Posted by: Jil Yong | July 26, 2016

An Open Letter to ISIS

You do not know me, but I know who you are. I have read about you day after day, even though many of my countrymen refuse to believe that you pose any real threat, nonetheless exist. I read about the brutal attacks that you have carried out upon my brothers and sisters not only here in America, but across the world. I want you to listen very clear to what I am about to tell you, because while you think that your message is loud, it is but a dim whisper compared to the thunderous cry of my Church and this is what She says to you:

We will not be shaken, no matter what evils you devise. Your mantra may be sown in anger and hatred, but we will never let hatred, not even for you, have its foothold within us. Love rules our hearts, and no matter how hard you try, no matter how many of us you murder, you will never take that from us. You seek to diminish our hope, but we hold fast to the Word that suffering produces hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out upon us. You seek to see us suffer and die, yet to die for our Lord is a privilege that many of us would only hope to accept. You seek to create chaos, but my God calms the storms and I am not overcome. You have no power over me because I am a child of God and you cannot scare that out of me. It has been imprinted on my heart since the day of my baptism and nobody, not even the enemy himself, can rob me of that. We will not fight you because this battle has already been won two thousand years ago. We are a Church set apart, and by the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, we are resilient beyond measure. Our God has overcome death. And incase you thought that you were winning, just ask my couple million brothers and sisters in Christ gathered together in Poland. I promise that you will hear a mighty roar that shakes the gates of Hell, and sends Lucifer himself to hide in cowardice. It is the roar of a sons and daughters who walk in authority and power, a young Church clothed in glory and protected by the blood of the Lamb, and she will not be defeated.         

Our Father’s commandment is not to purify the earth by murder and acts of terror. He is a Father who humbled himself and died, so that we might live. He is a Father that will never abandon us or forsake us. His act of love demands of us one thing: that we too love and we go after the lost sheep. You dear brothers, are the lost sheep. So no matter what acts you commit, no matter how much you torture us, murder us, and try to intimidate us. I will love you. I will not wish evil upon you, because you too are my brother. You too are a child and my Father desires to embrace you in His merciful arms of love. I will bless you every day, and pray for the conversion of your hearts. I will pray that you be delivered from the bonds of the enemy that ensnare you. I will pray that you no longer be enslaved to do the enemy’s bidding, but that you may know you too, are worth so much more. I look forward to the day when you step into the freedom that Christ won for us. I pray the sword of the Spirit pierce your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. My dearest brothers, I pray that one day I may spend eternity in paradise with you beside me singing the praises of our King. You are worth more than gold my dear brothers, He died for you, and He rose for you.  You are not beyond help or beyond the grasp of His mercy. I eagerly await you, I forgive you, and I bless you.

Your Sister In Christ,

Jil Yong

Posted by: Jil Yong | December 13, 2012

Do As He Says

Hello all,

So it’s definitely been a very long time since I wrote and boy, a lot has happened. I took a job working in youth ministry and to say it has been blessed is the understatement of the year. Its been so beautiful and something coming up a lot when working in this ministry is humility. I am humbled every day to know that the Lord has allowed me to help save souls. What a miracle. I’ve witnessed miracles or healing, miracles of things changing before my eyes, the miracle our Lord, turning bread into His very flesh. As much as I have experienced  I am convinced that there is no greater miracle than the miracle of a soul returning to the Lord. So great a miracle that God gives himself fully for it to happen. The should be no surprise that the God of the Universe, He who holds us in existence every moment of every day, can heal diseases, bones, bring people to life, turn medal into precious gold. We experience awe from these things because we notice how little we are compared to God. But for a soul, to turn back to its Maker, that is beautiful because it takes free will. God loves us so much that he does not interfere with our free will. Yet, somehow, he seeks us out, relentlessly, He breaks through to our hearts, creates us with desires only fulfilled in Him, and we find ourselves in the embrace of a Father welcoming back his lost child. I had the privilege of being able to go to Mass yesterday in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception downtown. I was able to go after spiritual direction and so many things stuck out to me. First of all the first reading was from Isaiah.

Every valley shall be lifted up, every mountain and hill shall be made low; The rugged land shall be made level, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed

This imagery that Isaiah is using screamed the spiritual life to me, and what a beautiful picture it is. As we celebrate this advent season we prepare for the coming of Christ into the world, and more specifically into our lives. The coming of Christ into our lives, means that we will be given new meaning. Like Simon, we are given new identity. He became Peter, we become sons and daughters of the Father. Because of this new identity, we are given a new set of eyes with which to view our lives and the world. Perhaps we become more sensitive to wrongs that we used to shrug off before, or maybe we begin to see Gods grace moving in the things around us more often. Isaiah’s words speak to this spiritual experience. the valleys of pain and sorrow and darkness are lifted from the shadows into the light. Those mountaintop experiences are seen through the eyes of a lowly and humble servant. The times and places in which we experience difficulty in walking, it is there that we are given the strength and grace in which we can walk as if it were level ground. And, the rough places will become places of silent beauty and freedom. The Lord has promised us that his burden is light and his yoke easy. It is not because difficult things lessen or become easier , but it is because we are given new eyes, a new heart, to bring to these new encounters. This is grace in action. These hardships, temptations, sins, are no longer a burden, but when we acknowledge our sins it becomes the means by which we prepare to enter the Sacred Mysteries. That is the penitential rite which we hear in the Mass.

Brothers and Sisters, let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries.

What a beautiful gift that these moments of brokeness  is the means by which the Lord wants us to prepare for Him to enter in. He wants to heal us, he wants to come into those moments to bring the Sacrifice of Cavalry and the Joy of the Empty Tomb into those moments. This is the essence of humility, to acknowledge your brokeness, but to utter your Fiat to the Lord, and see and accept the great weapon that our weaknesses become.

To Jesus through Mary,

Jil

Posted by: Jil Yong | December 21, 2011

Semester Reflections

Wow…. its been a long time since Ive written anything, yet here I am writing to yall before the new year. Its been an eventful semester, but I think more has happened in the past week than the semester put together. This semester was nothing short of insane. The busy-ness wore me out in every way, but hey! I survived! This past week I’ve had time to process ( and thats where all the fun stuff happens). The Lord is faithful. Thats all that I can say. He has taught me so much, and i finally feel like my heart is quiet enough to really hear what Hes got to say. I wont go into personal things, because, well, its between me and the Lord, but I will share the blessings and lessons Ive come to learn. 

