Christendom Goes to Spain
September 9, 2002
Under the guidance of Christendom Professors Dr. Jonathan Reyes and Dr. Christopher Blum, 40 people participated in Christendoms Study Abroad Program: Christendom in Spain.
From May 26 to June 15, the group traveled throughout Portugal and Spain, beginning in Fatima and visiting such great Spanish cities as Avila, Toledo, Segovia, Burgos, Madrid, and Salamanca.
The directed tour included lectures on Spanish cultural and political history. The participants were able to read one of the greatest plays of the Spanish Golden Age of Literature beneath the Roman and medieval walls of Avila. They viewed the works of Velasquez, El Greco, and Murillo at the Prado Art Museum in Madrid, and saw the Valle de los Caidos, the great monument built by Francisco Franco to honor the Spanish Civil War dead. They attended Mass in the Incarnacion Monastery, where St. John of the Cross heard St. Teresa of Avilas confessions, and they spent a night in the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca, the greatest and oldest university town in Spain.
The trip was not simply a religious pilgrimage, but was rather a pilgrimage for the sake of Catholic culture, said Dr. Johnathan Reyes. At the heart of the trip, as at the heart of Catholic culture, was the Catholic Faith itself, experienced in the Cathedrals, monasteries, graves, Fatima, and so many side shrines, iconography, and deep symbolism that was present everywhere we went.
Built on this Faith was also the great legend of the noble El Cid, and the monastic palace of El Escorial constructed by Philip II. All of this whispered to the group of the power and majesty of two thousand years of passionate history and culture that must continue today in them. Being there, they could see how the glory of the Catholic Faith and the beauty of truth and sainthood can permeate a society, and how it can and should permeate society today.
The history in those two countries overwhelmed me. The entire trip was exciting every day because every place that we visited provided a totally new experience of culture and beauty. It was my first time going to Europe, and Portugal and Spain gave me an incredible introduction to the history of the modern world and the Catholic Faith that we enjoy here in the States, remarked Lauren McCool, a Christendom College junior from Alpharetta, GA.
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