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Pilgrims in Italy

Augustinian pilgrims in Cassago (2006)

Augustinian pilgrims in Cassago (2006)






This ten day experience has been designed for members of the Merrimack College family. This includes Administrators, Alumni/ae, Faculty members, friends, members of the Board of Trustees and Augustinian Friars who request to participate. Its purpose is to educate participants about the centrality of the charism of Christian Community in the Augustinian tradition.

It fosters the building of a community among those who travel to Italy together visiting sites of interest and importance in the life of St. Augustine of Hippo and the history of the Augustinian Order, also known as the Augustinian Friars.

The Center also offers an Augustinian experience abroad for students known as A.S.P.A. (Amici, Studenti, Pellegrini Agostiniani or Augustinian Friends, Students and Pilgrims). They travel to San Gimignano, Rome, Ostia and Genezzano in Italy during Merrimack's spring break in early March of each academic year. Both groups spend a good part of the time together as a way of bringing several components of the Merrimack community together to share a common experience.

An integral part of A.S.P.A. is a service project which they do at Convento Sant'Agostino in San Gimignano.

The following pages are a kind of Vademecum for the journey. They provide helpful information about the Augustinian sites that are visited as well as the reasons why they have been selected as an integral part of the itinerary. Through monthly seminars that are held from September to February, the participants are prepared far the experience.

The readings, presentations and discussions offer the opportunity far the development and deepening of a sense of community prior to the travel and thus are both informative and formative. These pages can serve as a reminder and touchstone for the pilgrims as they actually visit each piace.

I dedicate this Vademecum to Kay Debrurro and Joe Kelley, my colleagues at the Center for Augustinian Study and Legacy, but most of all my cherished friends. Our five years of collaboration at the Center have been one of the great gifts of my Augustinian journey. I also remember the one hundred and three pilgrims who have been journeyed to Augustinian Italy on one of the five PELLEGRINAGGI sponsored by the Center as well as the many respected Italian friends we have met along the way in Milano, Cassago Brianza, Pavia, San Gimignano, Rosia, Lecceto, Monticiano, Roma, Ostia Antica, and Genazzano.

I would be remiss if I did not single out Fr. Brian Lowery, O.S.A., prior of the Augustinian community at San Gimignano, and Fr. Ian Wilson, O.S.A., a member of that community, as well as Fr. Bob Guessetto, O.S.A. and Fr. Joe Farrell, O.S.A., both members of the community at the International College of St. Monica in Rome.

My Augustinian brothers have provided invaluable assistance in planning and executing these pilgrimages. Kevin Salemme '88, Director of the Media Center at Merrimack and Chris Serino '04, a senior at the College, both good friends, have been invaluable in helping with the photos and layout of this booklet.

Last but not least, I must mention Fausto Bianco, our faithful bus driver for five years. When Augustine was wavering in his thoughts about the Manichaean sect of which he was a member far some nine years, he was assured that a gifted and intelligent Manichaean bishop was coming to Carthage. He could quickly answer any and all of the questions and doubts that Augustine might have regarding the sect. The bishop's Dame was Faustus.

On March 17, 2000, when the pilgrims of Pelligrinaggio I landed in Milan and collected their luggage, I went outside the airport to look far our bus driver. I was holding a sign which read: Merrimack College. No sooner had I begun to look when a tall, well dressed and well groomed Italian gentleman greet me with the words: "Sono Fausto. Buon Giorno!" (I am Faustus. Good Morning!) I knew immediately that we were in good hands.

My only hope is that those who read these pages will be assisted as they journey (or will be inspired to join one of the future trips) and that the experience will continue to foster and build a genuine understanding of Augustinian community at Merrimack College which, after all, is the goal of our search.



Rev. James A. Wenzel, O.S.A.

Coordinator for Spiritual and Educational Programs The Center far Augustinian Study and Legacy

Merrimack College, North Andover, MA