Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Michael Risch-Janson '08 and Angela Sigl '08 Return from Fulbright Teaching, Wed in Abbey Church

An amazing story ....
  • Michael started in German 111 his Freshman year -- and completed the major in four years!
  • He double majored in German and Physics.
  • He was a participant in the Salzburg Program
  • He took a job as a programmer at Securian Financial in Downtown Saint Paul..
  • After a year of work in the real world he decided to apply for the Austria teaching Fulbright.
  • His girlfriend Angela Sigl (CSB grad, 2008) was also awarded a Fulbright teaching position in Wieselburg because the other American teacher didn't show up!
  • Angela and Michael are being married in the Abbey Church by Fr. Mark Thamert on July 3, 2010.
  • Congratulations Michael and Angela!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Austrian Ambassador, Christian Prosl, Visits Saint John's University.

Ambassador Christian Prosl is not the first Austrian diplomat to the United States to visit Collegeville, but given his warm reception Tuesday, it likely will not be the last.   Prosl was given a guided tour of The Saint John s Bible exhibition at Hill Museum & Manuscript Library on the campus of St. John's University.

One of our board members is the honorary consul general to Austria ... and former instructor here, HMML Development Director Erin Lonergan said about Ron Bosrock and his invitation to Prosl.  Matthew Heintzelman, curator of the Austria and Germany Study Center, gave a presentation about HMML's Austrian collection in Collegeville, during the 63-year-old ambassador's visit.

A book is more than just a container for text, Heintzelman said. It is the history of how that book was received, how the book was made, what were the economics of the time. 

Prosl, a husband and father from Eisenstadt, Austria, looked at The Saint John s Bible's The Luke Anthology, which featured ink from hand-ground pigments and gold leaf on calfskin vellum.

I heard from my predecessor that there s a wonderful monastery here and wonderful people, and so I came, said Prosl, who arrived in the Twin Cities on a flight from Washington, D.C. The Saint John's Bible is the world's latest handwritten and illustrated Bible, and the first Bible to be commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in almost 500 years.

The Benedictines have been here for the last 150 years, and what they do is a place of culture ... and they show how (to live) a Christian life, Prosl said of his first visit to St. John's.

HMML began converting Austrian manuscripts to microfilm in 1965 in an effort to preserve books and manuscripts in other countries. The most complete of HMML's collections, it contains more than 30,000 manuscripts and other documents pre-1600 work from almost all the Austrian libraries.

It opened doors for us to more than 70 other manuscript libraries and set the standard for the collaboration that has characterized HMML's mission during our 40 years of work throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said the Rev. Columba Stewart, HMML executive director.  Eva Nowotny, a former Austrian ambassador to the United States, visited the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library in 2007. 

HMML was founded 40 years ago in response to the loss of manuscripts and books during World Wars I and II.  Austria is a small country. We know we are not the center of the world, and we have no problems and we don't create problems so basically we have a very good relationship (with the United States), Prosl said of his German-speaking country, which has a population of 8.2 million.

The United States first established diplomatic relations with Austria in 1838, and relations between the two have been continuous since, except in World War I and World War II.  He is a very nice person very nice, very nice, Prosl said of President Barack Obama, who the  Austrian ambassador described as being genial and welcoming when presented with his credentials.

In a globalist world, there are two major areas that have the same basic values Europe and the United States and therefore we have to understand each other, Prosl said of U.S.-Austrian relations.