Wow. We are truly blessed to be here. At the Jesuit community house. Right in Vatican's backyard!!! What remians in me right now is gratitude. A growing grace of aweness being here at this place in Rome. In the heart of the city. The heart of our church. Right next door to the father general of the Jesuits! And st. Peter church is barely 3 min walk away.
Today we train to Barcelona and visited the church and Jesuit community there for an hour. Then we walked down las ramblas. It was truly a crazy crowded place full of tourists and shops of souvenirs and pple statues. Thank u god we did not have any pickpocket mishaps. We ate leunch under the tree shade bf taking the amazing underground subway station to la sagrada familia church. It took my breath away. A sight of god'S glory and grace...what a gift Goudi had, vision, creativity, imagination to build a church in honor of the holy trinity and it's still Not yet done. Estimated 2020-2040 it will be done. Wow. It's so detailed and amaZing. We only spent 10mins there bf heading back to subway and bus to airport. God gave us another chance to trust in him bc we were already cutting it close but had good time to print boarding psses, security and board but we didn't get off at the one stop at the first terminal so we had to take the return bus back to the first terminal. Another 7 Mins after waiting for that bus to go for 10mins. O man!! It was crazy. We ran off that bus and printed each of our passes ran thru security and RAN to our gate. When we arrived, there were two long lines. Thank you God. Again. For taking care of us. Our line didn't actually start boarding for another 5-7mins. W all got on the plane safe and sound. I slept the whole hour and half i was so tired! Arrived to Rome and here we are. Met Cha Alfredo. Cha Manuel. Two beautiful angels of god. So sweet and cute were Cha Alfredo full of life and joy! And Cha Manuel showed us the city of Rome frm the rooftop of this building. Soooooo look glorious. Beautiful. Remarkable. Amazing is our God. W can see so many main buildings, history from the rooftop and at night, it's so nice. We had a delicious superb dinner. Bruschetta, caprisi salad, three pizzas, lasagna, and two pasta dishes, spaghetti and meatballs and something else. It was sooooo good!! Then we walked across the bridge and di dao, seeing how night life in this part of Rome was like on a fri night. Lots of selling fake purses and many other shops! And they even had ping pong and foozeball tables out for rent to play. It was so fun. And really neat. Then we ended the night walking to the Vatican....and seeing where our dear Pope lives. So surreal everything is. And I'm asking for the grace to realize this more and more and feel god great love for me this weekend here in the heart of our church and faith. Gn!,! Soooo tired!
Traveler of God in grace.
Sent from my iPad
+ + +
August 13, 2011
I still cannot believe that I am here in Roma. It's been quite a journey full of surprises and graces. I feel like I've gotten to know st iggy much more. Discovering that he is a passionate person to say the least. And his devotion to mother Mary is Devout devout. It's so strong. And his love for god is so much that it blocks out everything else. He is so in tune with God that nothing else matters. And he stayed here in Roma for his last 12 hrs of life in this little house of 4 rooms. Listening, praying, writing 7,000 letters, and the Society of Jesus constitution. When we all arrived to his room, it was surreal. Imagining st iggy sitting there at the small desk and writing with the only picture in the room and that was of mother Mary and baby Jesus. It was called,"Mother of the Desk" bc it was over st iggy's desk. To imagine how each time he came across a stumble or was thinking, he would just have to look up and see Mother Mary encouraging him on with love. She was his inspiration! I realized then just how devout he was to Mother Mary. Hs room was quite simple and Her's was the only picture in his room.
Then when I went into the chapel that st iggy often went to which is 5 steps away from his bedroom/study, it was touching to imagine this is where st iggy celebrated his masses, where he went to pray and listen and cried a lot bc he felt consolation so often. And this was where he also spent his last minutes on earth bf departing. In fact, there was a plaque on the floor that said this is where st. Ignatius died. Tears came to my eyes. I don't know why. Mayb bc I have really gotten to know st iggy a lot this past week and here is the spot where he died. I grew a little sad. He definitely someone I want to look to for inspiration. His faith, I desire to mirror. Just his great love for God and His devotion to Mother Mary. A faith so strong that nothing can sway it and it influence everything he did and thought and said.
