Tom & Sue personal pilgrimage Sunday May 29, Day 3: Feast of Corpus Christi in Spain

Buenos Dias

6 AM  came early, but I was up and refreshed.  I let Susan and the kids sleep while I finished the first trip report.  I snuck down for a couple cups of coffee and started to get hungry when I saw the breakfast buffet.

I didn’t want to eat alone so it was up and at’ em.  We still had a full day ahead and needed to leave by 9:30 at the very latest.  Susan and I went down and got a table and by time the kids got there we had eaten. They had showered so we went up and did the same.  After a good full breakfast (our next meal would be around 5)  we headed out slightly behind schedule. We didn’t care we just re-arranged the day. 

First stop was mass in Colomajaro, close to Prado, where our dear friend Father Guillermo was stationed after his ordination last year. (Parking “the beast” was another problem, until I finally saw a handicap spot.  I limped getting out of the truck till we got around the corner.) We had been with his dad, Tony as we call him, yesterday and met him and Carmen, his wife, for Mass.  Lots of hugs and kisses again and we settled in for mass in a very full church. 

(editor’s note:  Tom likes to name his rental car for each pilgrimage, so in this case it is “The Beast”)

It was Corpus Christi Sunday and all the churches in Spain have processions before or after mass.  With rain threatening they had the procession first, so we left our hard-to-find seats and processed out behind the first Holy Communion children and Fr. Guillermo and Jesus. I stayed back after a short walk, this time really limping, and took photo’s. 

After the procession we stood in the back of the church, for our seats were gone.  Mass was beautiful and the children receiving Jesus for the first time is always special to see. Another priest said mass and Fr. G sat in the confessional for those who needed it. Sam and I both went to confession after the service was over.  They wanted us to have lunch with them but we had a tight schedule and promised we would on June 19, when Susan and I came back to Madrid. 

We came here also for a special reason.  Last year the sisters gave us the rosary that Amparo the visionary prayed with until she died..  When she died she gave it to Florita, our adopted mother who died before we got to see her last year. They all decided that we should have this precious relic, including Fr. G. so they gave it to us. We spent a year with this delicate and special rosary using it with great joy, but we felt it should be home in Spain with Fr. G, who new Amparo so well and was very close to her. So  with great love and bitter sweet joy we gave it to him before we left.  He was shocked and excited and argued with us only a little. Again more tears, hugs and kisses and we finally departed our loving friends. 

The kids wanted to go back to Prado to say prayers for intentions and get some pictures and holy water so we did before it started to rain again.  When we were there the caretaker we had come to know over the years came out and gave us some new brochures they had done finally in English. Susan asked him if we could venerate the tree under which Our Lady stood and he went for the key. The kids got to go first and were overwhelmed and they will have to tell you their own feelings. As for us it never changes, we get light headed and the emotions flow freely  ( I need some visine)  to be able to touch that sacred place.

We all stood around and split up the 10 pages of intentions we carry and prayed for each one before the place of the Apparition of the Virgin and each of us left those sheets and put them in Her intention box.  Pictures were done and we collected some miraculous water from the spring and left just as the rain came. 

Off to the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caídos, only 15 minutes away, and we arrived as the rain stopped.  This place is incredible  as many of you know that have been here. The kids were pretty speechless as we explored this giant underground basilica.  It still takes your breath away each time you come. (see Photos below)  I almost got thrown out again, as I got caught 3 times sneaking pictures, but I managed a few.

Time to eat!! So we headed to Madrid and to Consuela and Umberto’s home for dinner.  Never got lost and parked “the beast” 100 ft from her home. They gave us each a cross of Christ made from wood from the tree of the apparition at Prado, so we got something special for giving away something special.  Our Blessed Mother is so good.  It was a great afternoon of good friends, good food and a lots of laughs. (also more hugs, tears and kisses. But, we had to leave rather early since we had to get up at 3 AM to catch our flight the next day for the Holy Land.  We bid farewell, Susan and I will see them again before we leave to come home, and headed for the hotel to pack, load the beast and hopefully sleep.  

