Autumn Reflections

Dominican University students at apple orchardEach autumn at Dominican, I am overcome by the colorful leaves, via determined vines, that cover much of the parking garage.  As the halfway point of the semester has passed, my adventure at this university of amazing possibilities continues.  I recently lost a well-loved member of my family, a man to whom I am indebted for the countless sacrifices he has made for me.  The religious sisters, faculty, staff and fellow students have shown me their love and support during this difficult time in my life.  Each day would not be the same without this Dominican community.  Reflecting on the past couple months, I will try to express how connections and blessings endure as a member of this community.

As the van pulled into the gravel parking area one mid-September weekend morning, I finished the paragraph I was reading about Fiesta as a metaphor for Latino/a religious experience (the name of a course I am taking).  After having an employee brief us, we set out toward the moment of shear anticipation.  I could hardly believe my eyes—rows upon rows of apple trees!  Apples on Oak is the first apple orchard I have visited as a young adult, if ever at all.  I loved the experience of test-tasting fallen apples and spending time with friends in the fresh open air.

As a semi-member of Nutrition Club, during a late September weekend morning, I joined my peers for brunch at the small Buzz Café in Oak Park.  This Chicagoland area is rich with hip, health-conscious shops and restaurants.  Following our time at the café, we took a short drive over to the Oak Park Farmers Market.  After browsing the entire market, my eyes finally caught sight of an onsite donut shop.  I enjoyed choosing buttery-fried goodness over leafy-green goodness.  As I waited for my peers to finish buying fresh produce and baked goods, I read a book about Catholic-Muslim cooperation for my senior theology paper (for the course Senior Integrating Seminar).

During the first week in November, the university community celebrates the heritage of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, a man close to my heart and that of the Sinsinawa sisters.  Our institutional founder, Fr. Sam grew up in northern Italy, a land of poetic opera ballads and authentic pizza.  Since his birthday is on November 4th, God rest his soul, we must pay respects as the spiritual descendants of Fr. Sam’s love for the Dominican way.  This year is the 150th anniversary of his passing from this life and into the mystery of God.

Dominican is a place where every member of the community is celebrated.  The Memorial Mass took place this past Sunday, in conjunction with All Souls and All Saints Days, when the recently and long deceased friends of Dominican University are honored.

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