A Higher Calling
As a student at DeSales, Deborah Lubov ’12 had every intention of becoming a lawyer. The accounting and finance major was pre-law and in the honors program. But a semester abroad changed everything and set her on a new and unexpected path.
Lubov took part in DeSales’ study abroad program in Rome, Italy. She had always loved the idea of traveling there, but with her rigorous schedule, she didn’t think it would be possible. Then Professor Elizabeth Rosa convinced her.
“I remember Professor Rosa sat down with me and explained what exactly I could do, in what order, with all my remaining courses to be able to apply for the program and still not sacrifice my progress.”
Lubov shared an apartment with two other DeSales students near one of the city’s most iconic monuments—the Colosseum. She spent countless hours exploring and practiced Italian every chance she had.
“Rome was very overwhelming in the beginning, but I progressed ‘piano piano’ (slowly slowly) and I always found a way around any obstacles,” she says.
She even secured a coveted internship at the Vatican with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications—a position that would prove to be life changing.
“During my time there, I felt I was called to live in Rome and pursue a career in the Vatican.”
When she returned home, Lubov scrapped plans for law school. She landed a job after graduation at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City, auditing banking and capital markets, and became a certified public accountant. But the calling to return to Rome only intensified, and she made the move there in January 2014 before the canonization of Pope John Paul II.
These days, Lubov works as a Vatican correspondent for the ZENIT News Agency. She covers the Pope and Vatican on a daily basis from the Holy See Press Office, and she is also a contributor for NBC, Euronews, EWTN, and other TV networks, and has been interviewed by Vatican Radio and the BBC.
“Craziness is typical, but this has been an especially busy time,” she says.
The past two months have been a whirlwind for Lubov. She’s covered Pope Francis’ recent travels to Ireland and Poland. Then she boarded the papal flight for the Pope’s trip to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia—a three-country blitz in just four days. Last year, she married Paolo Fucili, an Italian Vaticanista for the Catholic television channel for Italy, run by the Italian Bishops’ Conference, TV2000.
Lubov has interviewed cardinals and other high-ranking church officials, and has even met Pope Francis several times—something she calls an absolute joy. Over the summer, while returning from Geneva, Switzerland, on the papal flight she was able to ask the Pope a question about churches of peace and the theory of righteous war.
“I was surprised that I was chosen to ask the question, given it was the one question for every English-speaking journalist and correspondent on the papal flight, including the major networks. I was surprised too by how intently he seemed to be listening.”
Lubov has also authored a book—now published in four languages—about the Pope titled The Other Francis, featuring a preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and interviews with 14 individuals close to the Pope in the Roman Curia and around the world—such as Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz—as well as his relatives and friends.
Though her career can be hectic at times, she loves Rome and everything the city represents—from the pace of the Italian lifestyle to the Blessed Mother icons on street corners. Her unlikely journey all started with her decision to study abroad.
“I would definitely encourage DeSales students to study abroad,” she says. “I didn’t have a passport before my DeSales experience, yet I went in very open-minded. It was a great experience.”