See you tomorrow.

God bless all of you, 


Susan Tom and the Kids

Mary, Help of Those in Need

Holy Mary,
help those in need,
give strength to the weak,
comfort the sorrowful,
pray for God’s people,
assist the clergy,
intercede for religious.
Mary all who seek your help
experience your unfailing protection.



Our 33-day Pilgrimage Review from Tom & Sue

Bon Jour:

Tonight it will be back to “Hi” and English after our trip home.  We can’t believe our “Personal Pilgrimage” is over already.  Although it was an arduous trip at times … the 33 days flew by. 

We spent yesterday in the apartment hotel that I had booked outside of Paris and we packed and caught up on e-mails and the like.  I even made veal goulash for dinner, since we never made it back to the restaurant in Krakow to have real Polish Goulash.  It was pretty good if I do say so myself.

Our flight leaves at 7:00 AM your time and we get home around 9:00 PM if everything runs on time. It will take several days to shake jet lag, do laundry and go through the stacks of mail.  But I look forward to that, at home, watching American TV.  If we could stay any longer, we would be back to Krakow. Did I tell you I love Krakow?

Spiritually, this was a very rewarding trip.  And, as we saw so much suffering of pilgrims visiting so many Shrines, we offered up all of our Prayers, pains and suffering for so many people that it made our problems seem small.  We have been blessed to have been able to make so many of these “personal pilgrimages” and see and experience so many things.  We thank God and Our Blessed Mother every day for their Blessings.

We hope your journey with us was as rewarding for you, and we thank you for the Special Intentions many of you sent to us to Pray for, as well as all of the support that we got from your e-mails as we traveled. The back seat of the car was filled with all of you, though … and you were all very orderly. 

Our plane from Paris to Philadelphia was on time after we spent a little time in the American Airlines Lounge relaxing.  I tried to spend the last of our EURO but the cheapest thing I could find at the airport was $ 3.5 EURO (less than 4 bucks) and all I had left was $ 3.41 EURO … I was 12 cents short so if anyone needs some EURO, I have some.  Susan and I shared many laughs on the flight from Paris and relaxed and had some fun.  The laughing stopped in Philly!

Once in Philly, we went through customs before heading to our connecting flight to West Palm Beach.  DON’T EVER CONNECT THROUGH PHILLY!  Customs was bad (but not as bad as Miami International).  Going through Security to get to our connecting flight was a nightmare, but we finally got through.  Our flight was late in boarding which was a good thing … the walk/run to get to the other side of the terminal and to our gate was far, far away!

The plane from Philly to PBI was a 1970-1980 “Vintage”.  My seat was broken and I got yelled at twice when we finally were ready to take off 1-1/2 hours later because my seat was not in the “upright position”.  The Attendant finally realized it was the plane’s problem … not mine.

Good thing we were still on pilgrimage because I thought the plane was going to blow up at any time … the engines sounded like they were on their last legs.  (See Last of the Photos).  So I calmly put our “safe flight back home” into God’s hands (thank you, God, for the safe return home).

Sam & Johna waited patiently for our return flight and they had planned to pick us up when we landed.  They were there when we had retrieved all of our luggage.  It was more than rewarding to see both of them after the flight on the Wright Brothers 3rd Plane!

Sam & Johna had stocked up our refrigerator with “vulture” eggs, bacon, English Muffins and all of the goodies one needs when they arrive home after a long trip.  They had turned our water back on and collected our mail for us … what great friends!  They had also brought along some wine, so the four of us tasted it together until it was gone.  Then we graciously “threw them out” because “Jet Lag” had overtaken both of us.  It was almost midnight … almost 6:00 A.M. in Paris.  A long, long travel day was finally over.

On Friday we managed to get unpacked (somewhat), got the laundry done, sifted through the mail and I made a feeble attempt at the supermarket to get a few things … nothing was an easy task with our brains and bodies still “jumbled”.  We spent most of Friday and Saturday in our “jammies” except for Morning Masses to offer our Prayers of Gratitude.  I thought about wearing our “jammies” anyway but decided against it.

