August 2013 Archives

Golf Blog: Moritz Ackerhans

Hello Blue Demons Fans,

As we approach September and the beginning of another exciting school year, many DePaul athletes go through their preseason in preparation for this fall. Golf, however, has been in season all summer so we are excited to begin our fall season.

Golf Blog: Jan Juelicher

Hello Blue Demon Fans,

This is Jan reporting for duty! Its unbelievable that there is a little less than one month until school starts again and just a little longer until we tee off at our first tournament. I can't wait to come back to the Windy City and see everyone again.

DePaul Softball Arrives Back in Sweet Home Chicago

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DePaul softball arrived safely back in Chicago on Sunday evening after - by all accounts - an amazing 10-day adventure, spanning Paris and Amiens, France as well as Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

Here's head coach Eugene Lenti and shortstop Allie Braden recapping the last two days of the trip for everyone who has been following along stateside.

Saturday, August 17

From Paris to Amsterdam, from the River Seine to the Amstel River, from St. Vincent de Paul to Vincent van Gogh, what a truly amazing experience!  Alongside of our four Women's College World Series appearances, this trip is a historic highlight for DePaul Softball!

whole group.JPGYou all would be very proud of the way our team represented themselves and DePaul. To see their willingness to help the aspiring young softball and baseball players of Haarlem and Alkmaar was inspiring. Coaches Chouinard and Tarulli were instrumental in the success of our clinics, and in keeping the team on task throughout our trip. More important than what our young campers learned about softball was what we all learned after the clinics about each other's culture.

Wooden ShoeThis was on display throughout our trip. So many of the people we encountered in both Paris and Amsterdam were more than willing to share their stories with us. Two in particular that stood out for me were: Angelina, who was our waitress one night. She told us how she came to Amsterdam from Venezuela in search of work. She speaks seven different languages - mostly self-taught. We had an interesting conversation about workers rights in the Netherlands, and why tipping is appreciated but not expected in European restaurants.

The other was at Haesje Claes, a restaurant across the street from our hotel. There Kandace and I met Dario DeBenedictis, an Italian from Bari. He was visiting from The Hague, where he now lives. He is a geologist who left Italy also to find a job. He worked in Scotland, then London, and now resides and works in the Netherlands. After about an hour of conversation about many varied topics, Kandace and I said our goodbyes and left with Darios number - for if we were ever in the neighborhood!

So many people were responsible for the success of this trip and I'd like to take some time to thank them.

First and foremost, to Fr. Ed, who guided us on our trip. You are, as Kandace would say, "phenomenal!" Thank you for helping me make this trip possible, and for enhancing it in so many ways. I don't think Kandace will ever be able to vacation without you. Thank you also for showing us how great a man Saint Vincent was, and how special it is to be a member of the DePaul community.

Thanks to Joop (said like, "Yoop"), our bus driver who was so much more. Joop was a wealth of information, and I can honestly say I have never felt safer on a bus! That is saying a lot when you consider all the cars, bikes and people who roam the streets of Amsterdam.

Thanks to all the relatives who traveled with us. We not only learned stories about people from around the world, but also from people in our own backyard. Our big communal meals afforded us the opportunity to break bread with various groups throughout our trip. I learned that everyone has a tale to tell. Thanks too for your willingness to help out on all occasions.

Thanks to our athletic staff that accompanied us. Kate O'Brien and Jeff Carrico were there always ready to take a picture, or help with luggage, or lend some first aid.

Thank you so much to Kathryn (you probably need a vacation now) for being the driving force in making this happen. You did an excellent job with Fr. Ed in planning this trip and in keeping us all on time throughout.

Thanks to Jeanne for creating this opportunity and then allowing softball to take advantage of it. I am already thinking of ways to raise money for a 2017 trip.

Finally, to all of you who are apart of the DePaul Softball family, thank you for giving of your time, your talent or your treasures to help make this trip possible.

Merci times infinity!

- Eug

Friday, August 16

Today was what we called our, "free day," meaning that we could go and explore on our own! Even though the tours were an amazing experience, having time to go and explore on our own gave us a better feel for the city and the culture of Amsterdam.

Exploring the streets of Amsterdam opened my eyes to many different cultural traditions. As you walk by the little canals that accompany almost every street, you find rows and rows of bikes followed by little souvenir shops and famous ice cream shops.

This trip has been one for the books. We, as a team, have been so blessed with all of these opportunities that have been given to us and we want to thank everyone who has helped make this happen.

