22 June 2007

The ends justify the meanness

I was out with the kids today and came across another bumper sticker. Maybe you've already seen it. Sometimes it takes awhile for things to move into our part of the country, so I might be behind times. But, it seems that

has been replaced with

Machiavelli always reminds me of the class I took at St. Thomas from Father Welzbacher. It was called, "Sin and Sinners in Dante's Purgatory." Everyone in the class had to take one of the cantos and do a presentation on it, then sit in the front of the class and be grilled by Father Welzbacher.

I can't, for the life of me, remember what canto I had. At the time, I lived in fear of Father Welzbacher. He ran a tight ship and I didn't want to disappoint. I especially didn't want him to think I was an idiot. If you didn't appear to know your subject very well and couldn't answer his questions, the longer you sat in front of the class and the more he grilled you. Hot seat is right.

Fortunately, I did OK on my presentation since he didn't interrupt, or have me clarify, or ask me any questions about the canto, while I was presenting. Then I sat in the dreaded chair, placed all alone in the front of the class. I was so nervous, I can't even remember the question he asked me!! I do remember the answer was Machiavelli. Which I got correct. Well, partly. I said Mach-a-velli to which he corrected me immediately with MACH-I-A-VELLI. Uh oh. A few demerits there. Then he asked me the work MachIavelli had written. The Prince. Then he asked me for a concise summation of the book. Ends justify the means. That was it. I was out of the hot seat like my pants were on fire!!

I had never read Machiavelli, either.

Thank goodness for priests like Father Welzbacher. He knows his stuff, can articulate what he knows and there's no foolin' him. It's one of my fondest college memories...at least now that it is way in the past, my college degree was printed and can't be rescinded!! At least, I don't think they can take it back.

The other thing this poorly catechised Cradle Catholic learned was the Memorare. Everyday, as soon as class started, we stood and said the Memorare. I had to learn it just to get through the class. It is now my favorite prayer. Thank you, Father, for learnin' me sumptin'.

BTW: For anyone familiar with UST, this was a J-term class. Others were taking stupid courses on soap operas (literally) and the like. No sympathy, I know, my suffering was self-imposed. What was I thinking???


Tony Sonnen said...

He is now the pastor at St. Johns on the east side of St. Paul. Great small parish - Carley Sonnen

swissmiss said...

Father Welzbacher had been at St. Agnes, where I attend, before heading over to St. John's. I miss his homilies and his presence. I have the link to his homilies at St. John's in my post. To be read while sitting down ;}

Terry Nelson said...

I would have loved to take a class from Welzbacher - I could listen to him for hours - what a brilliant man!

swissmiss said...

I was pretty much on my own in this class. There were a bunch of people who all were history majors, knew each other well and were "buds" of Father Welzbacher. I was an interloper, but really wanted to learn about Dante's Purgatory. Sadly, I don't remember much, of the class, of college, or of anything prior to having kids actually!