This morning (Sunday), we surfaced at our normal 8:45 A.M. Mass and we were very happy to be back at our “Cathedral Home” with so many friends who have followed us on our journey.  Still jet-lagging, we finally returned home after the 10:30 A.M. Mass and have been looking at the stacks of ironing still left to do … while both of us are complaining that we brought too many clothes with us … oh well … the joys of returning home after a long journey.  We still have to unpack some small gifts and the “trinkets” we bought for our “Pilgrimage Shrine” at home but all will be done when we return to normal.

So, as always, I end with a review of our “Favorite” and “Not So Favorite” moments, memories and experiences from this, our “7th Personal Pilgrimage”.  It wasn’t easy deciding on them after driving approximately 3,000 miles during our journey, but we will give it a try …

Mountain Range Driving (Alps, Cantabrian, Pyrenees) (TOM LOVED)
Supermarches – Carrefours (Supermarkets)
Lots of King-Sized Beds and Big Showers
No cell phones, no voice mail, no texting
The opportunity to join the Sisters for Mass in their Monastery Convent at Notre Dame de L’Hermitage in Noiretable, France, reverence the Statue of Our Lady, being invited to join them for lunch and to learn to communicate between French and English.  Meeting Father Jean (Rector), Sister Marie Paul and Sister Susiac “a/k/a Sister Flower” (the happy Nun).
Mountain Climb, Mass & Lunch in Orcival & Olby, France with our Cathedral friends, Brigette & Richard
The “Wine Cellar” in Fougaron with “Be-Be & Bob” at their B&B
The kindness of Sister Patricia Mª of the Trinity of Jesus in Agreda, Spain
A return to Our Lady of Prado Nuevo Shrine (outside Madrid), Florita’s Grave, Father Guillermo and his Parents, finally meeting Consuelo & Humberto,  Mass in the Capilla, the Rosary, seeing Sister Pilar again, “Amelia”, the Religious Sisters and the Senior Residents at “The Ship” in Prado Nuevo and receiving Amparo’s/Florita’s Rosary Beads.
Visiting our friend, Beatriz, at her Hotel Rural la Concordia in Monzon de Campos and having her surprise us with news of her pregnancy … wonderful!
Our 5th trip to San Sebastian de Garabandal, the Parish Church, Father Rolando, Sari & Papa, Los Pinos, Michael & all of the wonderful memories. Our gratitude to Father Rolando for all of his “special kindnesses”.
Meeting Father Robert Witwicki at the Basilique Notre Dame de Verdelais, France and his time and kindness spent with us (although much too short).
When arriving at La Solitude Holy Family Shrine in Martillac, France, we were surprised to be told that a Sister Catherine was awaiting our arrival to show us around.  Just sorry we didn’t have more time to spend with her.
Cracow, Poland – EVERYTHING … Visiting Cardinal Dziwisz, Father Tomasz (our memories  together, dinner, laughs and friendship), the Churches, the Saint John Paul II Experiences, Divine Mercy Shrine, Wadowice, Kalwaria and our driver & new friend (Tomek).  DID WE TELL YOU WE LOVE CRACOW (KRAKOW) AND THE ZLOTY (?????)
Wonderful friends, Sam & Johna, for taking us to the airport when we departed, watching over our home and picking us up on our return.  If they were reading the Trip Reports, they would know that we have thanked them (LOL, Sam & Johna!)
All of the friends … old friends and new friends, that we met along our journey that were so kind and gracious to us … we are forever grateful to all of them.
33 Days of Prayer & Reflection with little interruption and all of the Sacred Shrines we were Blessed to travel to and Pray in.



