(Sept 21) Buongiorno
What a day! I got up at 6 and made as much noise as I could but Susan wasn’t responding. I showered and packed and finally she stirred. By the time we packed the car, and had breakfast it was after 8. We were again going to cut it close with Mass, at Our Lady of the Garden, so I took the autostrada and stepped on it. We would have plenty of scenery later.
We made it to Our Lady of the Garden just after 10 and we were late again for Mass, even though we got a parking spot right in front. Not to worry, I’m sure we get a little leeway from up above. The Cathedral was simple and beautiful and after mass we said our prayers in front of the image of the Madonna at the altar, for your indulgences, and intentions (we will send you an e-mail when we do yours, tonight I will call Regina and Jack because they don’t do e-mail). We bought a trinket and left figuring we could make Montellegro, 12 miles away, before it closed at 12. We drove to take the funicular up the mountain but again we ended up directly at the shrine. Sue was shaking from the ride and she hadn’t seen anything yet.
The Minor Basilica sits atop the mountain and the views are spectacular. The Basilica is so very beautiful. The icon of Our Lady is very small and set lovingly above the altar. We again prayed for the intentions we had brought and Sue entered them in the book and we lit a candle. We had time so we sat up front near the Madonna and said our rosary. We can’t describe the feeling. This Basilica was also filled with thank you’s hung on the wall for the graces and miracles given by our Blessed Mother.
Before leaving we stopped at the funicular and had a cappuccino, I’m sure Sue would have preferred a double vodka for the ride down. Our next stop was our hotel in a small village of Uscio, high up in the mountains, like we weren’t high up already. The ride was scary to say the least. It even got to me at times when I looked down. Susan kept saying Pena de Francia from last year was easier when she was on the floor of the car then. I had to agree since the drive was 3 miles there and this one was 23 miles. See photo’s although I don’t know how she took them as she held on to the door and roof of the car at the same time. She was leaning so hard on each turn I think they will have to replace the leather on the door of the car! I finally saw her doing it and asked if she was getting ready to jump out or trying to keep the car on the road. LOL. WE (I) laughed all the way to the hotel. On the way we stopped at a church that had a statue of Our Blessed mother and both said a Hail Mary, I kept repeating to myself the sign from La Sallette France, come my children, do not be afraid. Boy, does that work!
The owner, of the hotel, Eugino was as pleasant as could be. His knowledge of English was comparable as my knowledge of Chinese but we communicated beautifully. We got our room and went down to explore the town. That took about 3 minutes. Back at the hotel we decided we deserved a beer and sat outside enjoying the view. Several local people joined us and we sat there trying to communicate. Somehow we did and we all laughed, took photos and enjoyed our time. Eugino’s daughter arrived and her English was great, so she explained to them our pilgrimage and that we had driven up to Montellegro before arriving. I think someone said stupid! in Italian and Susan shook her head yes.
Tonight if we can stay awake we will dine in the Eugino’s restaurant. Maybe I will tell him I’m a chef. No, he would probably tell me to cook my own. They already feel like family. What a great day! You may get extra pictures of tonight’s festivities which I will comment on tomorrow.
I want to share an e-mail from Sue’s niece and goddaughter that she wrote for Religion class and got an A+. It was really sweet and rewarding.
The Person I Admire Most: Aunt Susie
The person whom I admire the most is my God-mother, and aunt, Susie. I admire this particular person because of what she has done for me in my spiritual and everyday life.
Each year my God-mother takes a trip to Europe. She and her husband have been doing this for five years, this year being the sixth. I have just recently found out about her pilgrimages, last year in fact, and I love that she is doing this. In Italy my aunt and uncle will visit over 20 shines or sacred sites and send emails/ pictures of all the places they visit. I believe this has helped my faith life over the past year.
Her going to Italy has not been the only thing she has done to help my spiritually. When I was in third grade she gave me a rosary blessed by Pope John Paul II, and has seen the pope get chosen (the smoke from the chimney) twice now.
Despite the fact that she lives in Florida I believe that we are very close. She has texted me just to say “Hello to my Goddaughter, just texting to say that we love you and miss you.” Just these little words have helped me. For her to take time out of her busy day just to text that has helped me, it makes me feel happy. I believe some people take for granted a simple “thank you”, “I love you/ I miss you”, or “have a nice day” just those simple words can brighten someone’s day, they surely have with me. That is why I believe that my God-mother is someone I admire, not just in my faith life, but also for the little things she does.
The stories of today’s shrines are below plus lots of photos of the terror of Susan to follow.