I had a teacher in high school that told us that to find a soul mate we would have to develop a soul. I never really put much thought into what that really meant but somehow it has stuck with me. The six weeks I spent in the L’Arche Bologna community have ignited something within me. A yearning to pass along the love and joy I have experienced.
This experience has changed my life. I see things differently and I see a change within myself. I am back in the States and still need time to reflect about what this experience means, but I know already how it has made an incredible difference in my thoughts and hopefully my actions.
With tears rushing down my face I left a place that will forever be a home. I am sad but I am also satisfied. I am at peace with my time there, with all the challenges and frustrations, with all the lessons I have learned and that I will continue to learn for the rest of my life. I am still in awe of the lessons in love and the overwhelming joy I have in my heart.
In the past 8 weeks I have had mass in the Tomb of Saint Peter, attended a Papal Audience, been to the Pope’s Sunday Angelus, backpacked through Rome, Siena, Assisi, Venice, Ravenna and Bologna. I have lived in the L’Arca Bologna community for six weeks learning about how to offer my insecurities to share in the burdens of another. I have learned about friendship, and what it truly means to love another. I have experienced extreme sadness, but also profound joy. On my last morning I watched the sky lighten while sitting in the train station as I began my journey back home. How lucky I am to have not only a community that is so hard to say goodbye to, but also a country. This country has a special place in my heart. It has a special place in my soul.
I offer extreme gratitude to the Moreau Center for giving me the opportunity to represent our UP community in Bologna and I give sincere appreciation to the L’Arcobaleno community for welcoming me, loving me, and inspiring me. Thank you for taking the time to read about my experiences, I didn’t do it justice but I hope you enjoyed a look inside this beautiful community.