Mountain Range Driving (Alps, Cantabrian, Pyrenees) (SUSAN SERIOUSLY DISLIKED)
Avis Rent-A-Car in Paris – Aggravation picking up and returning the “BMW” (Not the Mercedes I ordered and extra charges I am fighting)
Finding a Laundromat in France or Spain
It’s lazy of local shop-keepers in Spain and France to close in the afternoons!  I often needed to buy things during “Siesta Time”.  This should be banned (LOL – STUPID!)
Motorcycles and Traffic Jams on Highways
When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there  (only joking).  The receptionists spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish, everything was Spanish.  No one told us that there would be so many foreigners in Spain. (LOL – STUPID!)
Parking Garage in Zaragozza and the $ 350.00 scratch on the “Beemer”
Disappointment that our time did not permit us to stop at the Church of St. Eulalia in Bordeaux and meet Father Didier Monget.  The Church were the father of St. Therese de Lisieux was Baptized.
Arriving at Santuario del Cristo de la Agonia in Limpias, Spain to find it closed again … our fourth time traveling there and only gaining entry twice … that’s too bad.  (But we stayed outside and Prayed in front, knowing that Jesus and the Miraculous Crucifix were just inside the door.
Driving the treacherous roads to get to Our Lady of Lekitio, Spain
U.S. Customs “Welcome Home” Attitudes
Philadelphia Airport, Security and Delays
The “Antique” Plane from Philly to PBIA




May God Bless Each And Every One Of You!

Love & Prayers Always,

Susan & Tom

Totus Tuus

Say this prayer everyday.


This prayer was written by the Holy Father Saint John Paul II to Mary Immaculate

Totally yours,

Immaculate Conception, Mary my Mother,
Live in me, Act in me,
Speak in me and through me,
Think your thoughts in my mind,
Love through my heart,
Give me your dispositions and feelings,
Teach, lead me and guide me to Jesus,
Correct, enlighten and expand my thoughts and behavior,
Possess my soul,
Take over my entire personality and life, replace it with Yourself,
Incline me to constant adoration,
Pray in me and through me,
Let me live in you and keep me in this union always. 


Statements of the Magisterium concerning Montfort Spirituality from CIN


Pope John Paul II has consistently praised the theology and spirituality of Saint Louis de Montfort. The Holy Father’s recent book, “Gift and Mystery” has the following quote about Saint Louis de Montfort: ” … At one point I began to question any devotion to Mary, believing that, if it became too great, it might end up compromising the supremacy of the worship owed Christ. At that time, I was greatly helped by a book by Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort entitled ‘Treatise of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.’ 

There I found the answers to my questions. Yes, Mary does bring us closer to Christ; she does lead us to him, provided that we live her mystery in Christ. This treatise by Saint Louis Marie de Montfort can be a bit disconcerting, given its rather florid and baroque style, but the essential theological truths which it contains are undeniable. The author was an outstanding theologian. His Mariological thought is rooted in the mystery of the Trinity and in the truth of the Incarnation of the Word of God. 

I then came to understand why the Church says the Angelus three times a day … Such powerful words! They express the deepest reality of the greatest event ever to take place in human history. This is the origin of the motto ‘Totus Tuus’: The phrase comes from Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. it is an abbreviation of a more complete form of entrustment to the Mother of God which runs like this: 

‘Totus Tuus ego sum et omnia mea Tua sunt. 

Accipio Te in mea omnia. Praebe mighi cor Tuum, Maria.’ 

And so, thanks to Saint Louis, I began to discover the immense riches of Marian devotion from new perspectives.” (pp.28-30)

Thank you for sharing our 2015

“Personal Pilgrimage” with us!
Tom & Susan Melillo

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)

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June 16th..Our Last Day in Krakow

Good Evening = dobry  wieczór,
Well, it’s our last day in Poland and we decided to hire a tour guide to take us to the places we wanted to go and couldn’t get to.  Specifically, the birthplace of Saint John Paul II, and the church where he offered, and committed himself, to Our Blessed Mother at the age of 9.

