Well, I am glad to report that spring is finally here. I actually stayed on campus for most of the break, working in the Admissions Office, since I figured I would be able to pick up a few extra hours and have the privilege of seeing campus during one of the quieter times of the year. And it was very quiet, the perfect atmosphere for me to catch up on some extra reading. Over the break, I was supposed to get through four books. Of course, I was ambitious and didn’t make it much further than the first book. Dr. Hahn assigned three books to read: one on the Jewish roots of the Last Supper, another on the Paschal Mystery, and another on the Mass as a foretaste of Heaven. As we progress toward Holy Week and ultimately toward Easter Sunday, these readings were the perfect preparation for this time of year.
In sum, the break was productive, yet restful. Amid all of the reading and working I did during this past week, my boyfriend, Jean-Luke, proposed! It has been quite the experience, difficult for me to put into words. The next day, in celebration of our engagement, we went to March Madness in Pittsburgh (one of the many perks of Franciscan being so close to this big city). We saw Syracuse beat Kansas State (the highlight of the day), and then Ohio State beat Gonzaga. Needless to say, I was eager for everyone to return from break so that I could share the big news. And let me tell you, the support has been overwhelming. I know I have written about this before, but it truly is amazing to be a part of a community where you know people genuinely care. Everyone has been brimming over with congratulations and affirmations. I could expect nothing less from the community here at Franciscan. Once again, I am confirmed time and time again of the unique sense of community, fully alive in the Holy Spirit, which is immediately sensed once you set foot on campus. Since the students have returned from break, it has been a whirlwind of classes, joyful reunions, and sharing of stories.
I was so excited to hear the stories from those students who chose to sacrifice their spring break to go on a mission trip. One of my close friends, Erin, had the incredible opportunity of going to Ecuador. Although each mission is unique in its own way, Ecuador is known for being the most remote of the missions. While Erin shared her experience with me, it was difficult for her to put into words exactly what she had encountered. Many of the people whom she met had never seen people from a different country, doctors, or even nurses, providing the most basic medical care. Erin said the jungle was so dense that if you walked for ten minutes in any direction into the jungle, you were declared dead. This kind of jungle climate is so foreign to many of us Americans. More bizarre than this was the idea that they did not have recourse to basic care and health needs. Can you imagine not having the luxury of running water, Ibuprofen, or pillows on your bed? I certainly can’t. I know such an experience was life-changing for her and many others who embarked on a mission. Of course, after this past week, they realized that giving up their break was not really a sacrifice. They had gone with the intent of helping those people whom they visited, but in the end, it was the natives who ministered to them. I have never been on a mission myself, but if I had any reservations in the past, hearing Erin’s story definitely changed my mind.
Switching gears to life on campus, it seems that we picked up right where we left off. On the first day back, the intramural basketball championship games were scheduled. The AA men’s game was by far the most intense game I have seen at Franciscan. It was between the faculty and one of the student teams. It was neck and neck until the near end, until the students pulled ahead. I was so nervous just watching. The students were getting pretty knocked around, but the faculty even more so. What a game!
As I bring this blog to a close, I am reminded of the beautiful opportunities that spring presents. The flowers have finally started to blossom, as a sign of the new life that each day brings. I am so excited to continue this semester, awaiting the many surprises that life holds.