Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! I am not able to be with my mom today, but we had a May Crowning for the Blessed Mother and showered our “House Mother” with love and flowers today. In a similar vein, today was the March for Life in Rome. It traveled from the Collosseum to St. Peter’s. At St. Peter’s today, 802 new saints were canonized! Aww yeah. I know that sounds like a lot, but 799 of them were companions to the Italian Antonio Primaldo. Also canonized was Columbian Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui (1874-1949), foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and Mexican Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Handmaids of St Margaret Mary (Alacoque) and the Poor.

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mama Mary!

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Top: Kohls, Necklace: Gift, Skirt: Piperlime, Heels: Nordstroms

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Our Chaplain Fr. Justin coined the Ascension as “The Inauguration of Heaven.” Now, thanks to the Ascension, 802 of our brothers and sisters are now seeing the face of Our Lord for all of eternity! Stick that in your pipe…

Sts. Antonio Primaldo and companions, Laura di S. Caterina da Siena, and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, pray for us!

If you’re visiting from the WIW link-up, welcome, and stop by soon! 🙂

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What I Wore: Sunday

Today we spent a gorgeous day in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica. It started off foggy and misty, and ended up sunny and hot. It was literally a perfect day. We took the 3 hour bus ride there and started the morning off with Mass at the Poor Clare Cloistered Convent. That was a very beautiful experience. The nuns there are really experiencing a crisis of vocations so they’re praying a lot for new vocations. Our chaplain joked with them “Sisters, you asked that I send any women considering the contemplative life your way: so today I brought 14.” All of us women laughed…nervously. This is what I wore:

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Here’s a close-up of the shirt: black and white gingham.

The Benedictine Trappist Monks in Norcia are famous for their beer. At first I thought it would just be something nice to bring back as gifts but then I tried one, and it was the only beer I’ve taken more than one sip of! It was fantastic.

We continued to walk around the city throughout the day, we were able to see all of it, three times over, because it was so small. But it was just perfect. After spending a relaxing day walking around, sipping coffee and building great community, we finished the evening with Vespers with the Benedictine Monks there. They were in full habit, one monk even came out with his hood up. That was intense. I was able to pray in the crypt of the Basilica there which has the remains of the home Sts. Benedict and Scholastica were born in! If you don’t know their story, I suggest checking out Tommie dePaolo’s book “The Holy Twins.”

Norcia is gorgeous, lush and green surrounded my mountains and marsh. The fresh air was magnificent.

Norcia is gorgeous, lush and green surrounded my mountains and marsh. The fresh air was magnificent.

*If you’re visiting from the WIWSunday link-up, welcome, and stop by again soon!*

What I Wore: Sunday

♫”It’s a great day to be alive, I know the sun’s still shining when I close my eyes, hard times in the neighborhood, but why can’t everyday be just this good?”♫

There are no complaints here on a gorgeous Sunday morning in Roma. This morning we made our way over to Mass at the most beautiful Church here, (besides St. Peter’s of course) St. Joachim. It’s also fun because there are always the most religious sisters in one place besides St. Peter’s as well. I love the super simple songs they sing in Italian–I know almost every word in each song!

This is what I wore for such a gorgeous spring day:

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Top: JCPenney, Necklace: Borrowed, Skirt: Gifted, Shoes: Borrowed
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This is my fabulous photographer, roomie and friend!

Also, today is my dear nephew, Henry’s First Holy Communion! He participated in the Sacrament of Penance for the first time about a month ago, turned 7 a week ago and today is the day he will receive Our Lord! What a gift. If you wouldn’t mind say a prayer for him today!

“O Blessed Imelda, whose faith was so firm and so ardent that in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament thou were rapt in ecstasy.  We implore thee to obtain for us so lively a faith that it will transform our lives entirely. Especially now, as Henry is about to receive his First Holy Communion, may he believe firmly that our Lord and Master Jesus Christ is here present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. We offer up to Jesus thy pure and faithful heart in place of our inconstant and cold hearts. For thy sake may He hear our prayers and come soon to take possession of our souls. Amen.”

Boy's First Communion Pocket Prayer Card

*If you are visiting from the WIW link-up, welcome, and stop by soon!*

WIW: Sunday (Lenten Reflection)

Today I was asked to write a “Lenten Reflection” by the gals over at Fine Linen and Purple, who host the link-up of “What I Wore” to Mass every Sunday. Here goes nothin’!

I think I can count two seasons of Lent when I reached Easter and actually felt I had prepared for Christ’s resurrection, that I had been cleansed and grown. This year I am really trying to grow in Holiness, closer to the Lord and in the faith. It is so helpful to have daily reminders (homilies, the people in my community, etc.) of my Lenten observances, but perhaps even more helpful is learning about and having the practices and purposes explained.

During Lent, in order to cleanse and purify our hearts, contemplate the passion and death of Christ, to prepare and be able to fully celebrate the resurrection, we are called to: fast, pray and give alms. I am a very practical person, so here is a little synopsis of these three tasks we are called to, and a practical way you can put them into practice. I hope these help you along your Lenten journey!

Fasting
Purpose: Growth in self-control, so that we may free the body as opposed to being enslaved to the body.
Practical Application:
Don’t spend as much time on the internet/tv.
Give up a little dessert or seconds at a meal.
Try not to say any negative or sarcastic jokes.
Hardcore: Only eat bread and drink water for one day.

Prayer
Purpose: “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” –Matthew 26:41
Practical application: Take on a special prayer devotion such as the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, A Novena, The Morning Offering Prayer, etc.
Offering it up whenever you get impatient, envious, scared, mad, excited, lonely, etc.
Pray for those who wrong you, who annoy you, as well as those you love and care for.

