Living in Rome for the past three weeks has been one of the best experiences of my life, and two Sundays ago made it even better because I was able to witness the canonization of Mother Teresa.
I had never been to the Vatican before, but it was always a place I wanted to visit. Now living in Rome it’s only a 30-minute walk from me! When one of my friends told me he had an extra ticket to the canonization, I more or less freaked out. The thought of being able to witness such an important historical event was so exciting.
The ceremony was set to begin at 10:30am on Sunday, and because we were advised by a priest when picking up our tickets, we started walking to the Vatican around 4:30am in order to arrive there by 5:00am. After waiting to go through two different security checkpoints, we finally got in at 7:30am. Seems early enough to be guaranteed a seat, right? Wrong. All of the seats were either taken or being reserved by other people, so we headed to the standing room area. It was there that we would wait 3 hours for mass to begin.
The ceremony was about 2 hours long, and roughly 5% of it was in English. We were given booklets that translated each part of the mass into English, but because it was so hot a lot of people were using them as fans (me included). Even though I was tired, hot, and confused a majority of the time, it was incredible seeing the thousands of people around me celebrating such a remarkable woman in such a beautiful place. Even though we didn’t get seats, we were extremely close to Pope Francis when he drove around to wave at everyone and it was amazing.
I made it back to my apartment at about 2:00pm and was completely exhausted, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am so thankful to be able to experience the culture and history of this beautiful city. From grabbing a cappuccino and croissant for breakfast, casually stumbling upon the Trevi Fountain or the Pantheon, or walking to the Vatican to attend mass, there is never a dull moment in Rome.
Nicole is a current student at Gustavus Adolphus College studying at John Cabot University, Italy during the Fall 2016 term.