The army coffee was great and we were packed and out front to wait for our ride just before 8:00.  Promptly at 8:00 our car drove up and Tomak our driver loaded our stuff. He was a wonderful guy and spoke perfect English. I informed him of the change of plans, that we had to go to the new Shrine of Saint John Paul II at Divine Mercy.  He said it would take too much time, because it was a long walk, but I told him we could drive right there.  I don’t think he believed me, but off we went and drove right up to the front of the Shrine. 
I didn’t tell him we had a priest meeting us at 8:30, which was the exact time we arrived.  He had never been there and was as amazed as we were at the magnitude of this tribute to St. JP II as well as the fact that we had a personal guide.   He took the camera and we went off with the priest for our private tour and it was great and he followed a little stunned as he told us later.  This is a must if you ever come here but unfortunately it is not finished and they are short of funds and need help to complete the project but I think it will get done.

Father was wonderful but had a doctor’s appointment and had to go to,  so did we, in order to make the 2 shrines we had yet to see and get to the airport on time.  Tomak was a great driver and I just totally relaxed as he chauffeured us to our next stop. 

It is a tradition here to have a slice of "Pope's cake"
It is a tradition here to have a slice of “Pope’s cake”

We arrived at the home of St. JP  II and after a coffee and some Pope cake we went to the church next door first where he was baptized and went to mass most of the time. 

We got to touch his Baptismal font as he did when he first returned here as Pope.   It was pretty special.  I needed a toilette, and when I got back, it was so crowded at the home of St. JP II that we had to leave and head for the shrine  at Kalaweia and the weeping Madonna.

When we finally got up the hill and entered the church, Mass was in progress and Susan and I just went in to attend.  Our Photographer had the camera and we didn’t care or worry, we had what we wanted, Mass and the  Eucharist. After Mass we didn’t have much time but we did get to visit all 13 chapels in the shrine that St. JP II said we all very special in their own way and they were.
Not wanting to go, but knowing we had to, we headed out for the airport about 1 1/2 hours away and our flight back to Paris.  We had decided  that even though we had a free day tomorrow, we were not going anywhere and  were just going to relax before the flight home Thursday.

Our final trip reports...we hope you have enjoyed traveling with us.
Our final trip reports…we hope you have enjoyed traveling with us.

We arrived and managed to find the hotel shuttle and got our room and the luggage we checked here and spent the night in.  I wrote trip reports and Susan started to organize and pack for the trip home.  We had a pizza and some pasta for dinner and a couple glasses of wine and were asleep by 10, I  guess.
Au Revoir;

Love Susan & Tom



June 15th The Cardinal of Krakow

Dzien Dobry;
We slept in a little longer today, since our visit with Cardinal Dziwisz had changed from 9 AM to noon.  If it were 9 AM, we would have missed it since we are finally relaxed after the past month’s journey. 

Mass at Saint Mary's Basilica in Krakow
Mass at Saint Mary’s Basilica in Krakow

I made the army coffee and it wasn’t as messy as I have gotten the procedure down and woke Susan and we checked our e-mails, showered and headed out for Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica.  They had a Mass every 1/2 hour until noon, and the one before us was crowded, as well as ours it was nice to see. 

What do you get for a Cardinal? Flowers seemed like a good choice.
What do you get for a Cardinal? Flowers seemed like a good choice.

Mass, as always, is the best way to start the day and after Mass we stopped at the flower mart in the square and bought some flowers for the Cardinal.   We had brought T-shirts from the Diocese for world youth day, and trying to figure out what to buy a Cardinal was impossible, since we had tried to do this all along our journey.

Father Tomasz gave us a warm greeting.
Father Tomasz gave us a warm greeting and a very special tour

We got to the residence with two minutes to spare and were ushered in to the 2nd floor and the offices. Father Tomasz, the Cardinal’s Episcopal Secretary, heard us and came out immediately to greet us with a big hug and buziaki’s.(kisses)  We haven’t seen each other in over 3 years but it  seemed like yesterday.  The Cardinal was still in with some guest, so Fr.  Tomasz took us on a special tour of the residence. 

He first took us to the Private Chapel of St. John Paul II, where he was ordained and resided before being Pope as the Bishop of Crackow.  He used this chapel for his  office with a desk to one side as Bishop and when in Cracow as Pope.  He  spent many hours praying there, and just being there brought tears to our  eyes.

