From the Collections

Winter Wonderland in Rome

As the New Year at Maryknoll is ushered in by the ‘bomb cyclone’, we can be tempted to see the snow as annoying and burdensome. And though this may be true, we also remember that snow can be a beautiful surprise, the opportunity for a day off and the chance to see the world fresh and new. It may remind you of a snow day from school, an invigorating walk in the woods, or an evening cozied up by the fire with a good movie.

For the Maryknollers in Rome, snow was a rare treat, and the Fathers and Brothers enjoyed every minute of their chance at a real winter. On December 30, 1939, a surprise snow storm swept over Rome, taking the Maryknoller’s minds off of the dangers in Europe and troubles of wartime. The Collegio Maryknoll diarist could hardly believe his eyes that morning, and told of how much Rome enjoyed its winter wonderland.

We awoke to find ourselves practically snowed in… The Romans made a real Roman Holiday out of it. Groups of young people laughingly skiied down the main streets, as well as down the steps of St. Peter’s. Father Tomizawa and Brother Leo fabricated a snow man on the roof. Just as Father T. was taking a photo of the masterpiece, the clerical snow man’s flat hat blew off and down into the street. St. Joseph must have blown it off, since it was picked up by a poor beggar who was sadly in need of a new pair of shoes which were promptly supplied when he returned the hat.


So as we endure our snowy days, I hope we can hold onto some of the surprise and wonder winter can bring. May your New Year be just as remarkable as that Maryknoll Roman holiday years ago!

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