Returned to Loyola House last night after an eventful four-day trek covering much of the Midwest. We're basically only home for a day, as tomorrow we all ship out again for another novitiate experiment - "pilgrimage," which for me will mean a five-day stay at Marytown
, a Franciscan shrine near Chicago; I'll have details on this experience when I return. In the interim, here's some scattered thoughts on my trip back from Denver.
I really liked St. Louis, and was especially impressed with the beautiful campus of Saint Louis University
. Sunday Mass at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church
on the SLU campus was a superlative experience, with excellent liturgy and music and a fine homily from noted philosopher, frequent America
contributor and Following Christ in a Consumer Society
author Father John Kavanaugh
. After Mass my traveling companions and I took a look at the eclectic and exhaustive Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions
in the Saint Louis University Museum of Art
(SLUMA). The Jesuit artifacts at SLUMA represent the nucleus of what used to be the Museum of the Western Jesuit Missions
at the old Missouri Province novitiate in the St. Louis suburb of Florissant. Though I would've enjoyed seeing the Jesuit missions collection in the richly evocative setting of the old novitiate, SLU seems to be doing a fine job curating the stuff. If you're ever in St. Louis and want to see loads of 19th century Jesuitica, stop by SLUMA.
On Monday, my traveling companions Jake Martin, Jim Shea and I drove through more of Indiana than any of us had previously seen - which may strike some readers as ironic, given that I lived in Indiana for three years. St. Meinrad Archabbey
was every bit as impressive as I had expected, though unfortunately our schedule was such that we weren't able to attend any of the monastic offices in the abbey church. While in the area we took the opportunity to visit with some female Benedictines as well - the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana
. The Sisters offered a very warm welcome, and their imposing motherhouse (with a dome visible for miles around) gives stately St. Meinrad a run for its money. Due to limitations of time we weren't able to make it to West Baden as intended, but we did cross a street named "Baden Strasse" on our way through heavily German-American Jasper
(focal point of the upcoming Jasper Strassenfest
, evidently an annual event). We had a nice dinner at the Terre Haute-area home of our fellow novice Mike Singhurse - an event that, believe it or not, is going to be written up in the local paper; hopefully I'll have a link to the story when it's available online.
We spent Monday night and Tuesday morning at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School
in Indianapolis. Before this trip Brebeuf was the only one of the five Chi Prov high schools that I hadn't seen, and I came away from the visit with a very positive first impression. Reading Tuesday's Indianapolis Star
, I came across this story
reporting the apparent resolution of a long-running political battle over the question of what time zone Indiana should be in. Given that much of Indiana lies in the cultural and economic orbit of Chicago, I can understand why many Hoosiers would want the state to observe Central Standard Time. That said, it's hard not to find a worrying anti-East Coast bias in a headline like "N.Y. time for most of us"; the Eastern Time Zone also happens to include redoubtable Midwestern burgs like Kalamazoo and Toledo, but the Star
chooses to go for a starker geographic and social contrast. For my part, I'm sad about about the now-foreseeable demise of "Indiana East Time," the miniature time zone in which much of Indiana - including South Bend - now finds itself. Observing Indiana East Time essentially means not observing Daylight Savings, with the result of effectively spending half the year in the Eastern Time Zone and the other half in Central. Some of my classmates at Notre Dame used to complain that IET made it difficult to figure out exactly what time it was in South Bend relative to the time in various points East and West. I always liked IET, chiefly because it meant I never had to adjust the time on my alarm clock or wristwatch. While Indiana's shift in time zones represents some form of progress, with the loss of the idiosyncratic IET life in Indiana will undoubtedly become a little less unique. AMDG.