So the first. This is a big one. Everyone has heard the Footprints poem. So many times I see people obsessing over their end, their goal, their perfection. This is something I got so wrapped up in this semester, and it was detrimental. Its also not me, in fact its pretty contrary to who I am. It wasnt until I biffed it and ate some dirt that I realized I need to stop staring at my destination and start watching where I step. I always hear people say things like, I’m walking to the Lord, or Im running to the Lord. The fact of the matter is that, why walk to Him when you can walk with Him? I’ve always been one of those people who walked with the Lord, but for some reason I got caught up in walking to Him. Scripture says, “thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” What good can the Word Made Flesh be, if He is but only the light we are walking towards? Light is to bring us sight, but what are we going to do with sight when we get to it? Especially since our path is full of things that make us fall, get hurt, bloody our knees, and trip. Wouldn’t the light serve us better if it were to be lighting where we step? By losing sight of this, I learned the value of the blessing the Lord has given me to walk with Him. One of my favorite movies is Gladiator, and one of the most famous lines is “What you do in life echoes in eternity.” This in light of the point Im making is that we need to stop focusing on getting to Eternity, but what we do in life. Because that is what will get us to eternity. Yeah, on my path I might still lose my footing, but at least the Lord will be there to break my fall or help me up. Let the Lord walk with you. Because its not about being perfect and acting perfectly, its about letting the Lord into your life and loving Him. Then He can perfect us. 

I feel like I really lost a lot of who I was this semester, and it was hard and discouraging, but a complete joy to find myself again. We can do nothing without the Lord. And its not until, you lose sight of yourself that you realize that. A little while ago, I had to write my curriculums for class and I wrote two lessons on manhood and womanhood. One of the points I touched on was knowing who you are. Going with the Gladiator theme, me and some friends talked about how one of the most powerful parts of the movie was his monologue, “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.” Why is this so powerful? because he is someone who knows who he truly is. I began to think shortly after watching the movie three or four times already this break, what would my monologue be? Who am I (not to go all Derek Zoolander on you)? But seriously, would I let my faults and my defeats define who I am? Who do I serve? Although I might have suffered loss does that make me any less of who I was? And although I work to reach the sanctification purchased for me by Christ’s blood, do I have to attain it in this life or can it be the next? Not saying go to worry about holiness now, but if I work all my life towards it and never achieve it, can I be satisfied knowing that the Lord will grant it to me in the next? I think that this is the foundation of life, being able to answer these questions, knowing who we are. This is why the Sacraments are so huge! In Baptism, we receive our identity. In Confession we reclaim our identity, and come to know who we really are, that is to say, we see ourselves as the Father sees us and only in that way can we define ourselves. Only in that way can we begin to live out and fill the shoes of holiness and virtue set out before us. 

Lastly, is to not act for ourselves. How many times is prayer used as a feel good? or is Praise and Worship used as a high? Start to do things for the Glory of God and He will bless you a thousand times more. Pray with purpose. Not with the intention of “I need.” but rather, “God deserves because He is infinitely good. And because He is infinitely good, He is mercy is ever deep, and I plea that it finds me.” We deserve nothing, yet He gives us everything. Do all things for the Greater Glory of God, and let that be your only intention, your only purpose, your only goal. Lets not lose sight of this, especially in this Christmas season. 

Posted by: Jil Yong | July 31, 2011

2 Cor 12:7-10

“Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:7-10

Its  a crazy thought that what, 8 months have gone by in the blink of an eye. In fact id dare to say that the last year has gone by in the blink of an eye. This time last year I was road tripping through Texas with two of my best friends, abandoned to the Lords providence. So this summer, has been much different than last. Anybody who worked or is working at the Pines can attest that it is one of the most emptying jobs ever. It takes everything you have and more. Its about giving and giving and giving until you have nothing left to give, but you still give. The Lord emptied me til I was dry, but not to make a shout out to water village but that analogy of a cup overflowing has never wrung truer. I realize now at the year that has passed since camp that this year has been a year of the Lord filling me with Him. The Lords call to “stop and receive” has definitely been loud and clear. Its not something I personally deal with easily. Humility has been something that in this period of stopping and receiving that the Lord has been teaching me. Ive learned about how many things I don’t have control over and how much the Lord bestows grace upon the weak. This week Ive had lots of time to relax and then catch up on some movies and one that stood out the most was Of Gods and Men, a film recommended to me by both my parents and a seminarian. This story follows the lives of 9 French Monks living in a predominantly muslim village in Algeria. These monks are posed with the option of leaving as civil war becomes more threatening or staying. Eventually, they decide to stay and 7 are later kidnapped and assassinated. Now, what does this have to do with anything? Well one of the lines that stuck out to me the most was this:

Weakness in itself is not a virtue but the expression of a fundamental reality which must constantly be refashioned by faith, hope and love. The strength of the Spirit is neither passivity nor resignation, it requires courage and incites to defend justice and truth and to denounce the temptation of force and power.

The reality is that we all have struggles, all have faults and all have crosses to bear. The reality also is that we must live to overcome these deficiencies, yet these are changed by the theological virtues. Our deficiencies become the doors to greatness, because through them we learn, and grow, and are strengthened. The way in which we breakthrough the threshold of weakness to greatness is nothing other than the strength of the Holy Spirit. We must realize our dependency on the Spirit, or in other words grow in humility, so that we might not be passive and let fear of sin or hell consume us, but rather take courage to claim the mercy, and goodness, and greatness which the Lord has granted us to live as worth and holy sons and daughters of the King.

