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Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, Experiences Firsthand the Joy and Excitement of the Papal Announcement
Albany-Province Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet Joan Lescinski, president of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, was in Rome Wednesday, March 13, with a group of alumni from St. Ambrose. Sister Joan headed to St. Peter’s Square when she heard the bells ringing! The following is her description of the moment in history!
I found an internet cafe today, and I wanted to let you know what happened yesterday evening. I went to the Square when I heard the bells begin to chime all over Rome. I knew that was a sign that there was WHITE SMOKE; so I went to the Square to join the thousands already there. Our alumni group was there, but I had no way to meet up with them, alas! I did not take anything, even my camera, because I figured what with the crush it would be the perfect venue for pick pockets!
So, I do not have any pictures, but the story is great.
I can tell you that it was incredibly exciting to be among the thousands who packed the square and spilled down the Via di Conciliazione (where I was) with press and people from all over the world. Flags and languages of every country were flying about, and we erupted into a giant roar when finally they announced who it was and what his name would be. When Pope Francesco I finally appeared on the balcony, the place went wild.
He had an incredibly calming and gentle presence, and I was deeply touched that, even before he gave us that first papal blessing, he led us in prayers that all of us knew: the Our Father and the Hail Mary. I heard multiple languages reciting the prayers and I did so in English, and it gave me a stunning sense of the universality of the Church that people from every land in the world were represented in that Square. And we were singing, cheering and praying together far beyond any barriers that language or nationality might have kept us apart in other circumstances. And when he asked us to pray in silence, all of you were in that prayer within me.
And, how gently and simply he bid us all a good night and wish for rest before he turned and left. I imagined how fatigued he must have been at that moment, but his wish was for our rest.
Overall, I came away with an extraordinary sense that something historic had happened, and we were deeply privileged to have been there to witness it. The first Pope from the Western Hemisphere speaks volumes about the Church today.
So, an amazing experience, and a great privilege that we all could be there for that moment!”