It’s hard to believe that the students and I have finished our four months in Rome. Tempus fugit, time flies, as the ancient Romans said. This past week was final exam period and our lives were full of exams, papers, presentations, and final projects. We enjoyed a festive CEA farewell dinner to end our academic semester last night and today most of the students are flying back home.
I like to say that “Rome is not a city, it’s a drug!” And all of us have become addicted! Already some of the students are planning a return trip to the Eternal City as soon as their bank accounts allow. The Italians believe that one way to assure a return to Rome is by throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain. During the semester, all of us have thrown at least a few coins in that famous place.
For me, personally, this is more than just the end of another semester, but rather the end of my three year term as Faculty Resident Director here. I will be returning to the home campus in Providence after six wonderful semesters of having the blessing and the privilege of teaching Theology at the heart of the Church. Since the days of my doctoral studies in Rome at the Angelicum, I always dreamt of being able to teach in “the city of apostles, martyrs, and saints”. And these three years have been a dream come true.
During our last week together, I asked the students to share their thoughts about their experience with PC/CEA in Rome. I asked them to reflect on their time here in Rome and their experience of studying Theology. What they would say to a student back home who is considering studying abroad next year? What advice might they give to someone who was considering spending a semester in the Eternal City? Is there any reason why Rome should be the preferred place for studying Theology?
Here’s what some of them said:
“Rome might actually be the best place in the world to study theology, especially Catholic theology because of the historical and present relevance. You can’t go three blocks without passing some important church or site, with the biggest site, of course, being the Vatican.” Bryan Blum
“Studying theology in Rome is a unique experience because we have been able to learn not only from lectures and textbooks, but from the city itself. I have gained so much more insight about theology and also about my faith through the incredible sites that we have visited throughout the semester.” Alex Brady
“I think Rome is one of the most important places in the world to study theology. I have found that studying so close to the Vatican has given me so many opportunities to broaden my faith and learn more about Christianity than I ever could in a classroom in the states.” Abby Chave
“Rome is the ideal picture book to use to teach Catholics about the historical, political, and religious significance of their religion.” Caragh Corcoran
“The city of Rome is a visual theology in itself…” Lacey Sullivan
“Rome is the center for the theology of the Catholic religion and the heart of the Papacy. There is no better city to explore the beliefs of Catholicism than Rome…” Peter DiCenso
“The sites that we have visited this semester in the eternal city of Rome have brought theology to light in a whole new way that is unmatched by any other city.” Erin Wallace
“My experience of studying theology in Rome is much more than learning the history of the papacy or learning the different Christologies of the Gospels. Having the opportunity to study theology in Rome has brought me to a greater understanding of the values that Providence College stands for and how these values create such a strong sense of community.” Haley Grant McHugh
“Everyone knows that Rome is the center of the Catholic Church. However, it is not until you visit all the basilicas, catacombs, and historical sites firsthand while learning about the New Testament and its history that you truly understand what this entails. With every site you visit in Rome, you get a little better sense of the history and foundation of the Catholic Church and how it is still relevant in your life today.” Jamie Russo
“Rome holds the threshold of the apostles, over 500 churches, and an undeniable spiritual richness that attracts pilgrims worldwide. Studying in Rome and studying theology go hand in hand, complimenting each other in a way that allows the pilgrim to see both in a new and invaluable way, that has the potential to reshape from the inside out.” Alley Harbour
“The amount of Christian history that is available in our backyard is amazing… Rome is filled with historic sites that have shaped the foundations of Christianity. I would not want to study theology anywhere else.” Griffin Colpitts
“Studying theology in Rome is a fantastic opportunity because Rome is the center of the Catholic faith. There is no better way to learn about Peter, Paul, and their teachings on which the Church was built than doing so minutes from their burial sites.” Marco Scozzari
“To study theology in Rome has been truly an incredible experience. It has given me the opportunity to really learn about and understand my faith in an entirely new and enlightening way… through the visual theology we were so lucky to be able to witness on our weekly site visits here in Rome, the center of the Catholic faith.” Nick Berardi
“Studying prominent figures in the Bible has been an incredible learning experience, but there is definitely something special that happens when you get to see what you are learning come to life through the visual theology. Studying in Rome has enhanced my understanding of Theology because of our site-visits.” Paige Silengo
“I believe that it is important to study theology in Rome because of the rich spiritual history that lies deep in the roots of Roman history.” Grace King
“I really feel that there is no better place to learn about Christianity that here in Rome. In just about four months, we’ve visited so many locations that are important to Christianity. We’ve walked through the holy doors, gone to the Papal Audience, visited the basilicas of Peter and Paul, and seen some of the oldest frescoes including images of Mary and the infant Jesus. We would not have been to experience these things in any other country!” Gianna Luciano
“In college, it is easy to forget the foundations of your faith that you were taught when you were younger. Being in Rome and not only learning about the beginnings of Christianity, but also being able to see the places where they happened, or great churches erected in honor of saints and martyrs, it gives it such a deeper meaning.” Lilly Steeves
Student quotes like these – and many others in past Blogs during these six semesters – say more than I ever could in an executive summary or an administrative report about my time here. I’m convinced that the PC in Rome Program flows from the very heart of the Catholic, Dominican mission of the College. And each year student testimonies have confirmed that.