Fr. Tomasz left us alone for a few private moments as we prayed to the beloved Saint and venerated the relic with his blood.   The  depiction behind the altar follows the life of the Saint and is beautiful. Fr. Tomasz explained it to us and said we could take  pictures knowing we send them out to all of you at night as he has been  following our journey as well.

The window where John Paul II greeted the young people
The window where John Paul II greeted the young people

We then went to the famous Pope’s window, where Saint John Paul II first welcomed the youth of Cracow, arriving to meet him.  This continued each time he was in Cracow, as it became a tradition.  We saw it from where he  stood.  How good is that?

Tom & Sue with Cardinal Dziwisz
Tom & Sue with Cardinal Dziwisz

The Cardinal was done so he came out to greet us, and again, it was just like yesterday from when we met him at a reception after his Mass on Palm Beach. I was not sure if he recognized us, but he smiled as if he remembered, slapping my hand when we first met him in Palm Beach, when I just  wanted to kiss his ring.  Today I finally got to and so did Susan.  She was so nervous being so close again to St. John  Paul’s best friend and confidante of over 40 years.  Who would know him  or love him better better?

A special gift...a rosary given to him by Pope Francis
A special gift…a rosary given to him by Pope Francis

We went into his private office and he went to a box on his desk to get something out and thought otherwise and went into the next room and came back and presented Susan with a Rosary from Pope Francis. He gave her one the last time we met from Saint John Paul II,, I think he remembered.

He gave a Pontificate Medal of Saint John Paul II to me. We were both speechless.  We gave him his flowers and the world youth day T-shirts which he looked over and threw the smaller of the two at Fr. Tomasz.  
The Cardinal has a great sense of humor and I told him he had the devil in him.  Fr. Tomasz reminded him how we met while waiting in line at the reception in Palm Beach waiting for the toilette.  Now you know why I always check out the toilettes wherever we go, because you just know who you are going to meet and where it will take you.
The Cardinal nicknamed me “BIG TOM” and Fr. Tomasz was “LITTLE TOM”.  We spent a couple more minutes and took a photo op and the traditional 3 kiss good bye since the Cardinal had a new Pastor waiting  for him.  He promised a much longer visit next time and we went back to Fr. Tomasz’s office to solidify our dinner plans for tonight.  More hugs and busiakis and we left much elated for the opportunity given us and to have been so close to the life of Saint John Paul II.
When we got to the ground floor and the Guard gave us some literature from the Cardinal and asked us if we wanted to see the exhibition of St. John Paul II.  We thanked him and told him we where here yesterday and saw the whole exhibit and left.

Walking up to Wawel Castle
Walking up to Wawel Castle

Susan had to sit down, I think she was emotionally spent and needed to regroup. We rested and talked for while and then headed for Wawel Castle and the Cathedral where St. JP II said his first Mass.  Talk about tight security and no photos allowed it was even hard for me to sneak one.  We  spent over an hour there and could have spent the day, there is so much to see, but we had not eaten and it was almost 2:30.

Stopped along the way for a bite....great sausage!
Stopped along the way for a bite….great sausage!

We stopped at food stand in the farmers market and had a sausage to hold us over for our 7 PM diner with Fr. Tomasz.  We went back to the apartment and rested before leaving for dinner.  (I’m getting used to this resting)

Dinner with Father Tomasz
Dinner with Father Tomasz

We arrived at the restaurant at 7:00 and Fr. Tomasz shortly after casually dressed in jeans and a shirt.  We discussed dinner and wine for the evening and then proceeded to have a great time, with a lot of laughs and a couple minutes of serious conversation. 

Georgio with Father Tomasz
Georgio with Father Tomasz

Georgio (from Italy) who knew Father, came over to the table to greet him and introduce himself.  He sent  us a Sambuca and I sent him our bill. LOL  He laughed, but he didn’t pick  it up.  Hugs and kisses with Georgio and we departed the restaurant and  walked with Fr. Tomasz for awhile. 