Weakness is not something that we should try to eliminate in life, it keeps us humble, and is the tools that the Lord uses to show us His love. Id like to think that my weakness, in a way, is my love language with the Lord. Its through our brokenness that we are stretched. When we can no longer go anymore that the Lord carries us and works through us. I was just talking to a few friends about the tool analogy. We are all tools. Haha, not in that sense. Anyways, so we are all tools, but different tools. So where as I may be a hammer, one might be an axe, or a screw driver, maybe a drill, or scroll saw, a wrench, or a biscuit cutter, maybe some people are even the screws or nails, nuts or bolts. Whatever it is we each have our place in the Lords tool shed. Sometimes we are used often, maybe we spend lots of time on the shelf, maybe we might even spend so much time on the shelf that we think we have been forgotten, maybe we think we should be used all the time. Whatever it is, if we desire to be tools, which we should always desire, than we must come to the understanding that we have an irreplaceable purpose. No other tool can do the job of the screwdriver. But just because we are important and irreplaceable, doesn’t mean we should be used for every job. A screwdriver cannot do the job of a hammer. So, if we are to be good tools of the Lord, we must know when to be okay with sitting on the shelf and collecting dust. Now what this has to do with weakness…..here we go, so, a hammer struggles with screwing things in. But because it struggles and cannot do that, it is perfect for the job of driving in nails. You see! Our weaknesses become our strengths, the ways in which we are used! Weakness, though unfortunate when they lead to sin, are made new. The Lord makes all things new. Jesus had weaknesses, His human mortality, was a weakness. But if it were not for His humanity we would all be up a creek. You see Christ could’ve come as a solely divine being, but he took on the weakness of humanity, with all the temptations, all the frailties, all the limitations, so that we could live body and soul for eternity. His weakness was the pathway to greatness and the way in which He loved us most.

Mainly what I am trying to say is that nothing is too great for the Lord. Do not lose hope, do not let your faith waiver, do not close yourself off from loving and being loved, do not fear pain, but rather dream of greatness and believe in miracles, trust in Truth, let yourself be loved like there will be no hurt, and love until you cannot love anymore, and in that moment love even more, and finally live as if there were no pain because Our Lord is healer. In that pain Christ comes down into our souls, and we are caught in the intimate gaze of bride and the Bridegroom, were all is stripped away, and the Bridegroom looks upon His bride in all her vulnerability and imperfection and embraces her with a love so pure and ardent. In this embrace it is Love that conquers all and His seed is planted in our soul and named Holiness and eternal happiness.

  Totus Tuus Maria.

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.” Colossians 1:24-27

“Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

 

Posted by: Jil Yong | January 11, 2011

Just A Penny for My Thoughts

Hey ladies and gents,
Its been a while since I wrote and a long while since I got back… 1 month and 1 wk to be exact, not that I’ve been keeping track or anything. In aproximately 5 days I will be heading back for yet another epic semester that will pull and stretch and twist me in many ways I feel uncomfortable or that is too much or hard for me. As my trip becomes more real and seems to loom over my head like a black rain cloud, it sends a terrential downpour of thoughts straight to my mind. Some good and exciting, some intimidating and full of doubt. I’m beginning to realize just how excited I am to see friends, my sisters, be back to the place I love and cherish. But I am also realizing how unprepared I am. Every semester on campus is a busy, fast, jam packed, epic semester of growth, but the 4 semesters I’ve been on campus all put together, cannot compare to the last 7 months of my life. The person that walked off campus May 3rd, 2010, is nothing like the person that will be returning. This being said I am realizing that yes I’ve changed and had so many amazing experiences, made new friends, loved and lost 2 people very dear to me, seen miracles before me, have had many blessings and opportunities people would die to have and I have yet to process these events in my mind. I have so much that’s happened I can’t possibly imagine taking on more! I have learned countless things about myself yet I realize I’ve struggled in actually putting them into practice because I didn’t have the security and safe protection of the walls of the Kartause, an ocean or the gates of the Pines. These places were amazing but its time I stop missing them so darn much and bring them into my daily life. Austria was so amazing, but its not Austria, its the people and the experience in my heart, both of which will continue to be with me. My point is that these 5 days are major process time for me to become more solidly the person I became in austria and the pines. And that person is taking this semester head on, there will be laughs and tears but there will also be the Lord. I will be keeping yall updated with my semester because this semester I’m becoming the woman I want to be, so excited! And I am also going to just LIVE! I know that’s last semesters hh theme, but its carrying itself over to this semester in my personal life. The one thing I’ve come to know the last 2 months is how short life can be, it can end tomorrow for all I know. So why wait? I’m not. Living to the fullest, pushing the limits of the world in pursuit of Love Himself, taking chances, trying new things, doing things I’ve always wanted to do, saying yes more, but knowing when to say no. I cannot wait 🙂

I love ya’ll and to those I love going to Austria, Godspeed, I’m with you through the Eucharist, keep in touch AND live it up there 🙂

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Pace et Bonum!

Posted by: Jil Yong | October 18, 2010

Italia!

So a few weekends ago I went to Italy. Its been insane, with 10 day and midterms so this is the first time I’ve been able to write. That, Friday we left at 6 for the train station. 6 girls. Hitchhiked it over because we were running late. So three of us get a ride there and it was great, we had this really old little german couple, and Gizzy gave them a rosary which was from Mariazel. So we said a rosary and as soon as we finished the last 3 of our group showed up. Mama is so good! So we catch our train get to Salzburg and meet up with a bunch of other Frannies. So we did what any Americans would do during a 2 1/2 hour layover… McDonalds. So we chilled at Micky D’s and off to Venice! We arrived in Venice at like 7:30-8 am. Now, this was just crazy… we are all in the sleeper car and we have like 2 stops to go until we get off, so I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Im brushing for all of 30 seconds when Gizzy bangs on the door and says, “Hey we are getting off at this stop. So, toothbrush in my mouth still, I go to the sleeper grab my bag, and run out to the door, I just press the green button to open the door, and it opens, but I realize we are moving and Gizzy is chasing the train. So my quick thinking is… JUMP!!!! So, I did and I get yelled at by the italian guy still on the train. Well guess what? We then come to find out that we shouldve stayed on til the next stop… So we hop on another train (this one is stopped, don’t worry) and first thing we see is this lovely little sign:

So we make it to Venice…. It is seriously the most beautiful city ive ever seen. It is quiet and calm. The water is a beautiful aqua color and everyone is very friendly. So we walked around and got lost in Venice, which was the plan. Then we took a Gondola ride with the oldest working Gondolier in all of Venice. Hes been working driving gondolas for 44 years and his family has been in Venice for 392 years. So the ride was a lot like a tour, we got to see a lot of the city and the important buildings, one was the oldest building and it is 1000 years old. We also learned that there are 409 bridges in all of Venice… I feel like that’s a lot. But we really got to see the beauty of Venice, which was in the small narrow alleys where peoples clothes were out on a line, or where their boats were docked. Our Gondolier kept saying , “Venizia sinks, and people move up.” It was so true, most first floors were completely empty and full of water but the second, third, and forth floors were all being lived in.

