Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The trip - part 2

     Our trip to Loretto, Pennsylvania, last Saturday saw us not only visiting the tomb of Father Demetrius Gallitzin (yesterday's post) outside of the Basilica of Saint Michael (I've included an interior view of the church), but also visiting the hallowed grounds of two other Religious Congregations.

     We visited the Monastery of St. Therese of Liseiux in Loretto, which since 1927 has been the home of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns.  A beautiful brick monastery (built, I believe, by Charles Schwab, whose summer home was in Loretto) that houses ten Women Religious who have dedicated themselves to "silence, solitude, community life, fidelity to cloister and the magisterium", this Carmel is set aside for contemplation and prayer.
The Sister extern explained what they were about and gave the group a glimpse into the life.  All were impressed and inspired by these women, but I did not hear many of our young girls express an interest in the lifestyle, as they went to their cell phones and electronics upon re-entering the bus.  Maybe the seed was planted.

      We also visited the campus of Saint Francis University of Pennsylvania, established in 1847 by the Third Order Regular Franciscans.  Not only is the campus of the University located in Loretto, but also their provincial headquarters and their local monastery of Friars.  I mentioned Charles Schwab earlier (he was one of the founders of Bethlehem Steel).  The TOR's purchased his property and mansion which is now part of their monastery, and established a beautiful campus and an excellent institution of higher learning.  Before university status, Saint Francis was known as the "College among the pines" because of its setting.  The TOR's of this Province serve in parishes, and lead two major schools of higher learning - Saint Francis and the University of Steubenville in Ohio.  While on campus, we visited the gardens of the mansion, celebrated Mass at the student chapel and had lunch at Torvian Dining Hall.

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