Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


There will be a surprise video to watch with your friends and family uploaded soon!!! :) Enjoy!

Class Favorites!

Our class went around the room and shared our favorite things that we ate, saw, did, and even our favorite quotes...

Professor Ruth Caldwell: "Priest's Hats," "I used to like chips," Assisi, prayer/chants in Taize

Pastor Mike Blair: Assisi, silence at Taize, meal together at Cafe Caramel

Rachel A: Musee D'Orsay and going up the Eiffel Tower :)

Megan Arneson: The Eiffel Tower at night with Sarah! :)

Alison Douglas: Lunch in Assisi, O'rsay museum, and the Eiffel Tower

Alyson Gangstee: The Vatican Museum-so much history in one place! Cool!

Johanna Norby: Vatican Museum, Louvre Museum, and getting to know everyone

Karsten Snitker: St. Francis, Halo! Roman Architecture, passion for the arts, the bread, and ice skating in Paris

Pete: Exploring Assisi

Mike Switzer: climbing Mountain Subasio with Karsten and Drew

William Liu: Dinner in Roma & Lyon in general

Liz Hansen: The bread with olive spread & Italy and France in general

Liz Faas: Roma! Dinner at Antica Taverna

Kayla Opperman: As far as food goes...I loved our dinner in Paris-foundant au chocolat was fantastic! Going to the Arc d Triomphe and Eiffel tower at night!!

Callie Van De Walker: The Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo, Trevi Fountain, eating Crepes in Lyon, exploring Assisi, seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night

Barbara E: Watching the Obama inauguration in Franc with our class as well as people from all over th world

Jake Zubow: Pantheon in Rome and tomb of Rafael. Fried Zuchini blossoms.

Kathrine Miller: Going to se th Chateau di Vinciennes or castle of the Kings with Karsten, trying escargot, and the Eiffel tower

Sara Lockhart: Seeing th Coliseum and Roman Ruins, also going to the top of the Eiffel tower

Sarah W: Blood oranges, exploring Versailles, going to the top of the Eiffel tower at night with Megs! "Halo--Let Nino show you!" :)

Kaitlyn Hanson: Group dinner in Rome, exploring Assisi, prayer in Taize, D'Orsay, "I like chips-yay processed food!"

Sky Macklay: Ice skating in Paris, blood oranges and artichokes, and community living in Taize

Laura: View of Eiffel tower at night

Maren Penning: Standing on top of L'Arc de Triomph at night and having an amazing viw of the Eiffel tower and the reeeeest of Paris

Jill Nerka: Trying new foods, like cod, blood oranges, and escargot.

Drew Lee: The hike up to the top of Mt. Subasio with Mike and Karsten. A wonderful day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lyon, France

Lyon, France Airport

Second Largest City in France:

Unfortunately we couldn't stay in Italy forever and we had to leave. On the bright side, we left Italy to go to beautiful France :) Our first stop in France was the city of Lyon. Although we only spent 2 nights and 1 full day there, the city had quite an impact on us. The city was beautiful and full of things for us to see and do. We wished that we could have spent more time there.

Street Entertainment

Pretty View

Saint Johns Cathedral: This cathedral was very different from any of the cathedrals we had seen in Italy. Unlike the many "frescoes" we saw in Italy, the churches here focused on using sunlight to illuminate 13th century stained-glass windows to tell Biblical stories. This cathedral is a great example of Gothic architecture and holds a large 14th century astronomical clock.

Inside the Cathedral

Lunch: We had the afternoon free for lunch before we went to the museum. The meals varied from sweet and savory crepes to Lyon-inspired lunch including poached egg salad, steak, wine, stuffed meat intestines. Everything was delicious but very different from the food we had in Italy. Italy is the only country France looks up to for food.

Museum of French Resistance: This museum commemorates the French resistance to Nazi occupation, in which Lyon played a major role. The exhibit holds documents from the beginning of the resistance to the deportation. There was an audio system in English so we could understand the exhibit and moved through the museum at our own pace.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Taizé, France: A Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth

Preparation for Taizé: Coming to Taizé most of us were pretty apprehensive because we were heard life in Taizé was VERY simple. For example, we bought a lot of food before coming because we heard the only food we would be getting was donated. We were also told to shower up because we were unsure about the facilities and we were told to bundle up and bring our own sheets & towels.

Taizé Community: “Coming to Taizé is an opportunity to seek communion with God through common prayer, singing, personal reflection and sharing. Everyone is here to discover or rediscover a meaning for their life and to find a new vitality. Being in Taizé is also a preparation for taking on responsibilities back at home with a view to being bearers of peace and trust. As you arrive at Taizé, you are welcomed by a community of brothers who have made a lifelong commitment to follow Christ in common life and celibacy, in simplicity of life.”

