A few days into the semester, I had recommended the students see the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Built upon the former Egyptian Temple of Isis – long mistakenly thought to be that of the Greco-Roman goddess Minerva – the church is the spiritual home of the Order of Preachers here in Rome. It was likely Christianized in the eighth century by Pope Zachary. Pope Alexander allowed the Friars to use it in the thirteenth-century, and by 1275 it became officially Domincan. In the 16th Century, the surrounding buildings came to house the College of St. Thomas Aquinas, then the forerunner of today’s Angelicum, which is named in honor of the “Doctor Angelicus” himself. In 1628, it was used as a tribunal for the Inquisition. It was where, in 1633, Galileo was convicted as being “vehemently suspect of heresy” for his non-Copernican worldview. And it houses the remains of two of the most historically significant Dominicans: the blessed Fra Angelico (1395-1455) and Doctor of the Church, St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1480).
For its centrality to Roman history, Christian history, and specifically the history of the Dominican Order, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is an absolute must-see for our students. Besides all this, it is one of the most beautiful churches anywhere in the world. With its deep lapis-colored ceiling dotted with stars, it is the last remaining Gothic Church in all of Rome. It showcases Michelangelo’s 1521 ‘Christ of Minerva’ and Bernini’s haunting 1647 memorial to Sister Maria Raggi.
A number of our students, taking the suggestion to attend Mass at Santa Maria, had a unique and irreproducible experience. I’ll let them tell the story in their own words.
Michael Splann: “My roommates and I walked about a half hour on one of the hottest days of the year to arrive at the gorgeous gothic basilica for their 11am mass in Italian (which proved to be less difficult than we thought it would be to follow along).
Matthew Branagan: “The outside façade is largely undecorated and could even be considered unnoticeable. However, we found that the interior was exciting and remarkable. We found our seats in the wooden pews, in silent awe of the majesty before us. The mass began and although it was completely in Italian [we were able to understand some of it]. After we were ready to leave, both Michael and Aiden both wanted to light a candle for a prayer in front of St. Catherine’s altar.
Aiden McGoldrick: “As I was saying a prayer at the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena after mass, the priest who had said the mass approached […] Mike and I. He began asking us questions such as where we were from and why we had attended his mass. We got to talking and he told us his name was Father Cassianderbes and was a Dominican priest at the church.”
Michael Splann: “He showed my roommates and me all around the basilica including a room in the back sacristy where St. Catherine died and he allowed us to go inside the enclosure to see the tomb up close.”
Charles McDonald: “Giving us some information, he told us that the tomb was only open one day a year (on her feast day I believe) and that the line to go inside would be incredibly long. After a brief pause he said, “So do you guys want to go in?” I cannot express how shocked we were at this incredible offer. We honestly thought he was joking. But lo and behold, Fr. Cassian got the key to her tomb and opened it up to let us in. Fitting about three at a time, we took turns saying prayers, taking pictures, and simply marveling at the opportunity we had just been given. Quite simply, it was one of those rare opportunities that we would simply never get if we stayed back at PC. It is a perfect example of an experience that I personally came to Rome in search of.
After seeing St. Catherine, Fr. Cassian then took us to the room in which she lived and died in. If going in her tomb was a once in a lifetime experience, going to that room must have been a once in 1,000 lifetimes experience. […] Between the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena and the room she had lived and died in was actually the church sacristy. It was at one point, the venue in which two separate popes were elected. I will never forget that as we first walked into the room Fr. Cassian pointed to a painting over the door and said, “That painting depicts pope Nicholas V being elected during the 15th century. Do you know where that was?” Shaking our heads no, he pointed to the opposite side of the room and proclaimed, “At that very spot”. And lo and behold, by comparing the painting to the spot he had referenced, it was clearly the spot Pope Nicholas had been elected. Personally, it was a powerful moment comparing that painting to the actual spot in the room. So often do we go to spots of great historical significance but to have that side-by-side comparison of what had happened and what is there now allowed us to really step into the past and vividly imagine a papal conclave occurring some 600 years ago.”
