Happy Tears

Natalie Reynoso
February 3, 2014

It’s been an incredibly emotional week, but nonetheless, these last few days have also been filled with so much growth, laughter, and joy. For the past month, I have been participating in the IES Rome JTerm and taking a class entitled From Pontius Pilate to Theodosius: The Advent of Christianity. As part of this course we have spent as much time in the classroom as we have in this ancient city of Rome studying the beginnings of Christianity. This past Tuesday we went on our last field study to the Basilica di Santa Sabina, which is the mother church of the international Dominican Order of Preachers. Attached to the basilica is one of the order’s convents. We had the opportunity to see the layers of history that make up this location. Toward the end of our tour we were directed into a very small chapel. I immediately noticed the artwork on the ceiling, which made me feel like I was a small part of something so much bigger than myself. It felt like time had stopped for a minute, allowing me to appreciate the intricacy of what I was looking at. Our tour guide then shared with us that the exact chapel we were sitting in used to be St. Dominic’s bedroom and study space. Within seconds I could feel myself unsuccessfully fighting back tears. I can’t adequately explain what happened to me in that instant, but what I can say is that I felt incredibly humbled to be in the same space where one of the greatest saints once lived and prayed. Earlier that same day I visited the Pantheon and Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola, both of which were completely astounding and almost moved me to tears (again). This entire day was spiritually and emotionally exhausting, but I walked away from it so grateful that these experiences are happening to me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing (and feeling) and I still can’t.

As the JTerm comes to an end, I am forced to say goodbye to some of the most inspiring individuals that I have ever met. The young women that I have lived and studied with for the last month have challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and to live fearlessly. They have made made every single day since I’ve been here worth remembering. And I don’t think I have ever laughed and smiled so much in my life. I don’t know if I will ever see them again after this week, but they will always be part of this journey for me.

Ceiling of the Chapel Dedicated to St. Dominic/ St. Dominic's Bedroom Kathryn (IES Student) and I at JTerm Farewell Dinner My Suitemates for the JTerm

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Natalie Reynoso

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Natalie Maria Reynoso and I am currently a junior at Wheaton College, Norton, MA where I study religion and psychology. I am a passionate Catholic and an avid reader and writer. I have always loved writing because it provides me with a way to better understand the world and my place in it.</span></p>

2014 Spring
Home University:
Wheaton College (MA)
Religious Studies
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