In late May 2022, the 25th “Fanjeaux Seminar” took place in France after a hiatus of three years due to the pandemic. Twenty-nine students, faculty and staff spent nearly two weeks in the diocesan guest house, Notre Dame de L’Abbaye, outside of the cité in Carcassonne, a scenic site at the foot of the ramparts of the fortified city. An added plus is that Dominic celebrated Mass at the Abbaye in the lovely, twelfth century chapel.
We arrived as strangers and left as friends with some new, strong bonds. After more than two years of restricted gatherings, being together in learning, at meals, for prayers, in play, and on excursions cemented the joyous spirit of the group.
A French friar and Biblical scholar, Renaud Silly, OP, also accompanied the group and was our guide in Fanjeaux and Toulouse. Eight Dominican institutions of higher education (Dominican University, Dominican University of California, Albertus Magnus, Edgewood, Caldwell, Molloy, Mount St. Mary’s, St Thomas Aquinas) participated in learning about the medieval history heritage, spirit, and spirituality of St. Dominic and the Dominican Order. The pilgrimage included separate morning classes for students (led by Dr. Jenny La Monica from Molloy University) and for faculty/staff (by Colleen Mallon, OP, Mission San Jose) and afternoon excursions to heritage sites (such as, the cities of Toulouse and Albi, the monastery of Fontfroide, the prehistoric caves of Niaux, the mountain of Monsegur and, of course, the village of Fanjeaux and the monastery of the nuns at Prouille).
Nine students took the three-unit interdisciplinary medieval French art/history course. The director of the program is Catherine Muscente, Vice President, Office of Mission and Ministry at Molloy University. Other members of the coordinating team were: Trudi Goggin, Sue Kaszynski, and Patricia Dougherty, OP (San Rafael).
We are looking forward to next year’s program in early June 2023. For more information, contact the director at firstname.lastname@example.org.