Matthew Branagan: “With utmost certainty, I can say that venerating Saint Catherine’s tomb was the most holy place I have ever been in my entire life. The experience was exceptionally humbling and I was reminded of Saint Catherine’s virtuous life. I contemplated her devotion to the faith and the intense majesty it inspired within me. The feeling of being in such a beautiful basilica combined with having the opportunity to praise St. Catherine still sends chills up my spine. The coincidence of running into a friar that knew one of us and that exact mass was nothing short of Providence. I still cannot believe that this event took place, but I know that I will be eternally grateful for such an incredible educational and spiritual event.”
Aiden McGoldrick: “For my friends and I to be given such an incredible and once in a lifetime personally guided tour is definitely one of the most memorable experiences that I think that I have had in Rome so far. I have never experienced anything like this back home. […] Everyday I am learning something new about the city and its history. Everyday I am learning more and more about the Catholic church itself in Rome. Everyday I am growing and learning something new about myself as a person. I am seeing all of these incredible things and it has changed me for the better.”
Charles McDonald: “I came to Rome to have a unique experience; one that I could never have staying in Providence, Rhode Island. Going inside of the tomb of St. Catherine, seeing where she lived and died, standing in a room in which two popes were elected, and seeing the visible effects of Napoleon are the types of experiences that I came in search of. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to go where I went and see what I saw because I know it was absolutely a once in a lifetime experience.”
Michael Splann: “Fr. Cassian and I have already met up again since then. The Dominican community is one of my favorite things about PC and is something I had thought I would miss coming here to Rome, which is why meeting Fr. Cassian that day gave me great hope. As I reflect on this experience on my first Sunday in Rome, I am reminded that it’s truly God’s “Providence” that has led me here to the Eternal City this semester and I look forward to encountering everything He has planned.”
Rome continues to surprise us. A few days into the semester, I had recommended the students see the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Built upon the former Egyptian Temple of Isis – long mistakenly thought to be that of the Greco-Roman goddess Minerva – the church is the spiritual home of the Order of […]MORE
GUEST BLOGGER: MANUELA BARCELOS
Manuela is the ESL/Academic Skills Specialist in the OAS. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family, leisurely dinners with friends, and keeping up with all the NBC Chicago episodes.
You looked forward to the much-awaited week of spring break. The anticipation mounted as the days drew nearer and then…it was over before you could say “tequila!” Now, the transition to the routine you eagerly left behind before break seems like a form of human torture. How do you get back on that proverbial hamster wheel?
REFLECT: Take the time to realize that spring break was just what the doctor ordered. You may be coming off of spring break feeling like you should’ve accomplished some school work or that you slept more than you should have. Lose the guilt. You needed the time to recoup and if you slept more than usual, that was your body telling you that it was time to recharge. Be grateful for the R&R you got over break. Don’t get caught up in useless regrets over not having gotten any work done. That time is gone and you can’t get it back. It’s more fruitful to think about how to get on track again.
TAKE BABY STEPS: You may not feel immediately motivated to hit the books, so take small steps toward getting in gear. You can start by unpacking. Leaving your unpacked bags lying around will only remind you of your long lost spring break. Get some laundry done. Put all your toiletries away, etc. Maybe even run an errand or two.
PLAN AHEAD: As you think about what lies ahead for the remainder of the semester, it all seems like work work work work work! Before the nostalgia of your spring break creeps in, get out your calendar. Plan for the week ahead. Make some room in your calendar for small rewards to look forward to soon. For example, pencil in some study breaks throughout the week in which you can indulge in some of Ray’s delights like FroYo, chicken nugget day, or make your own s’mores. Once you get through your first week back, plan an outing on the weekend with friends – maybe a trip to the movies or your favorite burger spot. These may pale in comparison to the week you just had in Cancun or vegging back home, but they will get you through until your next break.
Speaking of your next break…while you are updating your calendar, plug in your 5-day Easter Recess. And when that’s over there are only 26 days left before the official end of the semester. But who’s counting, right?
Adapted from: Jimenez, R. (2015, March 17). Post spring break: getting back into the groove. KTB.
