With those three, thrilling, wonderful words, the last lecturer ended the final presentation of Studium XXVIII della Congegazione delle Cause dei Santi. Last evening, we marked the occasion as a class with a final gathering on the Urbaniana roof as dusk fell over the Eternal City. (The picture, taken from there is of the Piazza della Rovere and the Ponte Principe Amadeo d"Aosta at the foot of the hill - the same bridge I have hurried across each evening at the end of class to catch my bus home to Santa Susanna).
It was exactly two months ago today that the course conducted by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints began. January 9 – March 9 is really a very short time in a person’s lifespan, and it has gone by predictably quickly. A lot of important information – theological, historical, and juridical – has been packed into these 2 months. My final exam – one week away – will test whether and how well I have assimilated the material. No point tempting Providence by making predictions!
Back on New Year’s Day, I admitted to experiencing more than a little anxiety – as I tried to prepare myself for a multitude of physical, emotional, intellectual, and linguistic challenges, none of which I felt fully ready for. Admittedly, all transitions are stressful – and few more so than being bounced around from one place to another at an age when most people are preparing to retire!
That said, it’s been a wonderful two months. Living here at the heart of the Church, in Peter’s City, surrounded by the relics of the apostles and martyrs and inspired by their memory, has been a real blessing and a great gift, one for which I am truly grateful.