posted on Aug, 9 2006 @ 05:05 AM
At a rather young age, I was offered an amazing opportunity which I turned down. In hindsight, I often think about how my decision could have changed
my life through the astounding opportunities that could have been opened to me.
When I was sixteen, my family traveled to Europe to visit family friends. My parents were originally from Lithuania but they had emigrated to the
states after WWII. While we were there, we travelled to Rome. It seemed that some of our family friends were priests who were working in the
Vatican. One friend, in particular was Bishop Paul Marcinkus, head of the Vatican Bank (yes the same one who was later embroiled in a famed
Vatican/Mafia banking scandal). Through this acquaintance, I was given an opportunity to spend time in the Vatican library with another Lithuanian
priest, a monsignor.
The monsignor must have been impressed with my knowledge, albeit youthful, of Lithuanian history and my interest in some rather archaic topics, in
particular, Samogitia (modern day Zemaitya, the Northernmost Lithuanian province). I was offered an education at the Lithuanian Apostolic College in
Rome -- Collegio Lituanica. Typically, this education would lead to the priesthood but, even though I had no compunction to this calling, I was
offered admission to this very exclusive institution.
The opportunity that I ultimately turned down was the chance to have an internship in the maps and localized history section of the Vatican Library.
It would seem that Lithuanians -- lay and clergy -- were influential and they sought other Lithuanians to, perhaps, solidify their position there.
Regardless the reasons why "I" was offered this position and opportunity, it is one that I declined and that I have come to regret.