Retrieved from http://killingthebreeze.com/post-spring-break-getting-back-groove/
GUEST BLOGGER: MANUELA BARCELOS Manuela is the ESL/Academic Skills Specialist in the OAS. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family, leisurely dinners with friends, and keeping up with all the NBC Chicago episodes. You looked forward to the much-awaited week of spring break. The anticipation mounted as the days drew nearer […]MORE
It’s been a week since I finished summer research and life is different. It feels weird not being in the lab every day. I miss all the fun moments I had in the lab with the research team. I miss listening to hip-hop and R&B while working up a reaction. I miss getting lunch with my lab mates almost every day. Bianca, Matt, Gersham, Kyle, Yazan & I became so close that we all developed a special bond. We became so comfortable with each other that we would talk about anything. I would look forward to our lunch dates every day. We went to a lot of great restaurants Providence has to offer like The Abbey, Anthony’s, and many others on Thayer St., like East Side Pockets.
In the last few weeks of research, our biggest adventure was the 10th Annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Conference at the University of Rhode Island. The SURF program funds most of the research conducted over the summer throughout Rhode Island. In turn, researchers funded by SURF attend the conference and present their work. Our group presented our work by assembling a poster containing all the projects we worked on this summer. The conference was great because the team and I got to present all our hard work and got to see many other chemists, biologists, and biochemists. We were also hands-down the best dressed group at the conference! See the picture for yourself. We kept on receiving compliments from multiple people on how well dressed we were. It was nice to get dressed up and not wear sweatpants all day for once.
I am close to finishing my project which is a-carboline synthesis. I completed the final step of my project the day before the conference, and I produced high yields! Although summer research is over, that doesn’t mean my research is over. I plan on continuing my research in the fall. I’m looking forward to completing my project and all the chemistry that awaits me in the year to come! I’d like to thank Dr. Mulcahy and the Providence College Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for granting me the opportunity do research this summer. I have learned a lot, and I can’t wait to continue learning in the upcoming semester. I’d also like thank all of you for reading my blog and keeping up with all the exciting events that happened this summer.
It’s been a week since I finished summer research and life is different. It feels weird not being in the lab every day. I miss all the fun moments I had in the lab with the research team. I miss listening to hip-hop and R&B while working up a reaction. I miss getting lunch with my lab mates almost every […]MORE
The first centers around a fair use debate (similar to the fair use case covered in an earlier post, regarding Shepard Fairey’s Obama HOPE poster and his use of a reference photo as inspiration for the piece). The estate of Andy Warhol has filed suit against New York City photographer, Lynn Goldsmith, as a preemptive strike against her to protect Warhol’s legacy; according to the NY Daily News, Goldsmith had been expected to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against the estate. Goldsmith alleges that Warhol used a photo she took of Prince in 1981 as inspiration for his Prince Series (created in 1984) without asking or crediting her.
The estate argues that Warhol’s appropriation of the photo was transformative enough to be considered new work (therefore, fair use under U.S. copyright law) and Goldsmith is ignoring this aspect in an extortion attempt. Estate lawyer, Luke Nikas, stated in court documents that, “Although Warhol often used photographs taken by others as inspiration for his portraits, Warhol’s works were entirely new creations. As would be plain to any reasonable observer, each portrait in Warhol’s Prince Series fundamentally transformed the visual aesthetic and meaning of the Prince Publicity Photograph.” When asked why she did not pursue legal measures at any point over the past 30 years, Goldsmith said that she was only made aware of the pieces in 2016, when Condé Nast published a special issue called, The Genius of Prince. The estate counters that she knew of the pieces as far back as 1984, when she granted permission to Vanity Fair to publish one of them.