So, after the ride we stopped and ate lunch. I played with the pigeons, feeding them and throwing some bread really close to Swizz so that they would peck at her. It was great! I got a 2 euro piece of Venizian pizza and some famous Venizian white wine…. YUM 🙂 From there we made our way over to San Marcos, the HUGE Church in Venice. The lines are usually hours long as we came to discover however, we also discovers if u wade in the water you can get in after just a few minutes. The reason I say wade in the water is because the water was high tide and stretched across the entire square where San Marcos is, to the point that the front of San Marcos is flooded. This being said they have narrow platforms that people walk on to get into the Church. So, we make it in, look around, and, I kid you not, it is the most beautiful Church I have ever seen. It dates back to the 800-900’s. The interior is HUGE, and includes both gothic and byzantine influences. There are many altars and crypts, and there still stands the pillar where St Marks relics were discovered and the High Altar is where they rest now. There are over statues made of bronze everywhere and there is over 8000 square meters of Gold, bronze, and precious stone mosaics depicting scenes from Early Church history. So, if you can imagine all of this amazingness and magnify it times about 2,000 times in your mind, you would be imagining the amazingness of San Marcos.

Well all good things must come to an end, so we caught a boat taxi to the train station and it was super awesome. The view of the Mediterranean was beautiful. So we caught our train, barely, to Padova. We get in Padova and make it to the St Anthony’s Basilica , which was pretty sweet. We got to go see his relics, tongue, jaw, and vocal chords and all. It was pretty cool, but kinda gross all the same, I think that’s because they are human body parts… But its cool because those parts were preserved from decay because he used them as God intended. After that we got to venerate his tomb. Then, we tracked back to the Cathedral where St Luke’s skeleton is, and it was so much quieter and peaceful. St. Anthony’s was super busy and Mass was going on and people were walking all over the place, but there might’ve been like 30 people in the entire Cathedral. From there we grabbed some grub and went to get on the train to Genova. Here’s the deal, Italy has this stupid rule about buying train reservations when you have a Eurail when you are on a special kind of train or something like that. There’s a catch in my story… this special train was the only one that could get us to check into our hostel on time because our hostel had a curfew. So I was napping on the train before, with my Bible as a pillow and come up with this genius idea… how about we send 2 people to get to the hostel on time and check in and then split the cost between us all after we take the later free train. So we got to the train station, and I talked to the conductor and I was able to talk him into letting us get on the train, for free! But heres another thing with Italy, they don’t really care about time, and they really like futbol. We found ourselves on this free train that was supposed to get us there on time, but it was super late because the entire train was sold out and waiting on the futbol team supporters! Wait… what? Yup. They held the train 45 minutes for soccer fans, and then canceled peoples reservations in the box seats for the fans too, not the team, just the fans. Eventually we got to Genova about 4 or 5 hours later, and we realized three things: 1- when they said it was a really rough walk to the hostel because its uphill, they really meant a HARD walk UPHILL. It wouldve been like mountain climbing… 2- by the grace of God our train got there only 15 minutes after it was supposed to, and 3- well we had no clue where we were supposed to be going. So we ask for some help figuring out buses, and they told us to get on this one bus and we did but we were going to have to switch buses. So we get off at the right stop and we are trying to figure out the other bus, when this really awesome italian girls, loud and crazy, probs just left the club, wearing leggings and like 5 inch heels, hair all did up and such, say “bus 640” and we were like, “yeah?” so they take off yelling and we run after, they literally run in the middle of the road heels and all and stop our bus and tell us when to get off for the hostel. It was rockin, like I thought these women were straight ghetto cuban women from hialeah. They were awesome. So long story short we get to our hostel sleep awesome, praise God because it was a dorm style hostel (so not a private room) with 8 beds (we had 6) but I guess because there were only 2 beds left they didn’t rent it out to other people, so we basically got a private room. It was great. Next morning we got to Mass at the Basilica, and then take a train to Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre was beautiful, kind touristy, but beautiful. First thing we do, get some italian food on the beach. I got some penne al pomodoro, and thin sliced smoked tuna and swordfish with tomatoes. It was delicious, and the fresh italian bread and olive oil and pepper was legit. We also tasted some Cinque Terre white wine, which complimented the meal rather well. After that I looked for italian ice… it was a fail, so we got Gelatto instead… I love Lemon Gelatto… its delicious… I cant even explain.
So then it was time to hit the beach. The water was freezing, so I napped in the sunshine and on the sand/rocks (the shore of the Mediterranean doesn’t have a lot of sand, its pebbles), and then it got chilly, so I put on a hoodie and fell asleep. And they took a picture of me in my swimsuit, with my hoodie and sunglasses napping on the beach, and now its on facebook…. Its really embarrassing, but its not on my facebook so good luck finding it you jerks! After my nap we changed, and island hopped, and I proceeded to spend the best 3 euro of my life! I bought a like 1.5 ft by 10 inch loaf of ciabatta bread. It was glorious. It lasted me until the next day. I had many yummy pb&j’s on it and nutella sandwiches on it. So I go watch the sunset on the cliffs, and walked around, really enjoyed the silence and peace.

