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From Rugby to Rome and back again

By Staff | Dec 17, 2010

Sister Jean Louise spent part of last Monday showing the 5th & 6th grade Little Flower students (her religion classes) the pictures of her trip to Rome. She lived in Rome for six weeks from May 30 through July 7. She had been to Rome in 1998 for four days, she said, but this trip was better. She could wander around the city looking at all the beauty when she had free time.

The Rugby Sister was sent to Rome to help organize and add to a library in the House of Studies of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). The house of studies is a place to stay when sisters from Orders in the U.S. go to Rome.

Sister Jean Louise is the librarian at the Little Flower School in Rugby. Her own education includes a background in English Education and Library Science. This year is her 11th year at Little Flower School.

When her provincial superior, Sister Donna, went to live at Hankinson, it left only one sister, Sister Genevieve, in Rugby. Sister Jean Louise was asked to go to Rugby and she agreed. She enjoys her work at Little Flower and she kept the students in mind as she travelled in Rome and took photos.

“There were statues of the apostles that were 12 feet high ” said Sister, in amazement

She visited many churches during her six-week stay. She had so many to choose from she could go to Mass in a different one every day. St. Susanna’s Church was considered the American church and Mass was said in English. At the church of St. John Lateran, she hugged a huge statue in the doorway. It was one of her favorite places to visit because of the 12′ statues and the beauty of the altars and all the decoration.

She saw ancient ruins, the Trevi Fountain, the beautiful cobblestone streets, the papal chair which she and others stumbled upon as they were touring the Lateran Basilica. She attended four papal events, including a rosary procession and the Vigil and Mass for the Feast of Saints Peter & Paul, the biggest holyday in Rome. She also toured several of the many churches and Basilicas. She saw the Pope at his apartment window when he came out to pray.

Sister Jean Louise loves to organize so she felt right at home working in the library in Rome. The Papal Foundation U.S.A. provided a grant to completely upgrade the Library of the Domus Sanctae Mariae Guadalupe in the house of studies. The library was expanded to serve the academic needs of the Sisters. Sister Jean Louise spent time classifying and cataloging all 1600 books in the library. Every librarian knows each book must be handled at least 10 times before it is ready to circulate. When she was done, the books all stood in neat and orderly rows.

In a plaque showing their gratitude, the following was read: “A warm expression of gratitude goes to Sister Jean Louise Schafer, O.S.F. of the Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen, North American Province, who spent six weeks at the Domus in order to classify and catalog every book and professionally organize the Library. We wholeheartedly thank Sister Jean Louise for graciously sharing with us her valuable time and expertise as a professional librarian to help us accomplish our long-desired goal for the Domus Library.” (In the United States the order is called the Franciscan Sisters of Hankinson where the provincial house is located.)

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