By: Jordan Otero
Those Franciscan University of Steubenville students who have been to Austria will be the first to tell you that a semester in Gaming is one full of many joys and blessings, but also many trials and lessons to be learned. In his second trip to the Gaming campus, the Rev. Daniel Pattee, T.O.R., couldn’t agree more.
“There is always purpose and meaning awaiting us,” he said. “The evil (in life) doesn’t out-do God’s purpose.”
On Sept. 25, 2012, Pattee was involved in a serious car accident just down the road from Kartause Mariathron, the 14th-century Carthusian monastery that Franciscan’s study abroad program calls home. He suffered injuries to the left side of his body — particularly his femur, which was broken in three places.
Now, nearly two months after the accident, Pattee is back at the Kartause and healing quickly. On Nov. 6, he received permission to begin putting weight on his left leg and has started physical therapy. And, in spite of this semester not going quite as he had planned, Pattee remains optimistic and grateful about the semester.
“In drawing close to the fragile line between life and death in this world, I have learned that life and death isn’t just simply by chance … (or) random, but there’s always purpose (and) meaning when someone passes over to the next world, or when someone remains,” said Pattee. “God is sovereign over life and death. There is purpose in why I have remained.”
Pattee will stay in Gaming until the end of the spring 2013 semester, giving him a grand total of three Austrian semesters to store under his belt; he was on the Gaming campus in 1996 in order to study German for his doctorate, to teach a class, and to help with Mass and confessions. Since then, he said, there have been some changes, but overall, the Gaming experience has been relatively unchanged.
“Different people (and) different faculty are here, so there’s been some changes but, for the most part, I think the program has stayed strong and vibrant through all the changes,” he said.
Pattee encouraged students to “broaden their horizons” and to take advantage of the “invaluable” study abroad opportunities that the University offers.
“There’s just no substitute for getting out of the little fishbowl of the United States and experiencing how the rest of the world lives,” he said with a chuckle.
He added that one thing he enjoys most about life at the Kartause is the unique “close-knit community we’re able to share in the midst of all of it.” Because of the smaller environment in Gaming, such as having just the main living area as opposed to several different dorm halls scattered around campus, he said, it’s easier to get to know one another.
Pattee also emphasized how much he enjoys working and interacting with the students at the university. He said that he does miss Steubenville — minus the frequent committee meetings — and is looking forward to being able to be back on campus.
“I so delight in helping students grow to be responsible adults, in life and in faith,” he said. “That’s the thing I most enjoy about being at the university — is that, especially as a friar, the way I can help form students and get them ready for faith and life once they graduate. I just enjoy that so much, I really do.”