He told us we had to go back to Divine Mercy to see the John Paul Center being built and that it was on our way to Wadowice and Kalwaria, where we were going tomorrow.  He called a priest friend of his and told him we would be there around 8:30 and asked him to meet us and show us around.
It was time to say good bye and we all hugged and buziaki’d, promised to keep in touch and God willing meet again soon.  It was a great night with  a great friend.
Couldn’t get back to the Apartment fast enough and before I could lock the door Susan was sleeping clothes and all, she did manage to get her  shoes off.  That’s my baby, when she’s tired she’s fast.
The Three O’clock Hour of  Mercy
Immerse Yourself  in My Passion
At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially  for sinners; and, if only
for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion,  particularly in My
abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of  great mercy for the
whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal  sorrow. In this hour, I
will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request  of Me in virtue of My
Passion … (Diary, 1320). 
Love, Hugs and  Buziakis,
Susan &  Tom Saint
John Paul II

This is a switch, since The Catholic Travel Guide has posted our whole trip for the 3rd year, I am using one their reports which is below.   Thanks guys.

May God bless  all of you … Always!

Thank you for sharing our 2015 “Personal Pilgrimage” with  us!
Tom & Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL  33418 (USA)
_TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (   


Sunday June 14th: Tom & Sue in Krakow

 Dzien” Dobry

We had a great night’s sleep and I got up first and made some coffee.  That was a job since the coffee maker was absent.  They did have a kettle that boiled water quickly so I made it army style.  Throw the grounds in the boiling water, then filter it.  I made a mess, but the coffee was good.

Susan smelled the coffee and got up. We had no food and wanted to make Mass and have breakfast, so we headed down to the main square.  We were planning to go to Kalwaria and Wadowice, the birthplace of St. John Paul II and hopefully have Mass there.  They are both close to each other and about 35 miles away.  We figured, no problem and then it became a problem, since we found out that the bus took over 3 hours to get there with stops and transfers.  We tried a couple tour agencies and nothing was available until the next day.  We felt like two country bumpkins lost in the city and very stupid after traveling 3000 miles on a precise plan that went without incident.  Now we are standing on a street corner going which way do we go!

Peroiges are a Polish specialty....dumplings stuffed with a  variety of options.
Peroiges are a Polish specialty….dumplings stuffed with a variety of options.

When in doubt, eat. So we headed for a restaurant that we passed that served only peroiges.  For those who don’t know, peroiges are dumplings made with unleavened dough and stuffed with such things as potato, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit.  We each ordered a different kind and waited patiently as we further discussed our dilemma.  The peroiges came and there were a dozen on each plate.  We left when they were gone, after paying the 19 Zlotys or $6.  Did I tell you I love Krakow?

It was very hot today and we were already sweating so we made an executive decision and decided to go to Saint Faustina’s and Divine Mercy.  Sounds easy, but we couldn’t figure out what tram to take and where to get it.  It was the weekend and all the corner tobacco stands that have schedules and sell tickets were closed, as it was, there was hardly a car on the streets.  Have no fear, we took a taxi and 25 minutes later we were at the Shrine.  The cab was 20 Zloty around $6, you should know that by now, it cost more than that to go 2 blocks in a city in a cab and it was air-conditioned.  Did I tell you I love Krakow?

Praying at the hour of Divine Mercy was such a special experience.
Praying here in the Chruch at the hour of Divine Mercy was such a special experience.

This place was spectacular and very spiritual. Everyone there was there to pray and honor Jesus in their own way as well as through the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 PM.  This devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus is a powerful Prayer and take a simple 7 minutes to say each day at 3 if possible.  The chaplet can be said anytime and is a powerful pray for saving souls who have lost their way at the time of death.  Jesus promises to save anyone who says this chaplet  at the time of their deaths no matter how great a sinner they were.

Below there is a link to all the information about Divine Mercy and I pray that all of you who are not familiar with this devotion read it and consider were you want to be for eternity.

Saying divine Mercy in the Chapel at Sister Faustina’s  tomb at 3 PM and knowing that Our Savior was here many times appearing to her is beyond words. The chapel was packed as well as the large Basilica which we found out since we went there for Mass after the Chaplet.  Earlier I had gone to confession and I felt like it was Divine Mercy Sunday all over.