This is a once in a lifetime experience for us all and has brought us even closer as a group.

- Allie Braden

Ali Lenti and Cherelle Chambers Catch Us Up on Amsterdam

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Wednesday, August 14

Today was our first full day in Amsterdam!

I Amsterdam

First thing in the morning, we got the chance to visit the secret annex and hiding place of Anne Frank and her family. We got there at opening and the line to get in was already three blocks long! Our presentation began with the story of Anne Frank and the others who appeared in her famous diary.

Next, we were able to walk through the building, in which the secret annex was constructed and Anne lived for almost two years of her life. It was unbelievable to see how small the house was and how secluded the families must have been. We also learned that many others who were persecuted by the Nazis were put into similar or even worse situations.

The thing most striking about the visit to the Anne Frank Museum was seeing and hearing the young 13-year old girl's ability to change such a negative experience into a positive through her writing. Overall, the visit was not only historically significant, but also very humbling for us all.

After the museum, we got to go on a boat tour through the canals that make up the city of Amsterdam. This tour was very informative and will help us to navigate the city over the next few days! I'm very excited to see what the rest of our visit has in store for us!

Bye for now!

Ali Lenti

Thursday, August 15 

We began our day with a walking tour of the city of Amsterdam.

On our way to our first stop we saw Gable stones. These stones were placed over the businesses so people who were illiterate could find their dentist, breadmakers and other services because there were no street numbers at the time.

We continued on to Dam Square, located in the middle of the city, where we came upon the Stadhuis House. First built in the 16th century, it was a town hall and the largest building in the city. During the reign of Napoleon, he sent his brother to rule the Netherlands and, because of its size, it was used at his palace. He wished for a balcony and when it was built he went out onto the balcony to greet the Dutch people and intended to say, "Hello, I will be your new king," when he actually said, "Hello, I will be your new rabbit," because he was learning Dutch and the word for king and rabbit are similar.

Royal Palace of Amsterdam

After three years, Napoleon removed him. The Netherlands had been under a Dutch king since 1813, beginning with William I.

We continued our tour of the city and walked along Warmoesstraat, the oldest street in the city dating back to 1170. The Netherlands is a trading nation and Amsterdam is a city of canals. Every four weeks the canals are refreshed with freshwater from the Rhine river of Germany. One of the queens swam in one of the canals in a fundraising effort for ALS, and to demonstrate the freshwater content of the canals.

As we continued our tour we stopped at the Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder, that was once a forbidden church. In 1578, the Netherlands converted to Protestantism and Catholics were allowed to live in Amsterdam - just not to practice their religion in plain sight.

They turned a canal house into a church, and people smelled the incense and heard the organs of the Catholic church, but it was not visible from the street therefore tolerated - out of sight, out of mind!

As we continued our tour, we visited the medieval gates of Amsterdam, which are now a restaurant. After the gate closed in the 16th-century, it became an anatomical theater. Once a year, one of the men that was executed for a crime would be examined by doctors and gave medical students the first insights of the human body.

The tour around the city was historically-filled and gave us a very good idea of the enormous amount of culture within the city. We had a very full morning and spent our afternoon down the shore of the North Sea, where we had a wonderful lunch.

Cherelle Chambers

Women's Basketball Blog: Megan Rogowski

Hello again my Blue Demon fans!

This is Megan Rogowski reporting to our fans for another update!  The squad and summer school are hitting the gas full throttle!  Almost three full weeks of summer school and workouts have already flown by.  The freshmen are taking two classes while the rest of the returners are taking just one class. I am lucky enough to have class  with my teammates, Chanise Jenkins, Megan Podkowa and Brooke Schulte! Having class with my teammates makes summer school a lot more manageable.  Midterm week is here so we are all studying hard this week!

Early this morning we left Paris for Amsterdam. We were sad to leave "The City of Love" behind, but we made some worthy stops along the way. Plus, we were able to see the beautiful French countryside. Or rather, those of us that were awake anyway! Our first stop was the small city of Folleville, which has significant importance to St. Vincent de Paul.

French Countryside
Folleville was where the Vincentian question, "what must be done?" was asked. There are only about 60-80 people that live there though! One of the coolest aspects of this stop was the church that St. Vincent preached in that is still standing today (with some renovations of course). Also, part of the castle that Vincent's patrons owned still stands today.