Now its time to get home. This is where the story gets really good. So, we wait for a train, from the island going back to Genoa. We meet this couple from Pittsburgh, who are Catholic. I said something about a comment she said about abortion, and I said “God sometimes puts us in tough places to bring us closer to Him.” She buts in and says, “or her.” I almost had a heart attack, my eyes just got huge and I went dead silent, she quickly says she’s joking (probs because she knows im a theology major, and almost just died.) , but then says, “but seriously God doesn’t have a gender.” And then later she made a comment about how “more women need to be involved in ALL areas of the Church” aka the priesthood. This was the start of a VERY LONG night for me… So, we get to Genoa at 11:15. We had left our bags at the baggage drop off, and our train is leaving at 11:41. So we go to the baggage claim. CLOSED! It closed at 11. So we got to the police station, they tell us to knock on the door, so we do. No answer, but we find a guy with keys. He says “I’ll be right back.” He lied. So we go back to the Police station and they are like we cant help you. So Gizzy, Swizz, and I are chillin by the claim incase this key guy shows up and the rest of the group are looking for help. Our train leaves in 10 minutes. They come back with this guy named Niko. Niko was american, but spoke italian and he came out of nowhere and offered to be our translator. So, our train leaves, and we give up on the fact that we are getting out of italy any time soon. So two cops, our 3 girls, Niko, and 2 guys with keys are gathered around. They tell us that getting the bags is not a problem, but we need to figure out trains. So plan is: train at like 5 am. Gizzy, Swizz, and I are still at the baggage claim, away from the others and this flash of light from inside the building (like literally it was a camera flash or something) goes off and BOOM! Thunder. It was crazy. So we compose ourselves (I may or may not have screamed bloody murder) and start discussing how this is Gods plan, Hes going to take care of us, hes just trying to tell us to trust Him, etc. So finally, they come over open the baggage for us, and I was so happy to get all of my stuff. The cop, who is like huge, hes like this huge italian ripped dude, goes to us and says where are you staying. We have no clue. So he says stay here, you can stay in front of the police station. We were like, ok I guess. So he takes us over there, and says in perfect english, “whatever you need just knock on the door, coffee, water, the bathroom, but whatever you do, do not in any circumstance go outside, or leave this space. Bad people are out there.” Niko, who like 45 minutes ago said his train was delayed and had 50 minutes to spare, says, “I can hang out with you guys, I have like 40 minutes till my train leaves. Ill be right back though.” So he leaves, and we start talking about how that time doesn’t match up…. He definitely should be leaving in like 5 minutes… then we decided he was an angel. For real, God sent his angel to guide us. So he comes back after like 10 minutes with a handwritten train schedule for the rest of our travels back to Gaming… more suspicion, how does this random guy find a train schedule from Genoa, Italy back to Gaming, Austria? Handwritten, no way to look any of it up, with times and everything? Impossible. So we talk to Niko, drink wine and eat bread, and he leaves after a bit. Then we talk to a Franciscan Brother and Sister, from across the way. They come eat with us. Their names are Roberto and Kristina, and they are in a Franciscan Order in Rome, they wear denim habits and they work with the poor and sick. We talked about our studies and their order and they left to say night prayer and everything holy.
At this point some sketch characters are there at the train station, Kristina and Roberto are across the way praying a rosary with their hoods up, and Roberto is keeping a close watch out for us. Then the Police officer keeps watching out his window, walking around, making sure we are ok.

A couple times that night these guys tried to get into our little area but the police officer came out literally immediately and told them to get out, he was St Michael. I am convinced. He protected us so much and I am so grateful to him. So at this point I passed out sleeping in the train station, protected by this random cop, and the next morning we followed Niko’s schedule and made it back to Gaming safely without a catch at all. AND IM ALIVE TO TELL THE STORY!

Posted by: Jil Yong | September 22, 2010

Poland.

So for this blog, I’m choosing to go a little bit of a different route. First I’ll say that I loved Poland, it was amazing and there is such a presence of the Lord there. The people have overcome so much and I do believe that Professor Cassidy was right in saying the Poland is so under appreciated… Europe, does not appreciate Poland, and America sure as heck does not appreciate Poland either. I never understood what he was talking about when he said that “if you were to take the soil of Poland and squeeze it in your hand, the blood of the martyrs would flow out.”  This is true. Poland was amazing but it is not a fun place to go on the weekend, its not like going to Amsterdam or Prague, this country is amazing to go to because of where they have been. So many people say its the best place you’ll go in your semester in Austria… why? I think its because when you get there you see humanity for what it is. We are hopeless without the Lord. Without Him. When i arrived in Poland I believe that is the closest I will ever come to experiencing what I will experience on the day of my judgment, here on earth. Cassidy wasn’t lying when he said that you are asked, “You’ll get to Poland and be faced with a question. Are you are going to be selfish and let what has happened in Poland happen to your neighbor? Are you going to piss away your life doing what you want and taking care of yourself? Or are you going to choose the Lord and do everything in your power to ensure this doesn’t happen again?” You see, walking through Auschwitz, was just this feeling of desolation, it was not even a feeling of depression. For once I actually experienced physically what sin and selfishness do to you. Selfishness and sin isolates you and brings you to this desolation, this leads to death. But when you walk through Auschwitz you come to the death wall, crematorium, and torture cell, and in this place where you feel that there is not a worse place in this hell hole to be, you encounter the most hope, St Maximilian Kolbe’s cell where he died. This cell is the “starvation cell”  and stands in the middle  of those 3 things. But this is a man who died in the place of another because he knew what this love of neighbor was. He was not selfish, he loved as Christ loved. In this desolation there was hope, there was love. The sign above the gate of Auschwitz reads, “Arbeit Macht Frei” or “Work sets you free” in one way this is true, in one way this is such a lie. Work did set the people free from their suffering in this life, that is true, but this place, they could never physically leave, no matter how much work they did, they would never be freed (with the exception of the few that were set free at the end of the war). This lie twists the truth, its not about your work here on earth, work does not give you freedom, its faith, hope, charity, and love in the Lord that sets us free, physically and spiritually. This freedom can never be taken away, even in the midst of pain and suffering, no matter how much you are forced to work, beaten, tortured, and hurt. Not even death can take away this freedom, it only allows us to experience the freedom of the beatific vision without our fallen nature and eventually all of this reunited with our glorified body.

So just to wrap up I’ll wrap up with what I wrote in my journal last night about my trip, its kinda long but hopefully good enough that you wont notice too much:

Sept 21, 2010

My Love,

This weekend was such an amazing experience. To behold your mother at Our Lady of Czestochowa was beyond amazing. I offered my intentions to her on the crawl around the altar. Her beauty is so astounding, I desire only to be more and more like her with every beat of my heart. I wish to be the physical manifestation of what a woman in love with the Lord is. This weekend i was taken away by Our Lady of Czestochowa not only in her enthronement or rather her glory, but what she meant to the country of Poland. After going to Auschwitz I realized that Our Lady of Czestochowa was what got these suffering souls through their days in a living hell. This is Our Lady for all of us.  She is our hope in the midst of suffering, I read today in my time with You in the Blessed Sacrament about how St Faustina saw the suffering souls in purgatory.

“One day I asked the Lord, ‘Lord, who else should I pray for?’ Jesus said that on the following night He would  let me know for whom I should always pray for. The following night, I saw my Guardian Angel who asked me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her ‘The Star of the Sea.’ She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of the prison of suffering. [I heard an interior voice] which said, My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it. Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls.”

