Looking back on these two semesters of class feels a bit like a rollercoaster for me. Please bear with me as I explain my long journey below:
Throughout the first month or so of classes of the Ramonat Seminar, I was unsure if I had made the right choice, and I truly wasn’t sure if this research was really something that I could get invested in. Growing up, I had always gone to Catholic school, and I had been raised in a pretty strict Catholic tradition. We had never learned about the more radical, political aspects of Catholicism. I did not even know the words “radical” and “Catholic” could go together until we dove deep into these concepts with Ruby and Dr. Shermer.
Then, we started talking about Father Berrigan, radical Catholic nuns who marched in Selma, the Catholic vote beginning from Roe v. Wade, we went to mass at St. Sabina’s where we got to experience a warm and welcoming church, and we went to the Women and Leadership archives, where I got to open up a box in the Patty Crowley Papers. This class exposed me to concepts and experiences that I had not thought were possible. I had always had a preconceived notion of a Catholic church that was unwelcoming, politically right, and unwelcome to any sort of radicalism. This class truly changed my perception, and I could not be more thankful for all of the knowledge I’ve gained!
Writing this final paper has probably been one of the most difficult tasks of my undergraduate career as of yet. I learned so many new things about myself as well as Patty Crowley, who I hope will always serve as a role model for me. Writing a 25-30 page historical research paper is not easy, and I had never even imagined myself doing that before taking this class. Now that I’ve done it, though, I honestly can’t wait for the next one. Being able to dive so deeply into a research topic that was so personally interesting to me was honestly so cool.
I think the best feeling, though, was presenting my research at the final Symposium this past weekend. It felt so good to have my parents and loved ones there, and being able to show them what I have been working on all semester was worth all of the sleepless nights and late night taco bell runs. They were genuinely interested in my research, and were so proud and excited about what I had done. It was also so incredible to see my classmates’ presentations, and I’m so endlessly proud of Kathleen for winning best paper! Her paper was really unique, and I learned so much about the rich culture of New Orleans in reading it. I cannot wait to see where she goes in the future.
Looking back on the class, we’ve all had some pretty special experiences, and even made a few new friends along the way. I’m so thankful to both Ruby and Dr. Shermer for all of their hard work planning lessons, going on trips with us, and assisting us with our research. I will definitely look back on this experience fondly, and I can’t wait to continue with my research in the future and do all sorts of fun new projects.