We met a brother, brother Mansura? On first glance, he looked very intimidating and nghiem. I thought he was yelling at us not to come into st iggy's house. But he was just telling us to be careful. While we were parying in st iggys bedroom, i watched Thay sit on his chair, as if he was keeping watch. he looked a little tired but he knew his job was to keep watch this holy place. As we were getting ready for mass in st iggy's room, he joined us for mass. He's about 65-70 years old. When we kneeled, even he kneeled although it looked painful for him to get down on his knees.
This mass was so special bc we celebrated it in st iggy's room where he celebrated many masses himself and where spent his last breaths. It was also special bc Thai son and I renewed our vows after 5 years as husband and wife. It was very touching and special. Let gods presence indeed! After mass was over, I saw Thay Mura was holding a stack of paper, credit card, pictures that came from his pocket. He reached in and gave to TS and me a picture of Pope Benedict. Taken this year. Such a beautiful pict of our Pope. And he gave it to us. So special! I was touched to tears that he would think of us and give us a special gift. He even went home to get enough for everyone in our group. This picture of Pope Benedict is special bc it sold in stores. Only inside the Vatican! He also gave me a floral flower wrapped in a plastic wrap that he took from home. Again, I was touched to tears how full of love this man was. He just met us and yet we felt connected thru Christ and hid body and blood. He told us to pray pray pray together and don't worry about anything. God will take care of us. And he told us stories. All of this in Italian! Amazing how we can understand and figure out what he was saying from our knowledge of spanish and ts's French.
Those four hours inside st iggyys house were magical and filled with grace. Then we went in search for our dinner place. After 30 mins we found Carlo Menta. It was packed!!! And so cheap. The food s soooo good. And so much cheaper than our last bills.
Thank you god for a good day. Even tho it started out very late, after lunch, and we had to hand wash our own clothes. It was fun, we had a day full of grace. IM dizzy from tiredness and hot. The ac doesn't work so the small window is open. Goodnight.
Travelr of god in grace.
+ + +
August 14, 2011
We are star gazing on the rooftop in Roma. Our last night here in Roma. Today was a nice day. Pretty hot but not too too bad. We slept till 9:00-9:30 am. Very nice to sleep in! Making lunch and eating breakfast in the jesuit's kitchen, we met father Manuel. He gave each of us a envelope filled with pictures of our pope Benedict, and a pamphlet about the Vatican Radio. Hearing him tell us about working at the radio station was amazing. Fny how he said jokingly that he's happy pope Benny doesn't travel so much bc anything that our pope does, they have to write and report on the radio for the listeners to be updated. Everyday when the pope appears at his window or goes anywhere, they have to report even pple in China listens to the
Vatican Radio! They work very hard when there's something special going on, Christmas, Easter, holidays, World youth Day! They only get to be off on Sundays but saturdays are their hard working days bc they have to work double to prepare broadcasting news for Mondays. It so amazing to hear about this side of this work. Fther Manuel said he hopes the pope doesn't leave this world while he's here at the radio! Hehe. Imagine how hard they would be working if that happened. Not much rest for sure. Wow. I'm so honored to meet father Manuel.
We visited St. Peter's Basilica today. Wow. What a magnificent church. Huge!! We had to stand in line to go through the metal detectors and have our bags scanned. Then go through another line so they DNA make sure we are dressed appropriately. No tank tops or shorts. Dresses okay. Or u must cover up. I saw girls buy Roma scarfs and wrap then around their waists to cover up their short shorts or cover their bare shoulders. That was interesting.
Once inside the church, we were in awe. Such detail. Lots of popes buried there. My most touching moment was when I saw Our Blessed Pope John
Paul 11 tomb. Tears filled my eyes. I was so honore to have seen him with my own eyes in person at WYD 2002. He was so loved by the youth and young adults. And I still remember the day they announced his death, April 2005, Divine Mercy Sunday at Youth 2000. I was sitting Next to Minh. Beloved Pope JP11. I prayed on my kneels for a while, praying that he will continue to pray for us youth and young adults. My heart swelled with love for him. I miss him. We also saw the original Pieta, mother Mary holding the body of Jesus in her arms. So beautifully sculpted by micheangelo at the age of 22. Amazing Only 22years of age with that much love and passion for God and that much skill and and great gift. God is so amazing.
