The Ramonat Seminar: Arrivederci!

All good things must come to an end! The image above is from Fabiola (1918) when the titular character is baptized in the end. I thought it fitting to wrap up Fabiola’s story with the second half of her legacy in film. As I’ll be studying in Rome next year, I looked to the very academic source of Italian for Dummies for help to say goodbye. I was told arrivederci means goodbye, as well as Ciao! Ciao! It was tough writing a 25+ page paper but, I am happy to summarize my findings below.

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The Ramonat Seminar: Defeat

My experience receiving feedback on the first draft was smooth enough but, actually implementing said feedback has been a challenge. I’m overwhelmed as the semester draws to a close, as other assignments pile up with this paper still looming in the distance. Similar to Saint Sebastian as he was portrayed in Revolt of the Slaves (1960), pictured above, my Professor’s comments felt like I was going toe to toe with a formidable foe! The sense of apathy I’m feeling towards my paper is probably why it was so difficult to go back and revise. Nevertheless, I buckled down and hammered out a second draft and will undergo the process yet again very soon.

One of the biggest areas of struggle for me was revising the unfinished sections, namely Fabiola’s Legacy Through Text (combining the novels and plays surrounding Wiseman’s novel), and Fabiola’s Legacy Through Film (I just finished the last movie Fabiola; or, The Fighting Gladiator (1949) a week ago as I needed the version with English subtitles). Compared to the rest of my revision process, which was more or less just grammatical and clarification issues, these two sections gave me the most trouble for two main reasons: I feel like I’m not doing them justice, and I don’t have the language to talk about some elements.

For the text portion, with Fabiola itself clocking in at 600+ pages, I simply didn’t have the time to do any significant literary analysis of Callista, Hypatia, Two Plays, and Fabiola’s Sisters as well. While that’s obviously not expected as my focus is on the original text, I feel as though anyone reading through will have a lot of questions I can’t fit into the paper. Having already cut some text such as outside reviews, and a retelling, I’m starting to think I should have done the paper on Fabiola and (maybe) one other text, so I could more accurately capture what’s going on. The movie section is outside of my realm altogether. While I’m an avid movie buff, I don’t have any academic language to discuss these films without it coming down to “here’s a picture and this is what happened.” Even discussing something as simple as the choice of actress, the musical score, or the historical context surrounding a film could be papers in of themselves.

Another issue my Professor brought to my attention is the lack of secondary sources I have to back up, or and clarify some statements I make. For all the notes I took on the original text itself, I don’t feel like I did my best in that area either. Overall, if I were to take on something like this paper again, I’d stick to what I know best (literary analysis) and something like one other primary source. Trying to tackle such different formats all at once was a little much as a sophomore who’s never written this much or and so formally.

Despite these worries, I still know everything will be okay. I just have to buckle down with the rest of my assignments and do my very best till the final version is out of my hands. Now it’s time to rebuild! Hopefully, when I post my last blog assignment, my paper can be something I’m proud of rather than a source of anxiety and regret.

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The Ramonat Seminar: Catholic Fiction in the 19th Century

Hello everyone! I hope your new year was wonderful, and your holidays festive. You can view a full outline of what I and my cohort will be doing for the Ramonat Seminar this semester here.

Now, I come to the purpose of this blog post. Since reading a book entitled Faithful Passages: American Catholicism in Literary Culture, 1844–1931 by James Emmett Ryan (containing Catholic authors such as Jedediah (or Jedidiah) Vincent Huntington, Anna Hanson Dorsey & Mary Anne Sadlier), I’ve been really hooked on the idea of Catholic lit. Seeing as I’m a writer and am going to school so that I can write full time in the future, it’s no surprise this topic interests me so much! I’m a big fan of typography and book cover design, so used one version for Flowers of Love and Memory found below for the header image.

That all said, I’ve decided to study Catholic fiction literature, roughly around the time period spanning 1850 to 1890. I have not decided if I will do a selection of novels (which I’m leaning towards but would limit how many I can realistically read and analysis fully), or a combination of short stories and poetry (which I have found some examples of already). But, this broadly defined research topic brings up many questions still.

 

Flowers of Love and Memory

By: Mrs. Anna H. Dorsey

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The Ramonat Seminar: Final Reflection (Fall 2015)

 

Introduction

What Has Made

Chicago Catholicism Distinctive?

21st Century Perspective

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The Ramonat Seminar #1: Urban Religion and Identity

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When I signed up for the inaugural year of the Ramonat Seminar, here at LUC, I didn’t imagine it would shape up in the ways it has so far. Granted, I’ve only been in class for a week now having attended two sessions. Nevertheless, my mind had created a false image of what this course will (hopefully) offer, and I can’t say I’m not happy about that!

The full title of the course (Ramonat Seminar: Immigrant Catholics and the Making of Nineteenth-Century Chicago) is all at once a mouthful and straightforward. I believed we’d be solely tracking the rise of Catholic immigration (from the Polish, Italians, and so on) in Chicago point blank. However, I’ve been challenged to throw into this equation my definition of what religion means in an urban setting, and how my various identities have impacted my reading of this phenomenon.

Being a young, Protestant, African-American female from the East coast, having grown up in the depths of suburbia, my perceptions on what it means to be an immigrant Catholic in the city is largely jaded and filled with conclusions fed to me from my youth. Despite Loyola being a Jesuit Catholic University by nature, I have little to no connection with that heritage and rather came for the scenery and pockets of diversity I found in a predominantly white institution. I’m very involved on campus, but at heart, I’m an introvert that prefers to cozy up with a good book then a night out.

With all that said, my knowledge of Catholicism is limited to my theology classes, mass media, close friends, and Saint James Saint John elementary school in the distant past. The city of Chicago has been mediated to me through tourist visits, weekends at mass attractions, and the constant stream of violence on the news. How then, with my own biases, am I to understand the people, places and events we will be covering in this class? For that, again, I have to turn to the authors presented to me and draw upon what I’ve been taught and have experienced “Urban Religion” to be in a general Christian sense.

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