I’ll be back

I have a conference this weekend, so life is pretty busy.  I even took a picture of my office today in the midst of it all- because I’m pretty sure if there’s a mess around, that means you’re busy.

Wow, now that I look at this picture, I realize it’s strangely familiar if you read my sister’s blog.  I didn’t even think of that when I took the picture.  I just thought it was a nice image of what my life was like lately.

I wish I had Sam standing in the middle of the mess, though.  I’d even change his diaper.

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A fascinating evening & a new President

Yesterday was the inauguration of the college’s new president, Sister Mary Sarah.  She’s been president since the summer, but we had a beautiful formal inauguration to coincide with the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (whose feast is actually tomorrow).   They let us off work at 12:30 (which was a great treat), so after lunch at Chick-fil-A with my friend Darcy, I headed over to my friend Liza’s house for a project – but more on that in a minute.

The Inauguration Mass was beautiful — the Sisters sang (all the best songs, like Pure and Lowly Virgin [Thaxted]) and there was all the right pomp and circumstance.  Present and processing in academic dress were representatives from other colleges, our own faculty, our Board of Directors, and our Presidential Advisory Council.   There were priests and deacons and four bishops — Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Coakley, Bishop Vasa, and Bishop Conley.

Our own bishop is in Rome for his ad limina visit, so Archbishop Chaput was the main celebrant and homilist, and then Father Brewer, our judicial vicar, received Sister’s oath of fidelity in place of Bishop Choby.  I couldn’t help but think what the non-Catholics must have thought when Sister took her oath — to pledge obedience and submission to the Catholic Church and the Magisterium– some Catholics would probably be uncomfortable with that!  But it was a beautiful moment.  During the entire liturgy I was so thankful for being an employee of such a great school.

Archbishop Chaput had a wonderful homily-  weaving together the readings of the Mass, the Feast of Thomas Aquinas, and Catholic education.  It was a beautifully catechetical homily, and you could tell he knew his “audience.”

Afterwards we celebrated with a reception, and I was able to see a lot of people I haven’t seen for awhile.  Beautiful liturgies should always be followed by great parties.

And every great party should include fascinators.  Liza  and I followed up our Christmas party fascinators with special-edition Inauguration fascinators.

Just like with the Christmas party, I was fine with feathers on my head-  until people looked at me.   Sitting next to Liza at Mass I was okay (I did wonder what Archbishop Chaput thought when I received Communion from him), but at the party when she wasn’t around, I had to hold my own in the fashion world.   But I just held my head high and realized if I wore it with confidence, people would just wish they were as awesome as me.  After awhile I forgot it was even there.  It wasn’t like I was wearing this.  Why can she pull that off?  Or can she?

One last random story — there is a young man on the Presidential Advisory Council who has been here all week, along with the president of Campion College, to meet with some of us at Aquinas as we plan the school’s future.  Daniel processed in with the rest of the PAC and immediately was the envy of everyone in the Cathedral — or at least those of us academics who also have a crazy sense of style.  His academic hood had fur.  Everyone else, even the men with their doctorates, looked like high schoolers next to him in his awesome hood.  I asked his wife afterwards where I needed to go to get some fur, and she informed me that I needed to get my B.A. at “Sydney Uni.”  (I love the way they talk…)  Daniel came up just then and I told him that I was having hood envy, and he laughed and said he actually will lose the fur when he completes his doctorate and confessed he would miss it.  It’s no wonder that when Daniel worked at Campion, he started a tradition of academic dress at Formal Hall once a week.  I would find every opportunity to wear that hood.  It’s also part of the B.A. hood at Cambridge, too.  Looks like I need to go back and get another B.A…

It was a wonderful evening.  The whole week has had little jewels of Catholic-academic-wonderfulness, between the meetings with Dr. Daintree and Daniel, the inauguration, and then the PAC meetings today, of which I got only a taste when I was invited to their luncheon.  It was a room full of pretty amazing people, that’s for sure.  I was once again reminded of how thankful I was to count myself part of an incredible place with an incredible future on the horizon!

retreat back to move forward

Earlier this week, Sister and I headed up to Lake Barkley in Kentucky for a regional meeting/conference/retreat for the catechetical leaders from eight surrounding dioceses.  Although we could only go up for two days, instead of the full four, it was wonderful to escape work for a bit- while still being refreshed in our mission as catechists.

It was a beautiful location.  I hadn’t really known what to expect, so my expectations were automatically exceeded.

There was a lodge with several hundred rooms, with each room having a private balcony overlooking Lake Barkley.  The rooms were very rustic, as you would expect, with vaulted wood ceilings, soft lighting and wood and stone everywhere.

The “Lodge” was actually a covered walkway outside with little bridges to our individual rooms.  Then the walkway led to a large building with a restaurant, game room, etc.

Our first evening, we had a little visitor below our rooms:

The next morning after Mass, I skipped out of the breakout sessions and spent the morning reading and walking by the lake.  We were blessed with beautiful weather.

Here you can sort of see how the Lodge is built as a U:

That afternoon, there was an optional boat ride on a house boat.  There’s something incredibly relaxing about being surrounded by water.

Bishop Steib of Memphis seemed to enjoy the relaxing trip, too:

I don’t know if you can see it in this picture above, but there’s a nest on top of this tall marker — during the flood in May, you could drive past this in a fishing boat (not to mention the double-decker house boat we were in) and look down into the nest.  When I heard that, I got chills– in the middle of a 60,000 acre lake, imagining the water level that high, the water that would be present for that to be possible, the damage that water would do in Nashville… it really hit home.

It was a beautiful, relaxing, rejuvenating few days.  Not only did I have much-needed quiet, personal time, it was also fun to spend time with everyone, like the local DREs.  I knew many of them from our classes or from the DRE meetings, but it was fun to get to know them better over dinner, drinks, or on a boat ride. I was the youngest person there, but that generally doesn’t bother me too much.  We all have the same mission, and when the mission is as hard as it is, it’s important to support each other.

Good times.

morale boost

My place of work has been undergoing office moves, construction, changes, etc over the past few months — almost a year, actually.  As a treat the administration gave us a jeans day today to thank us for our patience.

I suppose some of my readers get to wear jeans all the time to work.  Or perhaps you have casual Friday.

But here, we’re hard core.  Skirts.  Ties.  The whole nine yards.  So the jeans day was quite a treat.

And you can tell — everyone is laughing, smiling, passing out cookies. 

It’s a good day.

hangin’ out at work


This guy was hanging out at work a few weeks ago.  One of my friends was coming to see me in my building (that’s what it’s called.  Joan’s building), and saw him on the outside wall of the main building.  She came in and said, “There’s a dinosaur outside.”

We were afraid to get close, and it really did look prehistoric.  But once we got close, we realized it was a moth.

Note: picture is pretty close to actual size… He might have even been a tad bigger.

whoops.

I woke up this morning and rolled over in bed, in my sleepy thought sort of wondering why it was light in my room and why I wasn’t so tired if it was pre-6am.

I picked up my phone off my nightstand to see how many hours of sleep I had left.  It isn’t odd for me to wake up at 3 or 4, and I like realizing I have a couple more hours to stay in my nice warm bed.

My clock said 8:16.

Whoops.

I guess that’s what happens when you forget to set your alarm the night before.  It’s a good thing I have an understanding boss.