~St Faustina Diary No. 20

Our Lady is their hope, they call her Star of the Sea,  she tends to them in their longing for the Lord. Mary, by her nature, does this for each and every one of us. I look to her in my times of suffering too little, but she has always been there. She was there in Your suffering, in the suffering of the Disciples when they lost hope after You died,  she is there in the suffering of the holy souls in purgatory, she was there in the suffering of the saints, she was there in the suffering of those in Auschwitz, she was and is there for the country of Poland in its suffering, and she has been and continues to be there in my own suffering as well. All through this she does not take away our suffering but rather shares in our suffering and reminds us of Your Divine Mercy. She was there in Your suffering and is there in all of our suffering. It is there that she takes us to a place to transcend time and unite the two, our suffering and Your suffering.  Anytime I feel myself with my cross, even I feel myself nailed to it, hanging in anguish, I know that I can look down and gaze into the face of  Our Mother, and she will be suffering with me. And when I look to my side, I will see the loving and comforting stare of You, My Beloved, hanging right there with me. But Our mother does not stop there in our suffering and death, but she is also the first to greet and rejoice in Your resurrection. So if we are Your body, “The Body of Christ,” then would she not give us the same treatment and be with us in our suffering, death, and resurrection?

Today in Christology we spoke of the Wedding at Cana, and the words You spoke to Mary, “Woman, what have you to do with me?”  In this You are not rebuking her, but in fact You are saying, “Woman, what has this to do with you and me?” Then You go on to say, “My hour has not yet come,” and Mary, Our Mother, does not just ignore what You said, she does not ask anything that is not against Your perfect will, but instead she echoes her, “Yes!” at her fiat, and Her words, “Behold I am the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy Word,”  when she says to the servants “Do what He tells you.” Because in these 5 words she is replying to You saying, “Not just Your our, but Our Hour. Our suffering will not be separated, but right now I am uniting my suffering to Yours, because of my complete belonging to You. I love you so much and You are such a part of me that it is Our Hour, not Your hour.” This is not her correcting You, but exercising her free will to choose suffering with You or not. She is telling You that she will choose You yet again in her life. This “yes” to partake in Your suffering goes beyond the Passion to come, but extends to the suffering of Your Body, the Church.

So my point is that this weekend brought me to understand the role of our Lady in a new light. I see the pieces coming together little by little. I was able to walk with Our Lady, to see how she has done and continues to do the work of her son here on earth, being always a vessel of His Mercy. So it is interesting how the order of the events of the weekend took place, we met Our Lady, at her unveiling at the Shrine of Our Lady of Chestochowa. From there she walked with us in the midst of desolation, and suffering, and death at Auschwitz. There we stood in the place of a man who realized her role in human suffering and redemption, and gave himself completely to another, through her, with her, in her, and for her, so to love another more perfectly through Christ, with Christ, in Christ and for Christ. Then from this place she took us to the Shrine of Divine Mercy, where we experienced the Mercy of Her Son. Then we followed in the footsteps of our Pope John Paul II which was a living example of the hope and comfort she brings to a soul. He gave himself completely to her “Totus Tuus Maria” and and was able to rise above and beyond the circumstance and suffering in which he lived.

In Mary, With Mary, Through Mary, and For Mary, to do more perfectly In Christ, With Christ, Through Christ and For Christ…

Jil.

Our Lady of Czestochowa, Pray for us

Our Lady Queen of Poland, Pray for Us

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Pray for Us

St Faustina, Pray for Us

Oh Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for Us, I Trust In You!




Posted by: Jil Yong | September 13, 2010

The Adventure of Schoenstatt

Alright well i have an adventure filled story to tell you about my weekend…

So this weekend we decided to go to Schoenstatt Shrine in Vallendar, Germany. Since there were 5 of us it was easier to rent a car. So we rented a car from Linz, which is an hour out of Gaming. We needed to pick it up by 8 on saturday so the only train that could get us there at that time was leaving at 5:22 am… the Kartause is a 45 minute walk from the station… Well my alarm didnt go off, so at 4:45 Alissa knocks on my door wakes me up so we got a late start to say the least. So we power walked and even ran towards the station, no way we would make the train, so we prayed a Memorare for a ride… well as we finish the group in front of us gets a ride but not us… so we prayed a decade, and as soon as we finish the decade a guy pull up in a van and says: “train station?” so in we jumped and he got us there with less than  a minute to spare! Totally Our Lady! So we get to Linz with directions to the car place and somehow we end up off the map because nobody knows where the street we are suppose to take to get us there is. So I stop at a coffee shop and some lady there magically speaks english and calls a taxi for us and gets us all set up. it was great so we get there, rent the car… now i made the reservation for an automatic transmission because then I wouldnt have to drive…. well we get there all they have is a manual… so I was the ONLY one who could drive… I wanted to die. But I had to do it. So Christopher gives us the keys sets up the GPS and all and we are on the road… Ummm lets just say the Autobahn is not my favorite place in the whole world, in fact excuse me for this short rant but I must…

“i hate it! It is the material embodiment of sin… rather I think it can be compared to the road of sin that we go through in our life… this is actually what i think of it… the autobahn is the road of sin. You see, like the road of sin, this road has no limits, its all about how fast you can go (a how far is too far mentality), there are suggestions for limits but not enforced, people dont make the greatest decisions on it (in fact they are stupid), it gives the person a false sense of freedom, people don’t know how dangerous this road is or that it leads to death and destruction.  Nobody could pay me enough money to drive on this road ever again. NEVER AGAIN!!!!

Okay, Im done now.  So, here’s the rest of the story. About halfway through the 7 hour drive I got super tired and my nerves were on end. So we stopped at a rest stop, pumped gas and decided to take a nap. So we went behind this rest stop, to a lettuce field, and napped in the random field… it was one of the best naps I’ve ever had.  So, then we were on the road again! We got to a town about 10 minutes away and asked where Schoenstatt was and nobody seemed to have any idea, so we said “Church?” and this guys gave us directions… to the wrong Church, but we went to Mass anyway. It was pretty sweet to go to Mass in German. They had one song in english, but nobody but us sang along. And after Mass we talked to the Priest. He gave directions us directions, and he said, “all roads lead to Schoenstatt, just like all roads lead to moscow…” I think he meant Rome… but whatevkies… So we made it there finally! And it was soooooo beautiful!!!

sunset at Schoenstatt

We went to this mosaic mural of Our Lady and prayed a rosary and lit candles for those we were offering the pilgrimage for.

