In May 2014, eleven Emmanuel students traveled to Belgium and Italy accompanied by Prof. Laurie Johnston of Emmanuel’s Theology Department and Mark Harrington of the Center for Mission Engagement. The trip was part of a course entitled Contemplation and Action: An Introduction to Christian Spirituality.
First stop was Namur, Belgium, where we were hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Sr. Marie Kelley and Sr. Honorine Yamba were very hospitable, and gave us a tour of the Heritage Centre, the museum devoted to the history of the order.
On the wall listing all the sisters of Notre Dame de Namur throughout the world, we found several familiar names:
We also stopped by the “First House” of the Sisters in Namur, and visited the SND high school in Namur, where the Director, M. Gelinne gave us a tour and let us observe a class on child development:
We enjoyed dinner out at La Cava:
When it was time to leave, Sr. Marie and Sr. Honorine saw us off at the train station, and we were on our way to La Citta Eterna: Rome.
We started with visits to the Colosseum and the Forum:
and then headed to Trastevere to serve with the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic lay community. Some of us served dinner in the Community’s soup kitchen while others helped out with showers and fresh clothing for the homeless at a center for welcoming immigrants. Then we joined members of the Community for mass at the beautiful Santa Maria in Trastevere:
Sunday morning we attended the Angelus and caught a glimpse of Pope Francis:
That evening we were joined for dinner by Sr. Teresita Weind and Sr. Maria Delaney, both members of the SND leadership team, who are based in Rome.
A day trip to Assisi the next day was a welcome break from the fast pace of Rome:
After following in the footsteps of Francis and Clare, we returned to Rome to walk in the footsteps of Ignatius! Fr. Diego Alonso-Lasheras S.J., an old classmate of Prof. Johnston who now teaches at the Gregorian University, gave us a tour of “the Greg” and of “Jesuit Rome”, including the churches of Sant’Andrea, San Ignazio, and the Gesu.
But the most special of all was a visit to the actual rooms of St. Ignatius:
Time for some sightseeing:
10 days well spent!