Daily Schedule:

Sunday through Friday

7:00 a.m. ~ Wake up call (To shower or not to shower?)
8:15 a.m. ~ Morning Prayer (Chants,
Silence, Bible Verse, Communion, and Prayer)

The Church of Reconciliation

One of many Stained-Glass Windows

9:15 a.m. ~ Breakfast (Bread, butter, and jam)
10:00 a.m. ~ Chores (Cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing walls, sweeping, washing windows, and changing sheets, etc.)


12:20 p.m. ~ Midday Prayer (Chants, Silence, Bible Verse, Prayer)
1:00 p.m. ~ Lunch (Biggest meal of the day)
2:00 p.m. ~ Song Practice (Not mandatory, but highly
2:45 p.m. ~ Bible Study (Lead by Brother Lorenzo…Whistle Whistle! We met as a group for an hour, then broke up into small groups with people all around the world to discuss Bible passages)

5:15 p.m. ~ Snack (Coffee, Hot Chocolate, or Tea)
5:45 p.m. ~ Workshops (Our class discussions were held at these times or after chores if we had time. On the 20th we watched the inauguration of Obama and another day we spoke to Brother John, a California native, to talk about a day in the life of a monk)

7:00 p.m. ~ Supper (Let’s just say one night we were served ONE chicken nugget, a scoop of mashed potatoes, a slice of bread, and hot water…)

A typical meal at Taizé

8:30 p.m. ~ Evening Prayer then silence (A good time for relaxing, journaling, and meditating)

Special Event: It was a big week at Taizé because it was Madame Caldwell's "29th" birthday! Pastor Mike had to secretly coax her from Wednesday nights worship service to attend her surprise birthday party! We gathered in a spare room and had two different cakes and a new scarf waiting for her. We ended the party with music and song from anyone willing to share their talents!

Madame Caldwell & Pastor Mike

Appreciation for Change: By the end of the week, there was a new understanding of life in Taizé. We came to appreciate and respect the Taizé community as well as the people who volunteer and travel from all over the world to stay there. Brother John reminded us during our meeting of how long we thought the silence was during our first prayer on Sunday (approximately 8-10 minutes). By the end of the week the time for silence seemed shorter. Brother John said, “The amount of time spent in silence hasn’t changed, it is you that has changed.” Taking the time to be in silence and living simply has had a really positive effect on all of us that we want to take with us forever.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Exploring Assisi

Hike to Castle: Our class took a hike up the mountain to enjoy the picturesque view of Assisi from the castle "Rocca Maggiore." The castle has now been turned into a beautiful museum.

The Play: The class acted out a play entitled the "Ritual of Fracis' Stripping." There were two narrators (Rachel & Kayla), Pietro (Liz H.), Pica (Drew), Magistrate Bruno (Callie), Francisco (Pete), Bishop Guido (Sky), and the chorus (rest of the class) acted out the a scene from Francisco's life. The play reenacts the time in Francis' life where he tells his family that he wants to turn his life over to God and to prove it he strips his clothes off in front of the town.

Lunch at Da Angelo: Senora Caldwell recommended that we eat at Da Angelo, which was great advice. Our group enjoyed eating at Da Angelo for three hours (12-3pm!!!). Although we were there for so long, the time seemed to pass so quickly. The following includes the menu:

Antipasto misto caldo e freddo ("Pope hat" shaped pasta filled w/nuts)
Cappelli del prete alle Noci Stringozzi Assisani (a spaghetti-like dish)
Agnello Salsiccia e Braciola alla griglia (bread with different speads including olives and assorted meats)
Insalata Mista
Patate "Sotto le Cenere" (Oven baked Potatos)
Dolce della Casa (House special: cake)
Acqua Vino Locale (Local wine...Delish!!)
Caffe e digestive (Grapa)

Assisi Experience:
We all thoroughly enjoying our experience in Assisi. We loved visiting the many sacred places, the hikes up and down the mountainside, and exploring the various shops, pizzerias, and internet cafe's.
Class has now begun and we are discussing the book, "Reluctant Saint-The Life of Francis of Assisi" every night before dinner. Class usually ran for 2 hours where students presented key concepts and questions from the book followed by class discussion.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sacred Places

Basilica di Santa Chiara: This is famous for the cross of San Damiano and holds the remains of Clare in the crypt.

Cattedrale di San Rufino: It is considered to be one of the most important Romanesque religious buildings in Umbria and continues the history of the Fransican movement. This cathedral holds the font where Clare and Francis were baptized.

Basilica di San Francesco:
This is the church that many of us attended Mass at on Sunday.  St. Francis' tomb is located beneath this basilica.  It was built in his honor and contains many frescos telling a story of Francis giving away his possessions to God. 

Modern Nativity

Traditional Nativity 

Basilica di San Francesco