The first day I walked into St. Peter's Square. It was probably one of my favorite and most meaningful moments since I've been in Europe. The columns on the side are supposed to symbolize mother church welcoming you home and into the church. We had a Latin Mass inside St. Peter's which is one of the most beautiful things to partake in. I was able to wake up each morning and pray around 8am in St.Peter's before all the tourists arrived. My favorite image to pray in front of is the Pieta- Mary holding the dead body of Jesus. We had a tour of St. Peter's by some Seminarians that graduated from Franciscan or just from the U.S. that are studying at the North American College in Rome. There is so much symbolism in that church. One of the most exciting moments as well was to see Pope Benedict XVI!! We said the Angeles with him on Sunday after mass! :) I felt right at home in the Vatican and the Pope spoke so lovingly in 7 different languages to all of us in the crowd! We were able to take a tour underneath the Vatican to see the original foundation of the basilica and all the tombs underneath the ground including the bones of St. Peter! It was incredible! We were able to see touristy things too like the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, etc. We had exquisite Italian meals every night and gelato!! They know how to make pasta that is for sure! All in all, the highlight and most amazing moments were spent praying and just being at the Vatican!
The photos: Pope Benedict XVI, St. Peter's Basilica, and a group of us standing with the Basilica in the background!

Hike to the Waterfall!

We got back from Poland on Sunday and thankfully we had Monday off from classes. On this snowy Monday, I decided to go to the waterfall about and hour hike from the Kartause in Gaming! It was snowing so much and the waterfall was completely frozen! It was so beautiful! One funny story: everything was so frozen over, at the bottom of the water fall I thought it was solid and I fell it! It was so much fun! Luckily my feet didn't freeze from all the water that got in my shoes! We had so much fun laying in the snow and climbing everywhere! It was so beautiful! :)


About a month ago, all of us on the Gaming campus traveled to Poland. It was about a 12 hour drive. We visited Czechtohowa, Krakow, Wadowice. The first place was Czechtohowa. We had mass where Our Lady appeared and protected the people of Poland. Each morning at 6am they unveil her. I ran to the unveiling as soon as I got out of the bus and trumpets loudly played as they unveiled her! It was so beautiful! I also offered my prayers to her. In this chapel, the prayers are offered to Her by walking on your knees around the perimeter of the church. That was one of the most powerful things I did in Poland! Krakow was beautiful! We visited the church were John Paul II was Bishop and where he went to college. On a lighter note, Krakow has the best hot chocolate in the world! :) One of the most intense days was visited Aushwitz and Birkeneau. Not only was it just somber but the temperatures were extremely cold. It was colder than Austria. In Aushwitz we saw where St. Maximillian Kolbe was in the starvation cell and where John Paul II visited after his death. One of the most stark things at Aushwitz that I saw was the 2 tons of hair of all the women killed there. After Aushwitz, we had dinner at the house of Sisters that have a devotion to St. Maximillian Kolbe. We also visited the Shrine of the Divine Mercy which was incredible. One of St. Faustina's sister gave us a really beautiful talk about mercy and how Christ is crucified to one side of the cross and on the other side of the cross- that is where we are to be crucified with him. The last stop was Wadowice where John Paul II grew up. We went inside his house which is now a little museum and was able to see his crib, ski clothing, scapulars, Papal Clothing, grades, and all sorts of things. We prayed for awhile in his home parish where he recieved first communion, baptized, and was confirmed. One of my favorite parts of the Church was praying where he would always go to pray each time he came to the church and that was the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help! One fun thing I did was eat John Paul II's favorite dessert which are called Papa Cakes! They are so heavy and filling!! Poland was such a blessing and I learned so much! I have so many more details that I could share but hopefully I can in person! :) The pictures: Me in front of John Paul II's church and this is his church