This pilgrimage has been full of wonderful people, impeccable food, creamy gelato, and LOTS of walking. In the midst of these lovely elements, enriching our faith has been the main focus. I can’t find the words to describe how amazing it has been to celebrate mass and nurture our faith in ancient churches where apostles and saints are buried.
From touring the scavi under Saint Peter’s Basilica, to seeing churches from the first century, to walking in the coliseum where Christians were martyred, the day that was beyond any spiritual experience was our trip to the small city of Assisi.
There were narrow streets lined with tall stone buildings exuding history and peace. We were privileged to have mass at the tomb of Saint Francis, which was an extremely spiritual experience. The stillness of prayer and unity of our singing voices was emanating throughout the chapel.
I thought this would be my favorite part of Assisi, until we toured the Basilica of Saint Clare. Here, we were given the opportunity to pray in front of the original cross that spoke to Saint Francis when he asked Jesus what he wanted to do with his life.
This was the most amazing experience as we were able to kneel and ask Jesus about our vocations. Additionally, the prayer that Saint Francis prayed was displayed for us to read.
Aside from the inspiring spiritual aspect of this trip, we enjoyed a delectable four-course lunch with and prepared by the Franciscan friars. They were radiating happiness and the room was filled with conversation, laughter, and song (when Brother Gregory whipped out his accordion). This was one of the best days of my life. I feel a spiritual transformation and am excited for whatever Jesus has in store. – Jacquelyn O’Neill