There were lots of statues of different Popes in the church. Many frescoes, beautiful. And also, the tomb of st. Peter, under the main alter. Wow. How holy. Mass was going on in the main chapel. And shortly after that, another mass in the adjacent chapel. These chapels are not enclosed but open space. We spent only 1.5 hrs there. There were so much pple. If I had more time, I would stay and understand more of who each pope was and what they did. There were so many! And my favorite painting was that of God Father, Jesus as a man, and the holy Spirit. It was so beautiful. I've never seen a painting of the holy trinity like that. Wish I could have a copy in my living room.
We ate lunch on the steps outside of the Vatican. Nce breezy day if you're in the shade. But hot if youre in the sun. Hehe. After buying our souvenirs, we took the train to La Storta to visit the tiny tiny chapel where st iggy had a vision from God father and Jesus. I was so beautifully depicted on the stone wall. On the right wall was the sign of the Jesuits and on the left a picture of mother Mary and baby Jesus. We couldn't go inside bc the priest didn't have the key so we prayed outside then went back to catch the train back to Roma. It was a 15-20 min ride. Both ways, we all took power naps. It felt so great. We were late to gesu church for mass. Came in when Cha was giving his homily. And when it was time to receive communion, Cha Tri didn't stand up to go so we all continued kneeling. But in my heart, I so badly wanted to receive his body. And I was so sad. But when Cha stood up and gave us the signal to go, my heart grew so happy and my eyes welled up with tears while is was in line waiting to receive his body. Thank you god, thank you God, I remember saying. Thank you for letting me receive your body today. I felt God loving me at that moment. And felt more love for me Maria when we prayed with here at the end. Le duc me Len troi. I lit two candles, one for my brother and one for our two boys praying with me Maria. Tere in that church was also st iggy's tomb. I wish that I had more time to pray with I'm!
But the church was closing and they rushed us out so I quickly lit a candle to pray for our family, for me to love more devoutly god and Mother Mary. Then, we went to EAT!! Carlo Menta. The tiramisu was sooo good! And everyone enjoyed their dinner.
I miss our boys. Wtching their videos today made me think of how cute they are and how much they've grown while we've been apart. I bet that they ve grown so much and know so much more and gained weight too!! I miss them so much but I'm peaceful in my heart. Just praying for them and thinking of them a lot. And my whole family.
W are leaving Roma tomorrow. I'm a little sad. I will miss this Jesuit house. It's so so nice and quiet and peaceful and the view is just so spectacular. W are so close to everything! A stone throw away from the Vatican!! Really. When on the rooftop, On one side I see the Parthenon, the jail, the Spanish steps, all the worldly buildings. Then on the left side, peace and quiet settles immediately into my heart. There, I see the Vatican, our Pope's room where he resides at night, and the top of the basilica of st Peter. I feel so much peace looking at that part of town.
Ive learned so much here. Seen so much. And see just how great and awesome our God is. Hes so detailed. And st iggy is such a great inspiration. His love and devotion to mother Mary and to God, I inspire to be more like him in that sense. I'm going to miss this place. I hope to be back one day, to get to know Roma more, the Vatican more. Visit the Sistine Chapel. It's been really neat and amazing the reflect back and see how we've been visiting many churches and we actually spent at least an hour in ruses churches and pray! I'm amazed. I never though I would ever do that. But it's truly grace filled. Spending time with god in his house. And understand him more through the many illustrations, the paintings. My eyes are opened.
The food was delicious. Some more expensive than others but Carlo Menta was good and cheap. The restaurants on that area were all pretty cheap. And the gelati was so good tonight. Home made. Affagto e gelati. 5€. Not too bad!
Tmw, we will visit the chapel in the courior of the Jesuits bf heading to the airport to fly at 12pm back to Barcelona and catch the train to Madrid!! Celebration dinner tmw night! Hehe.
End of pilgrimage.
Sent from my iPad