Then we spent some time with Jesus in the original shrine. It was tiny but the Schoenstatt picture was surrounded by a gold frame and above a gold unity cross, underneath that was a carved dark wood tabernacle which was a part of the rest of the altar! It was beautiful. Then on the side was a statue of St Michael, and on the other was St Joseph. So basically the Chapel was all of my devotions wrapped up in one place.

After that we explored some more and then decided to get food, so we went to Luciana’s Pizza and had awesome italian dishes, with fizzy tasting water but wasn’t fizzy.

And then we slept in the car, woke up in the morning and were on the road again. The autobahn was still treacherous, but after some mcdonalds breakfast it was slightly better. In fact the mcdonalds there was the Bomb.com. It was like a restaurant, legit. I got a schoko croissant and apfelkuchen (chocolate croissant and apple cake) with orange juice.

So then we got slowed down in traffic after about 3 hours of driving and had a chinese fire drill (except for me cuz I was driving). And traffic didn’t get better, about 20 minutes later it stopped for about half an hour… so we did what any american would do… dance party! Basically we saw tons of cars turn off the engines and get out of the car so we followed suit, only we blasted Backstreet Boys and danced, even break danced on the autobahn for like 30 minutes.

Some boys, they were probs like 12 or 13 were a few cars ahead car surfing with their dad so we decided to give them each a quarter and they gave us a cool medallion. Also we had this little old lady with 2 cats take our picture and we gave her a St Joseph prayer card and Our Lady of Fatima Saturday devotion card. Then it dawned on me I had like 100 miraculous medals, so Gizzy and Jackie ran ahead of us in stop and go traffic passing them out to cars. It was so beautiful because we got to be witnesses of the joy of the Lord. Oh then we went to a rest stop and the guy working at the toilet pay things took 3 of my 50 cent vouchers… and made me pay twice… Grrr!!!! Finally we made it to Linz car rental place safe and sound! PRAISE GOD!!!! So then, we called the taxi company, whose answering machine was automated… so epic fail. Just as we were going to hitchhike our way there, Christopher, the car rental dude pulls up like 3 hours early for work, and gave us a ride!!!! Its cool because St Christopher is the patron of travelers! So we get there and prayed for Our Lady to get us a cheap train leaving in half an hour… so we went to the ticket counter and the guy got us a train for less than 6 euro each leaving in like 37 minutes…. Mary is ridiculous… so we grabbed some grub, and had a dance party on the train platform and the train!

Awesome Women

Ive wanted to do this since I saw the Santa Fe scene in Rent

Then before we knew it we were in Gaming! It was awesome (except for the autobahn). The end.

Posted by: Jil Yong | September 6, 2010

I love Schnitzel…. just saying

Umm yeah I’ve been getting emails about not writing, so heres an update: I’m in Gaming, Austria…. lol jk, but seriously…. Well I had some classes last week, and I’m really growing to enjoy them even more than I did the first day of class. As for the exciting stuff, aka my weekends, I’ve had an awesome weekend. Friday we had off and it was just an overall good day. The school offered us a trip to a local shrine called Mariazell. Some hiked for the 7 hours, I kinda felt like sleeping in especially since we were having our first FOP (festival of praise) that night and I had a late night/really early morning holy hour of intercession. So I woke up just in time to eat and catch the bus ride to Mariazell. It took us through the Alps which was pretty awesome to see and it pretty much blew my mind when I got there. We arrived in the tiny town and theres a few shops, a restaurant an ice cream shop (ice,a s they call it here is super popular EVERYWHERE!) and then little tiny shops that basically only sell rosaries and medals, and statues. So I bought a rosary (like any good franciscan would do). Then me and my friend joey walked around the basilica… its gorgeous. Mariazell is the national shrine of Austria, and it houses the miraculous statue of Our Lady holding the infant Jesus.  So basically a really quick history was that a monk was walking around the woods looking for a place to build a monastery and a huge boulder came about blocking his path, so he pulled out this statue of Mama and started to pray for her guidance and CRACK! went the boulder right in two. News spread and now its a huge shrine. So basically the basilica is decorated in precious metal and paintings. The altar is all precious metal and is blocked in by railings and it houses the statue. We couldnt take pictures so heres one I found online.

So we left there and went to an amazing FOP and it was so awesome being on prayer teams! So Friday was a big highlight, I mean awesome pilgrimage and then a FOP? nothing beats that. And the Hurricanes won their game too 45-0 so that was also a plus 🙂 Saturday everyone left with the school to go to Salzburg and Munich but I wasn’t going so I slept in, and read a little bit and then realized that I am one of 4 people that stayed here and of those 4 the only girl… but we made the most of it all. My comrades are John  Smith (not from Pocahontas) and Augustine (hes from Hungary) and Josip (from Medj). So we cooked some dinner, drank some sturm and played some card games. Then we (and by we I mean they) had a crazy jam session with harmonicas, pianos, and guitars.I just took pictures and ate wiener schnitzel, like 5 pieces, it was delicious.

Then we had an awesome idea to climb up to the platform on the roof. So we got up there and saw the shadow of the bell tower in the clouds and decided to just go back to bed. It was a really smart idea too, because honestly I was creeped out a bit. Especially since the boys kept trying to scare me… its because they dont have to sleep all the way in the isolated, dark, creaky and creepy hallway alone… Its all good.

Sunday we went to Mass with the professors families and Augustine, John, and I went to a nearby lake with Fr. Ron and another priest from Slovakia (he lives in Siberia though). It was really nice to just relax and chill, watch the boys do stupid things like jump in the lake. now why I say this is stupid is because they jumped in the lake which the park manager said was 14-16 degrees Celsius…. thats 57-61 degrees Fahrenheit… I just sat and enjoyed being warm in the sun and took pictures and video, laughed when they realized how cold they were and ate ice cream. I also took in the beautiful scenery and made sure they didnt drown.

Then chatted with Fr Ron and he took us to Lakenhof, the ski town, which now is kinda deserted   so we got to go to the Church there and visit an Austrian cemetery. It was interesting to see thew difference in culture through visiting the cemetery. Our are so morbid, they are peaceful but morbid, but theirs are like gardens, they  bury the families in the same place. So there could’ve been 6-7 people buried under the same tombstone. They can do this because the caskets are simple wood and they dont embalm the bodies, so everything decays. Austrian tombstones are usually engraved with a Crucifix and they are all covered in planted flowers, which are always being gardened and such, so its truly beautiful. Personally, I think it capture the joy in death and honors the body more than we do in the States, which is kind of sad.

