Friday, October 26, 2007

Maggie discusses the papal audience

Yesterday at our papal audience, a woman sat begind me who just made my eyes well up with tears every time I turned around to sneak a glance at her. She had to have been at least 80 years old and was sitting at the audience with a man I presume was her husband. I dont know what her name was or where she was from but I can wholeheartedly say that I don't think I will ever forget her. She sat throughout the entire hour with her eyes closed, quietly mumbling the prayers of the rosary she clutched. She may have been in St. Peter's Square a hundred times in her life, I certainly don't know her story. But, given the look that was etched onto her face, this overwhelming sense of peace and contentment, I couldn't help but think that it was her first time she was in the presence of the Holy See, and that this day had been something she had wanted to do her whole life; she reminded me so very much of my own grandma, someone who I have thought a lot about on this trip. This woman was, I think, the detail I will most clearly remember of the day. To me she was an embodiment of how beautiful faith is, whatever or whoever one conceives God to be, and a reminder of how very lucky I am to have had this incredible expereince at such a young age.

The scene in St. Peter's Square was one of the most vibrantly colorful I have ever seen...people of every walk of life, faith, and culture. And yet, there we all were, gathered together, connected somehow to one another. I have so many thoughts I want to share, and again, not enough time! I wish I could bottle up this whole week and share it with all of you, but I know that all in good time, we will all have the opportunities to reflect and share. I have learned so very much and yet there there are still so many lessons to be learned, conversations to be had, experiences to be reflected on, and change to be made. A friend gave me the book "The Alchemist" to read on this trip, and I am so grateful that I have had the book to read on this trip. The story is a reminder to find our own personal legends and to follow our dreams. I don't think it would be at all inaccurate to say that everyone who has and is partcipating on this journey have come a step closer to realizing their own personal legends, the peole whom God intends for us to be.

19 comments:

Sarah Krings said...

Maggie,

I love your story of the old woman! I could feel through your words how moved you were. It's so great to hear how people of all cultures and faiths could gather together at St. Peter's Square without any violence. I bet that was an amazing site to see. I am jelous of you! You did a great job representing Xavier!

Deanna said...

Maggie, I have always wanted to travel to Rome and to see the Vatican. It would be so interesting to travel to Rome and observe St. Peter's Sqaure. It sounds like it was an amazing sight and you are so lucky to have been able to have that experience! You and Michael did an excellent job representing the Xavier community. It is amazing how so many different religions and voices can be brought together and not have any horrible attacks or violence break out. Communication is the key to success.

lindsey sciascia said...

I agree with Sarah. I loved your story about the old woman. I thought it was inspiring to hear about this woman whom you really didn't know anything about yet you were still so moved by her prayer. I also feel its amazing to finally start hearing about some peace in the world especially with all the violence going on throughout the middle east. To hear of all the different types of people meeting at St. Peter's Square and being able to enjoy it together is refreshing and relieving. I would absolutely love to go to Rome and experience everything you were so fortunate to see this past week.

Allison Schwandner said...

I was lucky enough to get to go to Rome this summer through Xavier. I had an awesome experience as well. No matter what the cirsumstances you go there for you will always have a great time and definately learn a lot. I personally learned a lot about my own culture. The great thing about Rome is that Religion is all around you, especially in the art. I just loved it. I really enjoyed reading about your trip. I am glad you had a great time also and made it back safely and have many experiences to share with others.

Kenneth Taylor said...

would first like to say that I am happy that you were able to witness evrything you have while on your trip and you have done a great job representing Xavier. I also love this story because it is a story of faith. I trully believ everyone needs faith and should always believe. I personally believe without faith and my belief in God, I would not have my family or everything that I have. I also believe it is great that everyone can come together and talk about religion because talking is the first step and one of the most important ones.

Thank You

Jordan Paquet said...

Maggie,

I found your story very touching and it amazes me how you find beauty in the most simple situations. I am 18, and I have not been fortunate enough have have something touch my heart as in depth as you have yours. I support the idea of blog posting and think this is a great opportunity for students to open up their feelings and expand their views on the world. Xavier has given me a new outlook on community life and has made me much more open to acceptance of others.