I would like to end my final Blog with one more quotation. It’s a well-known quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow concerning Rome and it expresses quite well my thoughts and feelings during my bittersweet departure from this beautiful city.
“There is the centre to which all gravitates.
One finds no rest elsewhere than here.
There may be other cities that please us for a while,
but Rome alone completely satisfies.
It becomes to all a second native land by predilection,
and not by accident of birth alone.”
It’s hard to believe that the students and I have finished our four months in Rome. Tempus fugit, time flies,... MORE
“…Of course studying in Ireland, Paris, or London would be an amazing experience, but Rome is the only place to fully grasp the entirety of what the Church really means and what faith really entails.” Rachel Reilly
“Studying in Rome has exposed me to the roots of the religion I live and practice everyday. Living and studying in the place that is heart of Christianity, my faith has flourished… Rome has proved that as a theology student it is a lot more interesting to be the neighbor of Pope Francis than to sit in Siena hall at 8:30 in the morning!” Kathryn McDougal
“Why study theology in Rome? When you enter a church in Rome you are filled with the feeling of amazement as you now have a deeper and richer understanding of the history behind the church and the New Testament.” Colleen Toomey
The Fall 2015 P.C. in Rome program is fast approaching its end. As we say in Rome – tempus fugit – time flies! Although there is a tinge of melancholy in the air, because we know we’ll be leaving Rome soon, we are grateful for our time here and the experiences we’ve had. There’s a Roman tradition that says if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you’re guaranteed to return to Rome. By now, all of us have probably thrown more than one coin there! This week is final exam period and our lives are full of exams, papers, presentations, and final projects. We’ll enjoy a festive CEA farewell dinner to end our academic semester and then start packing to go home.
As we make a list of things we still need to see and do before departure, I asked the students to share their thoughts about their experience with PC/CEA in Rome. I asked them to reflect on their time here in Rome and their experience of studying Theology. What they would say to a student back home who is considering studying abroad next year? What advice might they give to someone who was considering spending a semester in the Eternal City? Is there any reason why Rome should be the preferred place for studying Theology?
Here’s what some of them said:“The answer to the question “why study theology in Rome?” is simple: because there is no better place to do it!…Having the Vatican as my neighbor and visiting new Basilicas every week has been an incredible experience that I didn’t even know I would have…There is no better place to learn, understand, and appreciate the foundations of our religion than in Rome. It’s that simple!” Kristen Sheridan
“It is an amazing opportunity to get out of the classroom and see famous Roman monuments and Basilicas that tie into the theology we are learning in the New Testament. Nothing can compare to seeing these connections first hand!” Brittany Aylmer
“It is a truly humbling experience to walk through an amazing Roman church with family and friends and having the ability to explain the theological themes presented in the artwork and images. Not only do you learn about the Church as a whole, but you learn about yourself, your inner personality, values, and beliefs.” Jordyn D’Esposito
“Rome is an ideal place to study theology because it is the center of the Catholic Church, and theological landmarks and ideas can be found throughout the entire city. Rome is not only rich in theology, but in general history as well, which makes it a perfect place to study.” Tori Strain
“The real question should be why not study abroad in Rome? There is no other place to be able to truly unravel the mystery of Christ. Not only do I feel closer with my Catholic religion, but also I feel as if from this experience I am able to go on and positively spread the word about what I’ve learned. Needless to say there is no place like Rome, my new home.” Jenna Zolla
“I have grown up a practicing Catholic my whole life and I have learned more in these past 3 months about my religion than any other theological setting I have ever been a part of in my life… I have never felt better informed about the history of my faith until studying it in Rome… learning about theology in Rome is unlike any other theological experience because you get to see everything first hand which makes everything you learn in the classroom come to light right in front of your eyes.” Claire Beatty
“…to actually physically see these famous Basilicas that hold magnificent mosaics, architecture, and history makes a tremendous difference when learning about them. Actually seeing many theological sites that are so important to the world, helps you grasp why and how they are there…This is why you should study Theology in Rome – especially Rome because it has so much history to offer.” Elizabeth Kirby
“Studying Theology in Rome is like meeting the saints and great theologians. They are brought to life through knowledge and they are given a face and context in Rome. Your textbook is the city, and the pages are endless and more beautiful than the last.” Ana Gadoury
