That trip changed my life in several ways.
From the moment we began walking around Rome, I felt tangibly, palpaply connected with my Catholic faith in a way that seems to grow stronger with each passing month. I feel like a part of me now lives there permanently, in its old churches, in St. Peter's, in the Vatican museum. I feel sure that I'll go back someday, drawn by the saints and angels who watch over us all from that golden city.
I also grew in a important personal way in being one of the leaders of the group of fourteen students. I had been teaching for 20 years, but something clicked on that trip that I can't quite explain. Maybe it was the unique blend of just the right group of people and experiences, but I finally liked who I was on that trip. I saw myself differently and was able to break out of some kind of personal rut I found myself in back then.
Finally, the trip renewed my marriage, even though my wife did not go along. I can't get into all the details of how that happened, but it probably had a lot to do with how I saw myself differently. I treated her differently when I got back, something she noticed right away and very much appreciated. I decided the next time I go back, she is coming with me.