So what is a typical day in Rome for a Catholic Studies student really like? How does itcompare to life back home at St. Thomas? I imagine any of the 24 other students who went with me to Rome have completely different answers to this question, each based on different preferences, perceptions and desires.Just the idea of waking up in Rome, the Eternal City, was unlike anything I had everdreamed. Knowing I was living in the city that is the birthplace of the Catholic Church, that holds thousands of years of history and that is home to some of the greatest pizza and gelato ever tasted, made me take a deep breath, smile and consciously slap myself to convince me I was, in fact, not dreaming.

My favorite days were Wednesdays. Starting the day off right the Italian way with a pastry and a coffee, I would begin the familiar yet surreal walk to class, dodging cars and scooters on the way. I loved how in Rome you can walk past dozens of beautiful churches, pop into one and find a religious artifact or famous painting by surprise.

Taking classes at The Angelicum (The Ang) was a blessing as well. European teaching styles are slightly different but the content and amount of knowledge gained was wonderful. I had Spiritual Theology with Father Paul Murray every Wednesday morning. This class gave me some new guidelines on how to live my Catholic faith. The discussions were tailored not only to those who are contemplating religious life. I discovered that I, too, can practice ascetical and mystical theology.

Then after class most of us would catch some lunch either at Archetto or Pastarito for some spaghetti or pizza before heading back to Bernardi. Community night was the main reason Wednesday was my favorite day of the week. We had Mass, followed by a discussion topic planned by the chaplaincy team, and a community meal. Visitors, including Monsignor Marini and Cardinal Burke, were invited to join our community some evenings. These nights were full of growth, laughter and change. I never will forget those bonds of friendship and family I made while in Rome and hope to continue to keep them here at St. Thomas.

My time in Rome reopened my eyes to possibilities I never had seen before and changed my life for the better.

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