If you ask any college student today, I am sure they would tell you that they have, at some point, been encouraged to pursue a summer internship. As a junior at the University of Notre Dame, it’s been impressed upon me by professors, peers, and professionals alike that the key word on every job application and resume is experience. This spring, I dutifully began applying for internships, assuming that I would end up making copies in a small, dank cubicle but would at least have a position. I received word that I had been chosen for an intern position with the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums and, having always wanted to live in Rome, eagerly accepted. Little did I know, as I packed up and prepared to fly to the Eternal City, that this internship was going to be unlike anything I expected. Sure enough, as I write this reflection 12 weeks later, I am floored when I think of all the fascinating people I have encountered and the incredible experiences I have had during my time with the Patrons of the Arts.
Working in Vatican City is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Every morning, as I walk along the corridors of the apostolic palace, I am humbled when I consider the great men and women of the Church who have walked there before me. Not only is it a truly fascinating place when considering its extensive history, but it is also stunningly beautiful. From my walk into work past St. Peter’s Basilica and through the Vatican Museums, to the hours spent in the office with a panoramic view of Rome, I cannot turn my head without seeing a beautiful piece of art or architecture. I have gained such an appreciation for art since I arrived in Rome. Through spending time in the museums, writing articles about various projects, and watching restoration teams in action, I have come to appreciate how precious each piece is and how important the support of the Patrons community is in ensuring that this artwork be preserved. Hearing about Michelangelo’s technique during a private viewing of the Sistine Chapel, or seeing restorers remove layers of grime to reveal the underlying vivid colors in the Borgia Apartments – these are the unforgettable experiences that could never be duplicated elsewhere.
In this position I have met Patrons from all over the world – lawyers, bankers, journalists, professors, and many others who are united in a common passion for art. Since I hope to one day work in an international setting, I really value the professional guidance given to me by the staff of the Patrons office. Because of their coaching, I was able to learn a lot about establishing and maintaining professional international relationships. I wrote and edited many of the publications being disseminated to various Patrons and Chapters this summer, and I learned so much from the staff here about translating, editing, and writing.
I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to intern with this organization over the last 12 weeks. I gained a wealth of professional experience as was promised me by all of my professors and advisors. More than that, however, I am coming away from this summer with reinvigorated passion for faith and the arts. This has certainly been the most memorable summer, and I will always be so grateful to the Patrons of the Arts for making it possible. Thanks especially to Carolina, Chiara, Sara, Romina, Maddie, and Fr. Mark for all you did to welcome me to the Patrons office this summer. It was a truly incredible experience!