The day has finally come, that is, my last full day in Roma. I leave tomorrow morning at 8:30 to fly out back to the States.
I realize I have kind of disappeared for the last two weeks. Let me tell you, in the places I have been, internet has been sparse.
So, where exactly have I been the past two weeks?
Finals finished up, and I had a few days in Rome before heading up north to the mountains. The day before I left for the trip, two other students, my RD, and I embarked upon a very special pilgrimage--the Seven Church Pilgrimage Walk. I don't know if all that is technically supposed to be capitalized, but it should be! What is the Seven Church Pilgrimage walk? In Rome, there are seven churches that, if you are a pilgrim in Rome, you should make a point to visit and pray in while you are here. St. Philip Neri began the tradition of taking youth and making a pilgrimage walking to all of the churches in the 16th century. On Monday, April 15, the small group of us walked to each of the seven churches, beginning and ending at the villa where we lived and studied. It was such a beautiful pilgrimage. We started around 6am and finished right before 7pm. We walked all day long, usually stopping for about 15 minutes when we reached one of the churches and stopping an hour in the middle of the day for lunch. We spent some of the time walking in silence, some of the time praying together, some of the time just talking, laughing, and making up songs. Here's pictures of us at each of the seven pilgrimage churches in Rome:
|St. Peter's Basilica|
|St. Mary Major Basilica|
|St. Lawrence Outside the Walls|
|Santa Croce in Gerusalemme|
|St. John Lateran|
|And lastly, St. Paul Outside the Walls|
|Fr. Bennett-on-a-Stick made the pilgrimage as well|
|These are all the points we hit (starting with the bottom left-hand corner and going up), but not exactly the path we walked|
|Duomo in Milan (the Cathedral)|
|Me and the Duomo!|
|We also found A CASTLE!|
I got to stay in the house where Pier Giorgio would spend his summers with his grandparents for two nights while we were in Pollonae. I couldn't believe it, what a gift! We got to go visit and pray in Pier Giorgio's bedroom, left exactly as it was when he lived there. There was also a room that was set up exactly as the room where Pier Giorgio died in his house in Turin. All the furniture, blankets, and drawers were there, left exactly as they were on the day he died. Wow. It was such a gift to be able to stay there!
|Blessed Pier Giorgio's grandparents' house where he stayed over the summers...where I stayed for three days!|
|A perfect spot for some quality hammocking time on the grounds|
|Heading out and up!!|
|Stopping to ask some old Italian men for directions...always fun|
|Playing in the waterfall!!|
|Arriving at Oropa, finally, after our three hour hike. Yay!|
|We found snow when we went hiking farther up in the mountains...so of course, we made snow-Mary and snow-Baby Jesus|
|Having fun drinking from ladles attached to a fountain in Oropa|
The next day, Friday, we left Pollonae and headed took a train to Turin. There, we stopped by the Cottolengo House, a home for the mentally handicapped, where the guys would be volunteering for the next few days. Then, after a quick visit the basilica where St. John Bosco and St. Dominic Savio are buried, I was on a bus to the airport to fly back to Roma!
And of course, my flight was delayed, three hours again. I got into Rome after midnight, but some saintly sisters were super kind and came and picked me, despite the hour being so ridiculously late. I spent a few days working and praying with the sisters. Since then, I've been making last visits to some special places in the city, running last minute errands, and doing my favorite things one (or two or three) last times. I walked through the Villa Borghese and made my last visit to Our Lady of Peace where St. Josemaria is buried on Wednesday. Yesterday, Pope Francis just happened to celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square (which I had no idea was happening until the day before), and by the grace of God and the love of His Blessed Mother, I ended up in the third row from the front. What a perfect way to spend my last Sunday in Rome!
|First person view from my spot for Mass with Papa|
|Hi, Pope Francis!|
|Happy faces after Mass and seeing Papa driving around in the pope mobile|
Enough time on the computer for my last day in Roma. Time to head out into the city a second to last time, and one last time tomorrow morning....I'll let you know when I'm back in the States. I hope you've enjoyed following me during my time in Rome! Thank God it has been so wonderful...