“I have been given the opportunity to see the New Testament through the eyes of an early Christian Believer. And its absolutely fascinating. To be able to go into the Catacombs, and see the symbolism, the artwork, of the early Church. To hear the stories, and see them come alive through the mosaics in churches like San Clemente. To walk around St. Peters and know that the obelisk I was gazing at was the same one St. Peter gazed at as he was been crucified upside down. And as weird as it may sound, I know that the spirit of the early Christian Church is still within this Holy City: flowing and moving, inspiring, and serving as a great testimony about a man named Jesus Christ.” Vanesa Zuleta
“…Of course studying in Ireland, Paris, or London would be an amazing experience, but Rome is the only place to... MORE
There’s a Roman tradition that says if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you’re guaranteed to return to Rome. By now, all of us have probably thrown more than one coin there! It’s hard to believe that the Spring 2015 students have been in Rome for nearly four months. Tempus fugit, time flies, as the ancient Romans said. This week is final exam period and our lives are full of exams, papers, presentations, and final projects. We’ll enjoy a festive CEA farewell dinner to end our academic semester and then start packing to go home.
I like to say that “Rome is not a city, it’s a drug!” And all of us have become addicted! Already some of the students are planning a return trip to the eternal city as soon as their bank accounts allow. During our last week of classes, I asked the students what they will miss about Rome. Many of them said this was a difficult question since they would miss so much about our study abroad experience. Sights and sounds, people and places, foods and drinks were all on the list. Here’s what some of them said:
“I will miss having St. Peter’s in my backyard and new adventures to go on every day.” Julia Averna
“I will miss the incredible people I have met in this program and being able to run alongside the Tiber River.” Dan Elfman
“What will I miss? …the pizza and the weather! (I know back in Providence they have yet to reach 70!) Aside from that, the piazzas we would arrive in after walking out of the metro tunnel were all breathtaking every time. ” Rory Garrison
“I will miss the opportunities to explore Europe and experience different cultures. I will also miss the cappuccinos and the food of Italy. I am dreading going back to the American processed food lifestyle, excluding Dunkin donuts and Chipotle!” Maddy McDonald
“After being at CEA Rome for a semester, a few things that I will miss are: the administration, my new friends, Campo De’ Fiori, and spaghetti carbonara.” E.J. Sheehan
“What I’ll miss most about Rome is the friendships I’ve formed and being able to hang out with friends who share and can relate to my experience in Rome. I’ll also miss walking around Rome and passing by the Vatican or the Tiber River every day.” Alexa Lombardo
“One thing I will miss most about Rome is how green the city is. I have never seen an urbanized city that naturally has so much vegetation. Contained within the the tiny crooks of the narrow streets you find lush greenness. On the balconies of the homes there are beautiful plants spilling over onto the streets… On the rooftops are terraces, again, with more beautiful gardens. I guess you can say Italians really love their plants. That was something I noticed within my first days of arrival. Even during the winter it’s still green here — the grass is in tact, the trees still have leaves, and the plants are there in their bounteous splendor.” Kadene Pitter
“I will miss passing by the Vatican lit up at night when I’m going home, the relaxed nature of Italian culture, and traveling to so many incredible places.” Madeleine Veith
“While leaving Rome is bittersweet, I know that once I am home I will miss being able to explore a place that is so steeped in history. Walking to class each day or getting unintentionally lost, I always seem to discover some new crevice of this city, whether it be a church, a gelateria, a café, or a site of historical significance. Even after four months I still feel like there is so much to see, which gives me a reason to come back!” Kathleen McGinty
“I will miss all the new friends that I have made. I am happy to have become close with the PC kids here but I will definitely miss those friends I made that don’t go to PC. I will miss the endless amounts of pizza, pasta and gelato. Definitely will miss living in a different country and right in the center of one the most beautiful places I have seen. And finally I will miss being in different countries every weekend.” Emily Rose
“It’s almost impossible to pick one thing that I will miss from Rome, but I’d probably have to go with the general feeling of novelty and excitement that comes with living in a foreign city. Buying groceries and going for weekday morning runs around the city aren’t things that I ever thought I’d be able to do so casually in Rome!” Katie O’Brien
“It is so cool to think that for the past four months I have lived in a city that is so rich in history, and has a culture that is so different from anything I had been accustomed to my whole life. In addition, I will miss all of the great friends that I have made this semester in Rome, even though I’m sure we will meet up again in the future!” Becky McGuinness
There’s a Roman tradition that says if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you’re guaranteed to return to... MORE
The Spring 2015 P.C. in Rome program is fast approaching its end. As we say in Rome – tempus fugit – time flies! Although there is a tinge of melancholy in the air because we know we’ll be leaving Rome in a few weeks, we are grateful for our time here and the experiences we’ve had.
