Heather in Rome

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. - St. Augustine

Monday, October 31

Service and Taking Time to Relax

The last few days have been really nice to rejuvinate the soul, but before I get to that, I wanted to write about the service project I did a week ago. Yvonne, Reggie, Fr. Thierry, and I went to the Brothers of Charity (the male branch of Mother Teresa's group) and helped out in the afternoon. Yvonne and I peeled fruit and cut it up to make a fruit salad. It was good to have 1 on 1 time with her because we haven't had the opportunity to find out much about each other. Yvonne is from East Germany and we talked about the fall of the Berlin Wall and how that affected her life. It was only a week ago that I made the connection from her life to the events we read about in history books. Something that is far removed history for the young people of America is living history for Yvonne and part of her story.

Besides getting to know Yvonne better, the best part of the afternoon is when we served the 15 homeless men who live there. There was one guy who looked so sad. He didn't even acknowledge me or look up when I took his plate to fill it. Later the man in charge said Yvonne and I could eat if we wanted so we got our plates and started looking for a place to sit. Yvonne led us to the sad man and we sat with him. He started smiling and calling Yvonne beautiful and telling her all the words he knew in German. It was moving for me because something as simple as sitting with him lifted his spirits and made him happy for a night. We have been hearing that whenever we do something for the poor, we do it for Jesus (Mt 25:37-40) so we made Jesus smile.

Now to relaxation time. Thursday the group split by sexes and we ladies went to the Schoenstatt Sanctuary, a shrine basically that had flowers and grass and a small chapel that would be perfect in a German village. We talked a bit about womanhood and the models in our lives. It was good girl bonding time and of course there was chocolate.

Oh, yeah, let me comment on breakfast. After a month of straw-berry jelly spread on white bread with hard crust for breakfast, what we had for breakfast was heavenly. Cornettos (smaller sweetened croussiants), chocolate cream (like nutella) spread inside of it, bananas, hot chocolate. Ah, it was soooooo good.

After the breakfast and lunch with chocolate, we left in the afternoon to Pamphili Park for a little toss of the frisbee. Twice it was thrown into a pond/fountain and two of our girls hiked up their skirts and waded up to their thighs in the water to get the frisbee. As if that wasn't funny enough, the frisbee got thrown into a tree that was behind a 9-10 foot high wall. Before I knew it, two girls had their hands clasped for me to put my feet in to lift me up the wall. With their hands at their waists, I was barely reaching the top of the wall, but with the foliage and the vines from ivy, I couldn't get a handhold. So I started grabbing branches, vines, anything I could to pull myself up. After about a minute maybe of me pulling and them pushing and laughing and my shoving my face into the plants, I finally got to the top and rescued the frisbee. Everyone was laughing and Italians passing by stopped to see what was causing all the commotion. People took pictures so I'll update this post when I get them.

Now today, two days later, is a free day. Those don't come around often so I'm enjoying it. I slept in until 9 am (hard to believe that that counts as sleeping in considering that was my normal time to get up last year) and took my time at breakfast to chat with the ladies. Then I ran to Pamphili Park (it's becoming my favorite free time place) and once I got there, I strolled through the park. It's so big so everytime I go I head somewhere new. I found a path that reminded me of the San Bernardino mountains, trees lining both sides and shading the leaf-covered path. It was wonderful. I get all dreamy eyed just thinking about it. I sat down against a tree off the trail and wrote a letter. Then I walked around some more and sat on a bench near old timers playing bocce ball and wrote a postcard to the sounds of happy children at a play ground. Man, let me tell you. Sometimes the citiness of Rome gets to me, the graffeti, the loud street we're on, the exhaust from the cars, but all I have to do is walk in Pamphili and I find refuge, my haven of peace. My soul is joyful and content.


  • At 2:01 AM, Anonymous Randi said…

    Well - girly - I imagine Heaven will be somewhat like the park you visit. It sounds comforting and beautiful. You are in my thoughts and prayers often. I hope maybe your spiritual growth will rub off when i see you again!! We'll have to litterally give it a try!!!! ok just kidding. I'd love to send you a care package if I can. Is there anything you need (rather want) that you don't want to waste money on or you can't buy!! Hudson got his first tooth and can just about sit up - he's growing so fast!! I'll write soon. Is this the best way for you to get notes or should I just email you directly? Anywhooo - keep enjoying yourself and love always!!!

  • At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Aunt Sally and Uncle Bob
    Really have enjoyed your blog. We are so proud of you and love you lots. Your Mom and Dad and Eddie here Sunday for "Octoberfest". Unc made a wonderful dinner, only as he can do. Take good care and we look forward to reading more as the days and months go by. Love to you.

  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger The Michael said…

    Hello Heather,
    The way you describe the food makes me hungry. Sounds like this time is what you hoped it would be. God bless.


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