And then we got back and explored the town of Gaming, ate some delicious food and ice cream, biked, and ended our night eating schnitzel and watching the Lost City.

Basically the jest is, Austria = AMAZING ADVENTURE!

Praying for ya’ll!b

Posted by: Jil Yong | August 29, 2010

Vienna War Hymn

What can i say, to you, to you,

This one is for, TAMU, TAMU

Good bye to Franciscan University

So long to Gaming for the day and night

Good luck to travelin‘ ’round the capital

It is the city who makes it schnitzel right

‘when will you realize vienna waits for you?’

That is the song Billy sung so well

Sounds like bells!

So, Saint Michael said to Satan, yesterday

We’re gonna beat you all to Chigaroogarem

Chigaroogarem

Rough, Tough, Real stuff, Saint Michael’s Church…

Saw it just yesterday

Saw Hofburg Palace

Saw Miraculous Mary’s Pic

OPUS!  DEI!

Viennese wine is awesome
Vienna’s really quiet
Varsity’s Horns are Sawed Off,
Short! A!

oops, guess I couldn’t think of anything else to write 😉

Explanation, explanation, explanation…. Gooooooooooooooo explanation!!!

umm ok! So yesterday we left the comforts of Franciscan University Gaming Campus to travel and see Vienna for the day and night. Its about a 2 hour drive through the Alps to Vienna from campus. We arrived at about 10 am and began our day with Mass at a Church called the Kapuzinerkirche. It was built in 1632  and has since held the bodies of important members of the Habsburg Royal Family in the Kaisergruft or Imperial Crypt. Inside this crypt are the bodies of nearly 150 aristocrats, including 12 Emperors and 18 Empresses. Many of these tombs beautifully decorated and are on display. One of the most impressive is the tomb of Maria Theresa and Francix Stephen, the parents of Marie Antoinette. Today the crypts and Church itself are looked after by Capuchin friars, like they have been for centuries.

From there we went on a tour, led by our friar on campus, Fr. Brian. This tour showed us all the famous buildings such as Hofsburg Palace, the Rathaus (town hall), the inner courtyard, Heldenplatz, Museum Quarter, and the Josephplatz.

This is the Hofberg and Heldenplatz

The Rathaus and the Inner Courtyard!

These were awesome but our main stops were the 3 other Catholic Churches. The first one we stopped at was St Michaels. This Church is amazing! Its one of the oldest churches in Vienna and is suspected to date all the way back to the year 1220.  The Church has been left unchanged after many restorations since 1792! This wing is right off one of the wings of the  Hofburg, used to be the parish church of the Imperial Court. I actually noticed that Vienna as a whole has a huge devotion to St Michael… legitlyhes everywhere. In fact he kinda just chills on top of satan throughout different parts of the city, like its no big deal. He’s just like… “My names St. Michael, and I’m awesomely B.A.”

The next Church we stopped at was St Peters. It is in fact modeled after St Peters in the Vatican. Its speculated to be the oldest Church in Vienna. The first Church was built around the year 800 by Charlemange but was damaged in a fire, small repairs were made.  The Church continued to be active and celebrate Mass regularly, and in 1679 Leopold I vowed to make rebuild. So in 1701 construction began and the architecture went from medieval to Baroque. in 1733 it was finished and consecrated to the Trinity and later in 1970 Archbishop of Vienna Franz Cardinal Konig gave the Church to the priests of Opus Dei! The coolest part is even through renovations and rebuilding the Church continued to have Mass regularly, so its been the sight of the Celebration of Mass for over 1000 years!!! The Church also has several areas with art dedicated to several martyrs with there remains buried below. 🙂

Last one ( I promise) is the Cathedral of St Stephan. This is a world renowned cathedral and the center of the Catholic Church in Austria. It is beautiful! It was built in the early 11oo’s and has seen most of the citys history and battles. It is a Gothic  building and the stained glass windows are legitly beautiful. Whats cool is some of the ideas for the architecture was modeled from the Kartause here on campus! It has 18 Altars and 6 Chapels…Umm other fun facts  are that they have one of the largest bells in the world, it weighs around 2 tons and is still fully functional and it sounds beautiful.

Also during the Seige of Vienna in 1529 it served as the main center of defense for the entire city (coincidence… i think not!).  Also it was the meeting place for the resistance against the Nazi party during World War II and also the site of a demonstration against the Nazis (a memorial stands there). It was referred to by the resistance as Zero, Zero because of the symbology on the arch that meant “Oesterreich“, or Austria (this term was strictly verboten in WW2). And the last thing about this Church was that as you walk in not only do they have Perpetual Adoration BUT they have The Maria Pötsch Icon! This is a Byzantine icon of Mama Mary with the child Jesus.  The picture shows Mama pointing to the child (signifying “He is the way”) and the child holding a three-stemmed rose (symbolizing the Trinity) and wearing a prescient cross from his neck.  In 1696 the Mama was encountered shedding real tears from this image! It was so beautiful to pray before her and the tabernacle which sits right below her 🙂 She was so present and just being there and truly experiencing her beautiful feminine heart in new ways was amazing.

So after that we had Schnitzel in a restaurant with the school, and then we had free time where I explored a lot of the city including Parliament. Then I went to a cafe (because thats what vienna is famous for) and went to this Italian restaurant that had a basement for seating and it was all candlelit. It was beautiful and delicious, some very good wine too!

Thats pretty much it for Vienna…as far as here in Gaming. I jumped in a FREEZING cold creek, because of peer pressure… its tradition apparently. Some people including our Rd are pretty hardcore about it and go jumping in it every morning at 6:15… why? ill never know. And we went to the Keller (the bar/restaurant) at the Kartause Hotel and made a new drink called the STURMARRETI! They didnt know how to make an Amaretto sour so we mixed a very tart and sweet Austrian wine (best wine EVER! im bringing home like 3 bottles, because its only in Austria and also only in harvest for like a few wks out of the year) called Sturm and some Amaretto. Soooo good. Here’s some videos if it interests you at all.

PAX,

Jil

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