As usual, the core course, New Testament in the Eternal City, has used Rome as its “classroom” and has provided us with many adventures during our weekly site visits. Our other Theology course, The Catholic Church and Major World Religions, has also used site visits, guests speakers, and lectures to unpack the reality of inter-religious dialogue that is so crucial in today’s world.
As we approach our final exam period and make a list of things we still need to see and do before departure, I asked the students to share their thoughts about their experience with PC/CEA in Rome. I asked them to imagine speaking to a student back home in Providence who might be considering studying abroad next year. What would they say to him or her about being in Rome?
In other words, “why study theology in Rome”? Here’s what some of them said:
“Studying theology in Rome is a great experience since we were able to connect with the New Testament on a physical level when we visited some of the most important sites of early Christianity.” – Stephen Beck“I would encourage any PC student to pursue their theology cores in Rome simply because of the fact you’re in Rome. Our classes aren’t just sitting in a lecture hall, we actually go once a week to see some of the most ancient sites in the world where Christianity began. It’s not an experience you can find anywhere else and it’s incredibly rewarding.” – Katie O’Brien
“As an accounting major with a rigorous business course load, I saved many of my core requirements, including my two theology classes, for my semester abroad, and I would recommend to anyone considering studying abroad in Rome to do the same. Seeing how the themes of the New Testament are manifested in churches and other historical sites throughout Rome has given me a deeper understanding of my faith that I will carry with me through the rest of my life.” – Kathleen McGinty
“Taking Theology in Rome has been a lot more enjoyable than I can imagine it to be at PC in a class room. As an accounting major I struggled in CIV and pushed off my theology requirements for this point exactly. We have site visits once a week, so we are out of the classroom exploring the city. Personally I wouldn’t have gone to nearly as many of the churches and places we got to go, but I was so happy I had the opportunity to do so. I highly recommend filing these requirements abroad!” – Emily Rose“Rome is the ultimate place to study theology. The city is our classroom and the guided site visits make the readings and lectures come to life in an incredible way. ” -Julia Averna
“Rome – full of religious history making it an ideal location to learn about theology. Being able to connect the city to theology classes makes for a rich and fulfilling educational experience.” – Maddy McDonald“Studying theology in Rome is incredible because you get to go on field trips during class time every week which are often very relevant to the course material and history of the Church. It’s a unique opportunity to learn, grow, and fulfill Core Requirements through this interactive and memorable experience. ” -Madeleine Veith“Studying theology in Rome has been such an amazing experience as everything we learn about in the classroom we are able to see in person. The correlation between the New Testament and the awesome site visits allows us to make connections that we never would have seen if not studying in Rome. Though I have taken theology classes at PC before, this has been my favorite by far as everything is so relevant to our daily lives here in the eternal city.” -Katherine Mahder“Why study Theology in Rome? Because the environment is extremely conducive to learning theology. Physically being surrounded by ancient structures that relate to the course material instantly make this class uniquely beneficial and memorable. ” – Dan ElfmanGo Friars!
The Spring 2015 P.C. in Rome program is fast approaching its end. As we say in Rome – tempus fugit... MORE
The Fall 2014 P.C./CEA Rome Study Abroad adventure is about to begin!
