On Wednesday, September 13th, the students of the JSB Auburn Abroad in Italy had the awesome opportunity to attend the Papal Audience. This day was especially important to me because I have been raised Catholic my whole life. To have been able to visit the Vatican City, let alone see the Pope, was such a blessing. We arrived in Vatican City early enough to beat the crowd, and we were fortunate to find seats to be able to see the Pope pass by in his Popemobile.
To start the event, groups and pilgrims from around the world were announced and welcomed. I was shocked (in a great way) when they called out “And welcome students from Auburn University representing the United States.” I couldn’t believe our group was recognized in Vatican City during a Papal event! I remember watching Pope Francis after he had been elected Pope in 2013 like it was yesterday, and to be within feet away from him, when he came through the audience, was life-changing. The picture below is my view of Pope Francis, and it shows how close he was to me. I will always remember this day and how beautiful it was to see him smile, wave, and even kiss little babies as he drove through the crowd.
Before this study abroad trip, I never imagined having the opportunity to attend the Papal Audience, and I am so thankful that I was there to experience it with such an amazing group of girls.