Jordan Paquet

Selam said...

I wish I was fortunate enough to see all the wonders that Rome has to offer. I truly enjoyed reading about how different groups of people were gathered together at St. Peter's Square. To me it symbolizes how the world should be. No matter our differnece we should all be able to come together. I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip and make it back safely.

sam said...

Maggie, I can only imagine what you experienced and saw on your trip. Your story about the old woman was very touching and is proof that faith brings people a long way. I can only hope that i can one day travel to Rome and see what you have seen. I like the idea of this blog, it allows us students at XU to communicate and share your experiences! Hope you had a blast!

Samantha Bodner

Kate said...

Maggie,

The old lady sounds so cute. I wish I could of seen her and shared the experience with you. I find it almost breath taking how faith is such a beautiful thing and how it's all around us. Faith serve as constant reminder to me about how truely blessed I am. Your journal made me remember that. Thanks so much for going and representing our Xavier community.

Christine Groh said...

Hey Maggie,
This past summer I was fortunate enough to travel to Spain for a month, but it has always been my dream to visit Rome. I have always wanted to travel to Rome to see all of the wonderful sites such as the Colosseum, the Vatican and Pantheon and try Italian cuisine. Also, your story about the older lady is very touching and inspiring. I find it very exciting that you are over in Rome representing the Xavier Community. Thanks for sharing your experiences and I hope you are having so much fun! Have a safe trip back.
-Christine

Stephen said...

The story about the old woman was neat. Having read "The Alchemist" as well it make it easier to put a lot of thing in perspective. I bet that the book and the wonders of Rome has opened your eyes and has helped you look at things differently. Thats for representing Xavier!

Andrea said...

Maggie,
I also enjoyed the story of the old woman. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience and thoughts of St. Peter's Square in your blog. It was very touching to read about what you went through. It was also amazing to read that so many people of diverese cultures and religions could come together as one at St. Peter's Square. I believe that is what brings our world closer together. Thanks again for sharing your feelings and thoughts through the blog!

Erica Harris said...

Maggie,

I want to begin by saying that I believe that you blogging your experiences at Rome have given students at Xavier a better understanding of how life changing this event was for you. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of impact this journey has had on your religious views! I find your blogs very interesting and would love to hear more about your adventure to Rome if you and Michael were ever to give a presentation at Xavier. You and Michael are so lucky to have been able to contribute to such an important event!

Courtney said...

Maggie,

The thought of people from all around the world being able to meet in on place, and be peaceful is amazing. I would love to have been there and to be able to witness something such as this. I wish i was able to have seen this woman, and experienced the beuty you described. You are so lucky and i wish you the best of luck with everything.

Courtney Whalen

Greg Tiu said...

This is a nice passage that really captures the atmosphere of a mass at the Vatican. I've been there once there myself and it really was an experience seeing all the different groups of people gathered outside celebrating their faith with one another. Its always interesting to hearing about other people's expericence. Im happy to hear it was an uplifting experience for you.

megalicious777 said...

Maggie
I like what you said about the old woman being the "embodiment of how beautiful faith is, whatever or whoever one conceives God to be." I think that that line right there is an example of how we should view other faiths, not as dangerous or wrong, but as universal and peaceful. If everyone adopted this mindset, the world would certainly be a much more peaceful and less judgemental place.

Meg

Andrew said...

Maggie,

Your story paints an extremely vivid and moving picture of piety. I remember when I went to the Vatican and I was just overwhelmed by all the different walks of life I encountered, and how they were coming from all parts of the world for the exact same reason as everyone else. What you're doing with the dialogue is great, I hope you had an awesome experience.

Allison said...

Your story about the old woman is very touching, I think we call can agree on that. It is very refreshing to hear about all the different people gathering together in peace. It gives hope for a more connected and peaceful world. Communication and an open mind are necessary in this crazy mixed up world.

John said...

It is amazing to see someone completely devoted to his or her faith as this old woman was. I admire her in many ways for having such a deep dedication, and I appreciate you for sharing it with the Xavier community. It is not always easy to believe; after witnessing stories similar to this one its gives the non-believer hope.