Almsgiving
Purpose: To grow in the virtue of generosity to overcome greed.
Practical Application: Give a little gift to a friend, pay for a meal for a friend or stranger (drive-thru difference).
Get something from the store for a sick family member/friend (medicine, their favorite comfort food, etc).
Offer something to someone who asks for something, or even when they don’t ask for it, even if you really want it. (Ie. The last piece of cake, the choice of where to go for dinner, etc).
Choose an organization whose mission you really stand behind and give a donation or volunteer to help with them.

Today we went to Mass at the closest Basilica to us: Cristo Re. It was really wonderful because there was a choir made up of families, young and old and the songs were so upbeat and lively. It is an absolutely gorgeous day in Rome. Viva Cristo Re!

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Glasses: Zenni Optical, Scarf: Target, Jacket: Old Navy, Top: Target, Skirt: Wal-Mart, Tennies: Target,

I bought this skirt specifically for the first time I came to Rome 6 years ago, and realized I styled it today exactly how I did back then…

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What I Wore Sunday

Today we went to Mass at “Sancto Spiritu.” This parish, as a part of the Year of Faith, has Mass every weekend in English. It’s really great to actually be able to enter into the Mass and meet other English speakers! After Mass was Pope Benedict’s last Angelus in St. Peter’s Square! What a momentous occasion to say the least.

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This little grotto is in our backyard.

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Earrings: Old Navy, Dress: Shabby Apple, Bracelets: Burlington, Leggings: Thrifted, Boots: Target

Question: How do you make it so that your dress doesn’t cling to your leggings?

**If you are visiting from the WIW Sunday link-up, welcome, and stop by again soon! :) **

St. Peter’s Basilica

Seeing as how I haven’t posted anything for a week, I have now resolved to post a “Quick Takes Friday” and a “What I Wore Sunday” to keep my blogging consistent, and if any more posts get added into the mix, then it will be icing on the cake. Just for this week, I am going to do a “Quick Takes Friday”…on Sunday, AND a WIW Sunday, a two-for-one!

-We started just a couple introductory classes this week, and one class is conversational Italian. I am now fluent in ordering food and asking where the Piazza Navona is. 🙂 Also, we have a “Church and Culture in Rome” course taught by the inspiring and intelligent Dr. Liz Lev. I don’t exactly know her whole story or background, but she is very well known in Rome for guiding informational tours. Already we have toured the Catacombs of Priscilla and the Scavi Tour, which is of the tombs and St. Peter’s bones under St. Peter’s Basilica. Holla.

-We are provided breakfast every morning and I look forward to it everyday. I have a cornetta (type of pastry) or cioccolata cereali (chocolate cereal), a glass of mango juice and my choice of kiwi, mandarin oranges, a pear or massive banana. Fun fact: Lucky Charms here cost 9.50 Euro.

-On Friday we got to visit the Missionaries of Charity here in Rome, and an unexpected gift was to be able to see the room where Mother Theresa died. They haven’t touched the room since 1997, so the calendar, quotes and pictures hung around are just as she had them when she was visiting Rome. We also got to speak with a sister who knew Mother, and she told us stories of Mother and advice she gave her. It was fabulous and resonated with us all:

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-It has been pretty cold and rainy this past week here in Rome (but I’m also a freeze baby so while others aren’t that bothered, I complain everyday :/) So I usually wear a scarf, multiple sweaters/coats, and leggings under everything. I can’t wait to get my necklaces out instead of my four scarves that are on rotation!

-Today a small group of us went to Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. It was really great to see firsthand the universality of the Church–we were surrounded by about 200 or so other people who spoke all different languages, but because the Mass is always the same no matter what place it is celebrated, and even though today it was in Latin, we were all able to (more or less) know what was going on. It was a little crazy going up to Communion, but after receiving the Corpus Christi, it all felt very peaceful and calm. Immediately after Mass, Pope Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus out of his apartment window and waved to many of us down below.

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Stunna Shades: Aldo, Scarf: Thrifted, Jean Jacket: Old Navy, Dress: Old Navy, Watch: Francesca’s, Tennies: Target

**If you are visiting from the WIW Sunday link-up, welcome, and stop by again soon! :)**

What is this wonderful aRoma?

That’s right everyone, yesterday morning I arrived in Rome, Italy to what will be my home for the next four months. I am feeling a ton of different emotions: excited, nervous, overwhelmed but most importantly hopeful (a feeling I have had for the last four months). Hopeful for all that the Lord will do this semester. I feel incredibly Blessed to have this opportunity to study, play, pray, explore, learn, and travel with an amazing group of fellow students. I can’t promise I will be posting a lot of pictures of the sites and scenery, as I have taken the position that it would be more beneficial to me to really soak it in and experience it for myself in person, as opposed to behind a camera screen. I know some of you might be a little upset about this, so maybe I will change the location of my outfit pics to some fun sites; we’ll see. 😉

One of the many amazing aspects of studying abroad in a Catholic program is that we have a chapel and chaplaincy (made up of 2 priests, 4 major seminarians and a group of religious) on site to help with our spiritual formation. Today we had Mass on site in our chapel, but I can’t wait to explore the city and visit the many different Churches for Sunday Mass. We got to briefly tour St. Peter’s Basilica (say what??) today, but I bet I could keep going for the next 4 months and still not really appreciate it all.

This beautiful picture was taken in the garden outside the building we are staying in by the lovely Miss Emily Hoffmann. She’s an aspiring photographer and also my roommate 🙂

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Scarf: Thrifted, Top: Target, Watch: Francesca’s, Skirt: Old Navy, Boots: Target

**If you are visiting from the WIW Sunday link-up, welcome, and stop by again soon! :)**