Dr. Hagstrom and 18 students from P.C. are packing suitcases, applying for Italian VISAS, organizing passports and brushing up on Italian vocabulary for their one semester adventure.
While the rest of campus is focused on finishing up construction projects or readying the dorms for the onslaught of freshmen in just a few weeks, the Rome Study Abroad students are looking forward to piazzas, museums, ancient churches, and Roman Ruins as their “new campus”. And instead of opening the school year with Academic Convocation in the P.C. gym, the Rome students will perhaps begin their school year with a papal audience in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis. And while the food in Raymond Cafeteria is no doubt tasty and nutritious, the acclaimed Italian cuisine (including gelato!) is what awaits Dr. Hagstrom and 18 P.C. friars.
Preparing for a semester abroad can be exciting, but also daunting, and sometimes scary. Like Abraham who was called to leave behind his land, his security, and his way of life for a new journey with the Lord (Genesis 12:1-3), so too our Rome students and faculty will leave behind the familiar and embark on a life-changing sojourn. Through study and lectures, site visits and even the simple daily experiences of street life in Rome, students will discover more about themselves, the world, and their place in it.
Let the adventure begin! Go Friars!
The Fall 2014 P.C./CEA Rome Study Abroad adventure is about to begin! Dr. Hagstrom and 18 students from P.C. are packing... MORE
It’s hard to believe that the students and I have been in Rome for nearly four months. Tempus fugit, time flies, as the ancient Romans said. This week is final exam period and our lives are full of exams, papers, presentations, and final projects. We’ll enjoy a festive CEA farewell dinner to end our academic semester and then start packing to go home. Advent has begun and the traditional Christmas market on Piazza Navona reminds us that the holidays are right around the corner. The grocery stores are selling Italian delicacies and sweets that are only available at this time of year and we’re wondering how much we can fit in our carry on luggage.
I like to say that “Rome is not a city, it’s a drug!” And all of us have become addicted! Already some of the students are planning a return trip to the eternal city as soon as their bank accounts allow. The Italians believe that one way to assure a return to Rome is by throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain. By now all of us have thrown at least a few coins in that famous place.
During our last week of classes, I asked the students what they will miss about Rome. Many of them said this was a difficult question since they would miss so much about our study abroad experience. Sights and sounds, people and places, foods and drinks were all on the list. Here’s what some of them said:
“I will miss many things about Rome when I leave. One thing will definitely be the food. I have been spoiled this semester and I don’t think any Italian food will ever taste the same. Another thing I will miss is walking or driving past such important places in history. It has become normal to see St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and other amazing places daily. This has been a wonderful semester and I will forever cherish all the memories I have made!” – Maureen Murphy
“I’m going to miss having all of Europe (and their food), all of the historical sites, and so many different and great experiences at my fingertips! I appreciate it all in the moment, but once we’re gone, we’re definitely going to wish we were back!” – Lauren McNulty
“I am absolutely going to miss the amazing food and gelato!” – Chris DiPisa
“Although I will certainly miss all the different aspects of Roman culture, I honestly will miss the food, like street pizza and gelato, the most!” – Rachel Mano
“I will miss being able to eat the most unbelievable food on a daily basis!” – Joe Kirpas
“I will definitely miss the great food and gelato throughout the city”. -Mike Boland
“What I will miss about Rome: Sitting in a café, sipping on a macchiato, reading a good book and people watching- living fully in that present moment of time.” – Lauren Hoover
“I am going to miss the friends I made on this trip!” – Melissa Perleoni
“I am going to miss exploring all that Rome has to offer with my amazing roommates!” – Ali Pappano
“What I’ll miss most about Rome is its timelessness. I’ll miss seeing Roman ruins and to 20th Century Monuments. A church from the 4th century here, one from the 16th there. The bones of the first pope beneath St. Peter’s and the 266th pope inspiring thousands in the Square. They don’t call Rome the Eternal City for nothing.” -Joe Day
“What I will miss about Rome: I’m going to miss the simplicity of life: I love not being attached to my phone, constantly checking Facebook or texting, it forced me to actually look around when I’m walking and to have conversations with people, allowing me to make truer friendships than I ever have before. The Italians have forced me to slow down and realize how many hours I actually have each day and realize I can even make two days out of one.” – Elizabeth Ward
Arrivederci Roma! Go Friars!
It’s hard to believe that the students and I have been in Rome for nearly four months. Tempus fugit, time... MORE