WWI MonumentCastleOur second stop of the day was the city of Amiens. We visited the largest Gothic cathedral that has remained standing over the years. We thought the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was big, but this cathedral, in Father Ed's words, "makes Notre Dame look like a small country church." And he was right! This church is three times the size of Notre Dame! The construction of the cathedral of Amiens was started in the early 13th century, and the final spire was placed on top in the mid-16th century! The architecture of the church is so elaborate and exquisite it's no wonder it took so long to completely finish!

Amiens CathedralMy favorite "factoid" of the day was how the architects were able to save the church from collapsing when cracks starting forming inside the walls. They figured out that one of the flying buttresses, which are essential in holding up such a massive structure, was off by six inches, which was causing the walls to crack.

In order to fix the problem, the architects decided to create a balcony and underneath the balcony, running along the whole circumference of the church, they cast an iron "rubber band." They would heat up iron chains and place them within the walls and when the iron would cool, it contracted and tightened, which was able to hold up the walls of the cathedral from the inside. I just think it's so amazing how smart and creative people were back then to be able to build and conserve huge, extravagant structures like this without the technology we have today.

I can't wait to see what Amsterdam has in store for us. Get ready Amsterdam!  Here we come!

Brittany Boesel

Oui Are DePaul: Greetings From Paris!

| | TrackBacks (0) will be following the softball program on its 10-day trip throughout France and the Netherlands via a series of player blogs. First up are student-athletes Kirsten Verdun and Mary Connolly.

The Blue Demons landed safely in Paris, France on Saturday, Aug. 10 after running into DePaul basketball legend Wilson Chandler at O'Hare International Airport on their way out of Chicago. 


13567_613973995300059_2031772011_n.jpgAfter catching up with Chandler and heading their separate ways, the team flew approximately nine hours to Charles de Gaulle International Airport.

Verdun picks up the story there - telling us about the team's first full day in "The City of Light."

Sunday, August 11

What an exciting day in Paris we had!

Today Father Ed took us to several historic buildings in Paris. We visited the Vincentian motherhouse on Rue de Savres, where we got to go inside the chapel that was built in honor of Saint Vincent de Paul. It was very interesting and beautiful and it even contained de Paul's remains. To see our university's namesake in real-life was an amazing and humbling opportunity.

Adjacent to the chapel, we got to explore the Vincentian Museum. It was crazy to see the hand-made map of Paris and how many buildings remain standing from the 17th century. After that we walked to the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul on the Rue du Bac. The Chapel of the Miraculous Medal was breathtaking. The whole chapel looked like it was sparkling. Before heading back to the bus, we got to see the Church of Saint-Sulpice. Father Ed told us that it was the largest church in Paris, and it was very impressive to see both on the outside and the inside. We took a group photo with Father Ed's favorite statue of St. Vincent inside Saint-Sulpice to show everyone!

The last place we visited today was L'Hôtel national des Invalides, which contained Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb and is also where the first military hospital was placed. 


Seeing all of the architecture was so interesting and my favorite part of the day was walking down and seeing the sculpted walls surrounding Napoleon's Tomb. I'm so excited to explore more of the city tomorrow!

- Kirsten Verdun

Monday, August 12

For me personally, today was the best day in Paris!


We got to truly explore the streets of Paris, as well as learn about St. Vincent de Paul and the Paris Opera House as well. The amount of history in this city is overwhelming, but makes the sites so much more valuable and memorable. In the morning we began by visiting Old Saint-Lazare Train Station and the Church of Saint Marguerite. The land is very different, but some of the old prison walls from that time period were still intact. Although the church was closed, we were able to see the face of St. Vincent DePaul on the side of one of the buildings that appears when the sun hits it. The experience was great and very informational.

In the afternoon I got the opportunity to shop at the flea markets, which was very different because they bargain quite a bit. I learned how to bargain with some of the vendors, and got some awesome stuff.

After the markets, we visited a cafe for some gelato that was out of this world and then took a tour at the opera house. The architecture and murals in the opera house make the churches look like nothing! I was very impressed that it still looks that great after so many years. One fun fact they told us is that the 13th seat in the auditorium is missing because long ago a piece of the chandelier fell on a woman and the seat had to be removed. Fun facts like that made the place very fun to learn about and I would love to go back for a ballet sometime! Today was more successful than I could have asked for, and each day I become more and more grateful for this unbelievable opportunity! 

- Mary Connolly



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