Prince’s image isn’t the only thing sparking debate – his catalog of work is, as well. While his Warner Bros. music catalog was released earlier this year to digital streaming platforms, his videography remains largely inaccessible to the public due to copyright dispute. Will his full videography be made available at some point? And further, will the public ever gain access to the material in his Paisley Park estate’s storied vault? It’s been speculated that nearly all of the contents of the vault lack thorough rights contracts. Prince’s estate has been in flux for some time, as it battles to resolve contractual disputes with Universal and Warner over rights. Since his passing in April 2016, various issues involving rights have arisen – the hope is for speedy resolution to all issues of copyright, so the public may freely access his work. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Copyright disputes over Prince’s material and image have been making news, and two stories of note have emerged in recent months. The first centers around a fair use debate (similar to the fair use case covered in an earlier post, regarding Shepard Fairey’s Obama HOPE poster and his use of a reference photo as inspiration […]MORE
ESE Study Abroad Blog
Week of December 4
I can’t believe we are in the single digit countdown to coming home! This has been such an incredible experience it’s hard to believe that we have less than 10 days left. One of the best parts of this experiences has been practicum. Teaching in an italian classroom has been incredible and nothing like what I expected. For starters, I NEVER expected to teach with my hands this much!! And I never expected to teach in a room with no technology. 2 chalboards. That was all I had.
I don’t know what I was expecting going into this experience. It never really hit me until I got into the classroom that I was teaching English to Italian students. When I walked into the room for the first day the students were so excited and all yelled “good morning” at me. That is why it did not hit me until after I sat down to observe and they all started yelling in Italian. I was attempting to make out the few Italian words I knew, like how to say pizza, pasta and thank you….but none of the students were using those. It was very overwhelming…but I was also excited.
My favorite lesson of this semester was by far the last lesson I taught, my Christmas lesson. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas, so it is obvious that this is by far my favorite subject to teach. Throughout the semester I always made it a point to integrate US cultures and traditions into my lessons whenever possible. I liked to show the students how things are different at home and give them as accurate of a picture of America as possible. When I taught the Christmas lesson we compared Christmas in Italy to Christmas in America and found many similarities and a few differences. For example, in Italy there are no stockings hung by the fireplace. When I was explaining it to the students they thought it was the coolest thing ever but did not understand how Santa could fit anything in a pair of tights!! During the lesson the students were decorating paper ornaments and hanging them up on the paper tree I placed at the front of the room. It was an indescribable feeling to be looking around the room at my little Italian 6th graders as they colored ornaments, writing English phrases on them and randomly bursting into song, with those songs being various American Christmas Carols. I saw the students writing things on their ornaments that I taught them weeks ago. It was such an incredible feeling to see that the students were actually learning and understanding what I was teaching them.
So now as practicum has come to a close, all the weekend trips have ended, and we are in the final single digit countdown, I am realizing more and more how grateful I am for this experience. It has changed me in ways I cannot describe, but I am so thankful for. Florence is a beautiful place to be able to call home for 4 months, but I think I am ready to be back in Friartown!!
Caitlin Whitaker ESE Study Abroad Blog Week of December 4 I can’t believe we are in the single digit countdown to coming home! This has been such an incredible experience it’s hard to believe that we have less than 10 days left. One of the best parts of this experiences has been practicum. Teaching […]MORE
Almost eight hundred years ago, in December of 1216, the birth of a new religious order also took place. Father Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish priest, petitioned Pope Honorius II successfully for a new religious order, which would come to be called the Order of Preachers. To celebrate this anniversary and Black History Month, there is an exhibit in the library honoring a black Peruvian Dominican who became a saint: Saint Martin de Porres. Who was Saint Martin?
Martin de Porres Velázquez, O.P. (December 9, 1579 – November 3, 1639), was a lay brother of the Dominican Order who was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony.
Born in the city of Lima, he was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Don Juan de Porres, and Ana Velázquez, a freed slave from Panama. He had a sister named Juana, born two years later in 1581 and after the birth of his sister, the father abandoned the family. Ana Velázquez supported her children by taking in laundry. He grew up in poverty and, when his mother could not support him, Martin was confided to a primary school for two years, and then placed with a barber/surgeon to learn the medical arts. He spent hours of the night in prayer, a practice which increased as he grew older.
By law in Peru, descendants of Africans and Indians were barred from becoming full members of religious orders. The only route open to Martin was to ask the Dominicans of Holy Rosary Priory in Lima to accept him as a “donado”, a volunteer who performed menial tasks in the monastery in return for the privilege of wearing the habit and living with the religious community. At the age of 15 he asked for admission to the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received first as a servant boy, and as his duties grew he was promoted to almoner.
