Posted on January 4, 2016
Dear Friends and family,
I'm writing you all from the Institute's house in Maria Engelport, where I have spent the good first half of my post-Christmas vacation, as well as sorting out my visa situation with my confrere Samuel Kubacki. Well, though it is a bit late, we are both legal Italian students! Thank you for your prayers, as it has been a stressful past few months.
I'm sorry I haven't been able to let you all know how things are going: the seminarians receive, during the regular semester, only those emails sent to [email protected]
with the seminarian's name as the subject. In any case, the seminary is quite an incredible place; truly, as Canon Stein said to us candidates over a year ago, "It's not the seminarians that make the seminary, but the seminary that makes the seminarians", and as Canon Poucin de Wouilt, prefect of first years, says often "Le seminaire est une ecole de saintete", that is, before all else, even before being a place of study, the seminary is a school of sanctity. Even in just a few months, you realize how incredibly well the seminary prepares you for the future ministry, which is why after seven years or more, our canons are models of holiness.
At the seminary, I have two charges: first, I am the aide for electricity in the "atelier", which I suppose best translates as "workshop". This means I spend most of my working hours changing lightbulbs and minor electrical repairs, since all the really big projects were done before my time. My second charge is the cave, as extraordinary aid. So, each Saturday during the work period I help fill bottles with our very own seminarian-made wine, making sure there is enough for the whole week (lunch and dinner, seven days, 60+ seminarians). Abbe Braun and Abbe Kenny also give me work to do in preserving the aging wine in barrells, all of which is very interesting; and contrary to popular belief, the cavists, I would say, drink less than everyone else, especially on feast days since we are the ones serving (we have to make sure everyone else is...ahem...happy). Being in the cave, by way, makes Institute seminary history: the number of non-French (Two Americans, no less!) outnumbers the number of French (One, Abbe Braun, who, granted, is the chef).
All in all, my seminary studies are great, and all is well, but all thanks to your prayers! Keep them coming; again, words of wisdom from Canon Stein, "we feel carried by them!"
I keep you all in my prayers. God Bless.
In Christo Rege,