I jumped up onto the steps of the train before it came it to a complete stop because I was anxious to get to the sleeper compartment and rest after my two day whirlwind tour of Holland. Travel weary and ready for a good night's sleep, I tossed my backpack on to the floor to access my reservation number for the compartment. The conductor was just a few compartments down the line, and as soon as my ticket was checked, I planned on settling in and getting a much needed sleep.
As many young Americans did while touring Europe in the seventies, I used the night train as place to sleep as it took me from one magical place to another. A sleeping compartment was a bit more luxurious than a single seat, yet far less expensive than a hotel and certainly more efficient than wasting the evening hours sleeping in a youth hostel.
I was particularly tired after the visit in Holland as I just caught a few naps on park benches and hadn't slept deeply for a few days. Even if I had wanted to stay overnight, the train stop was nothing more than a substation, many miles away from the small town that my hitchhiked ride had passed through to drop me off and then drive away. The station was nothing more than a ticket desk, bathroom, and a worn, splintered wooden bench that sat uncovered just outside of the tiny office.
But all of that was behind me now. My visit in Holland was spectacular and the conductor would shortly be at my compartment, and I would soon be asleep, awakening to my next destination-Brussels and then on to Dornach, Switzerland, the world headquarters of the General Anthroposophical Society that was conceived by the spiritual teacher Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
I was a Jesuit priest at the time I was touring Europe and had been assigned by the Order to learn everything I could about Steiner's teachings and the Waldorf School movement he had started in 1919 just six years before his death. The Catholic Church was extremely interested in knowing what Steiner taught to see if anything had merit and, if so, what could be brought into the Church's organization and teachings.
Waldorf schools, biodynamic farms, anthroposophically inspired medicine, architecture, dance, art, philosophy, and a host of other practical spiritual applications had arisen from Steiner's teachings, and the Jesuits were interested in finding out what they didn't know. It made Jesuits uneasy to think that Steiner, or any philosopher or scientist, knew something that they didn't. The Society of Jesus has a long history of studying everything in the world, including world religions, banking and finance, or, as we have seen in contemporary times, the study of astronomy with the large binocular telescope called Lucifer located at the Mt. Graham observatory in Arizona.
......................... continued at link below