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    Monday

    Autobiographical Corner The kids had Spring Break last week, so we took off on Wednesday for a quick tour of Franciscan University (a college visit for Jack (17)) and Pittsburgh. On the way, we stopped at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine, in Bellevue, Ohio, which is south of Cedar Point. I wanted to stop years ago, but I normally get to this area only on my way to Cedar Point with the kids, and they're usually not in a prayerful mood when we're less than an hour from the world's greatest ride amusement park. The Shrine is very neat . . . and free . . . and definitely worth the stop, even though two different GPS devices in our car failed us and we had to find it the old fashioned way (looking at a map and swearing a lot). The Shrine is Eastern Rite. It features a main chapel, lots of little chapels, the stations of the cross, and various statuary across a 126-acre parcel of land. It also has a gift shop (a "must" for any family with smaller children). We then drove to Steubenville, the Home of Dean Martin, the seventies funk rock group Wild Cherry, Franciscan University . . . and nothing else. The City is a dump. It was depressing just driving and looking around its downtown. But Franciscan University pretty much knocked our socks off. Regardless of whether Jack attends or not, we've decided to make it a regular target of our charitable donations. Consisting of nearly 3,000 students from every state in the union, it's uncompromisingly Catholic to the hilt. It exudes Catholic goodness. They've taken the virtues of hospitality, kindness, joy, peace, patience, and modesty, then instilled them across a college community of over 3,000 people: students, professors, administrators, kitchen staff. I was stunned. I wouldn't have thought such a thing possible, but that's exactly what Harvard-lawyer-turned-priest Fr. Scanlon pulled off after he reformed the (somewhat derelict) college back in the 1970s. And it's respected academically ("Franciscan University of Steubenville's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities (Midwest), 28"). We then traveled 45 minutes across West Virginia (the panhandle; it took ten minutes) to Pittsburgh. None of us had ever been there. As we emerged out of the mountain through the tunnel to the west of Pittsburgh, we were amazed at the beauty that is downtown Pittsburgh. I searched for a picture on the web that would capture what we saw, but I couldn't find one. (Note to photographers in Pittsburgh area: Get on U.S. 22 in late afternoon on a sunny day, go across the river, and turn around as you get near the mountain. Then snap a bunch of pictures. They'll be better than any Pittsburgh pics I was able to find on the web this morning.) We then spent the next 24 hours blitzing through as much of Pittsburgh as we could. We also took the amphibious "Ducky Tour," which was very cool. During the Tour, I learned that Pittsburgh had just recently completed its restoration. Back in the 1970s, the City was so polluted that you had to turn your car lights on at 2:00 in the afternoon, men couldn't wear white dress shirts outside without turning the shirts grimy-grey, and most of the buildings were black from all the soot. It's hard to believe that was the case. The City first eliminated (or greatly reduced) the air pollution, then it set about cleaning the place. The cleaning was completed about ten years ago, and now it's a beautiful place. Highly recommended. Pittsburgh pics from my iPhone:

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    Abbey-Roads
    Acts of the Apostasy
    After Abortion
    Aggie Catholics
    All Manner of Things
    Belinda’s Brain
    Bethune Catholic
    Betty Duffy
    Book Reviews and More
    Catholic Blogs
    Catholic Exchange
    Catholic Fire
    Charlotte Was Both
    Chesterton and Friends
    Crossroads
    Decent Films
    Digital Hairshirt
    Dyspeptic Mutterings
    Eric Scheske Writer’s Site
    EWTN
    Fathers of the Church
    First Principles
    Get Blogs
    Gilbert Magazine
    Godspy
    Happy Catholic
    Mark Shea
    Mere Comments
    Michelle Reitemeyer
    More Last Than Star
    National Catholic Register
    New Advent
    Phat Catholic
    Pillar and Fire
    Post Modern Papist
    PowerBlog
    Pro Ecclesia
    Quaffs and Quibbles
    Reasoned Audacity
    Reconnaissance of the Western Tradition
    Roman Catholic Info
    Ruri et Orbi
    Scheske at Catholic Exchange
    Scholium
    Shadow of Diogenes
    Signs of the Times: Salvo Blog
    Some Have Hats
    St. Blog’s Parish Blog Digger
    St. Blog’s Parish Directory
    St. James Journal
    St. Peter Canisius Apostolate
    Standing on My Head
    Stella Maris
    Stony Creek Digest
    Streams of Mercy
    Stupid Scholar
    Suicide of the West
    Summa Minutiae
    Taki
    The American Conservative
    The Blue Boar
    The Cafeteria is Closed
    The Crescat
    The Curt Jester
    The Dawn Patrol
    The Drunken Dollar
    The Impractical Christian
    The Inn at the End of the World
    The Michiana Blawg
    The Muniment Room
    The Radical Academy
    The Reticulator
    The Saint Wannabe
    The Scratching Post
    The Snoring Scholar
    The Summa Mamas
    The Waffling Anglican
    The Western Confucian
    Things and Stuff
    Thursday Night Gumbo
    Uncovering Orthodoxy
    Victor Lams
    Video Meliora
    Vita Mea
    Vox Nova
    What's Wrong with the World
    With Both Hands
    Within the Garden
    Without Having Seen
    World Wide Words

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