Martin continued to practice his old trades of barbering and healing and was said to have performed many miraculous cures. He also took on kitchen work, laundry, and cleaning. After eight years at Holy Rosary, the prior Juan de Lorenzana, decided to turn a blind eye to the law and permit Martin to take his vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic. Holy Rosary was home to 300 men, not all of whom were as open-minded as De Lorenzana; one of the novices called Martin a “mulatto dog,” while one of the priests mocked him for being illegitimate and descended from slaves. He never became a priest. It is said that when his convent was in debt, he implored them: “I am only a poor mulatto, sell me.”
When Martin was 34, after he had been given the religious habit of a lay brother, he was assigned to the infirmary, where he was placed in charge and would remain in service until his death at the age of 59. He was known for his care of the sick. His superiors saw in him the virtues necessary to exercise unfailing patience in this difficult role. It was not long before miracles were attributed to him. Martin also cared for the sick outside his convent, often bringing them healing with only a simple glass of water. He ministered without distinction to Spanish nobles and to slaves recently brought from Africa.
Martin did not eat meat. He begged for alms to procure necessities the convent could not provide. In normal times, Martin succeeded with his alms to feed 160 poor persons every day, and distributed a remarkable sum of money every week to the indigent. Side by side with his daily work in the kitchen, laundry and infirmary, Martin’s life is said to have reflected extraordinary gifts: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and a remarkable rapport with animals. He founded a residence for orphans and abandoned children in the city of Lima.
Martin de Porres is often depicted as a young mulatto friar wearing the old habit of the Dominican lay brother, a black scapular and capuce, along with a broom, since he considered all work to be sacred no matter how menial. He is sometimes shown with a dog, a cat and a mouse eating in peace from the same dish. The statue of him in front of Martin Hall was sculpted by a Dominican Friar, Father Thomas McGlynn, who taught briefly at Providence College.
Almost eight hundred years ago, in December of 1216, the birth of a new religious order also took place. Father Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish priest, petitioned Pope Honorius II successfully for a new religious order, which would come to be called the Order of Preachers. To celebrate this anniversary and Black History Month, there […]MORE
Working out….sigh. It can be a tough one to start because of time or physicality. It’s easy to join a gym but not so easy to go 5 times a week. So start small with something we all do on a daily basis, walking. Now is the perfect time to start a walking plan. especially since its spring and summer is right around the corner.
Walking is great because, well, you can do it just about anywhere. Walk your neighborhood, your local mall, or you could go to the gym and hop on the treadmill. See it’s as easy as that.
For optimal results, walk for about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you find that you’re not getting enough out of just “normal” walking routine, shake it up a bit as suggested here.
The most important thing, enjoy your time. Get out of your head for a bit, crank up the tunes and if walking outside, take a moment to take in your surroundings.
Working out….sigh. It can be a tough one to start because of time or physicality. It’s easy to join a gym but not so easy to go 5 times a week. So start small with something we all do on a daily basis, walking. Now is the perfect time to start a walking plan. especially […]MORE
With so many stressors, including hectic schedules, homesickness, and a full course load, it is important that students learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few helpful tips to share with your student on how to choose meals in Raymond Hall Dining that can help reduce stress and increase energy. These tips come courtesy of Jenifer Wells from Sodexo.
- Replace refined grains, like white bread and pasta, with whole grains – wheat pasta, bread, or a whole grain-composed salad available at the salad bar.
- Fried foods, such as chicken nuggets, can be substituted with grilled chicken. Instead of French fries, try roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes from Also at Classics.
- Really want dessert to finish off your meal? Skip the baked goods and ice cream, and try a piece of fresh fruit instead. Raymond offers a variety of fresh fruits daily for students to choose from.
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and there is no need to skip it because of time. Fill a to-go cup with low fat yogurt, granola, and fruit, or grab some oatmeal and fruit to take with you to class.
We encourage students to think outside the menu. By learning how to create meals for themselves and utilizing what is available in the dining hall, students not only take control over their meal plan, they find a delicious, healthy meal that meets their lifestyle.
With so many stressors, including hectic schedules, homesickness, and a full course load, it is important that students learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few helpful tips to share with your student on how to choose meals in Raymond Hall Dining that can help reduce stress and increase energy. These tips […]MORE