The Saint John Paul Center is being constructed on the grounds a short walk from the major Basilica and we didn’t know, so we missed it but we both decided if we are able to take another trip, Krakow will be on the agenda.

A view of the cell of Saint Faustina (behind glass, of course)
A view of the cell of Saint Faustina (behind glass, of course)

We visited the cell of St. Faustina where she slept and did penance and was  visited by Jesus many, many times.  There is a book about her life and Susan finished it and Said it was wonderful.  It had to be for she read it in a couple days and Susan doesn’t take time to read  a book often.

When we left the grounds and headed for we don’t know where we walked down the hill and hoped to find a cab or something.  The tobacco was closed, but the tram tracks were across the street and a nice gentleman explained to us that we could get back to Old Town on the #10 but we had 1 minute to get there.  I’ll never forget Susan running and trying to stop the tram from leaving and watching it leave her in the dust.  We stood at the station and tried to figure to what next when a nice young lad explained to us that you can buy tickets on the tram but not the bus and there is a board telling when the next tram #10, which was ours, was coming, 10 minutes to go.  The tram came and we were now pros.  At the stop we needed to make, I led the way through a maze of exits and we were back at our apartment in 10 minutes.  I now feel like we conquered this city!

We had drink and we took another shower to cool off and after relaxing for awhile we went to dinner.  We walked to the square and it was crowded so we went off to a side street and ate at a great polish rest. We met a great couple from Denmark or Norway and took pictures of them and e-mailed them to him since he left his camera at the hotel.  We also met another group at another table and had a great conversation.  This town is very friendly and almost everyone speaks some English or is very fluent in it. They even have American TV in our language, which is where we ended the night in our bed as we fell asleep to a Tom Cruise classic.


Saturday, June 13


Tom & Sue: From Paris to Krakow

Dzien’ Dorby:   
Well we made it.  We are in Krakow.  Getting here was not bad after we got rid of the car.  I was honest and showed them a small scratch I made in Zaragossa and they were ruthless charging us almost 310 Euro for repairs.  I could have painted the whole car at Earl Scheib’s for that.  I went in and argued with the manager about the cost for an up grade when they were going to give us a downgrade for the type car we paid for and lost that battle too.  Oh well we will see when we get home who wins when I get the credit card company going.    
We checked in to our flight at the wrong window and got scolded because we we paid for premium and were in the regular lane.  She weighed the luggage and it was 2 kilos over and she wanted 36 Euro’s more.  I told her to wait a minute and I opened the suitcase and whipped out the Publix bag that already had about 5 pounds of stuff in it.  The best 99 cents ever spent on that green Publix bag.  I’m going to send them a picture.   
We went through security and after they checked every tube of stuff we had they let us through.  I had to take off my shoes and belt after I set the alarm off.  My pants almost fell down and Susan took a picture and Susan was accosted by 2 security guards and we had to erase the picture even though they were laughing as well as everyone else.     
We went to the wifi room and plugged in, and none of the plugs were working so we went to go down to the lower lounge to try there.  The escalator was coming up so Susan said to press the button and it will go the other way, so I did and it stopped and nothing happened after multiple presses of the button, so we ran and got a beer and went back to the upper lounge hoping someone would fix it.  People were no too happy walking up that huge flight of stairs.   
We had entertainment on the plane with some college kids doing their pledging and it was funny and we arrived in Krakow right on time. Our bag was first off and we went to the curb to wait for our ride I thought I had confirmed but didn’t so after 30 minutes we hopped a cab.  A nice new Jaguar and I enjoyed the ride in the BACK SEAT.  I didn’t have any Polish money, it didn’t matter they take euro’s.   
The hotel didn’t look like much from the out side but we were very surprised at the space and the gigantic bed.  Couldn’t wait to give that a spin.  We ventured out for Polish money, Zlotys water, some wine,  juice and coffee and vodka just to have on hand.  We bought a bag of chips but that was it for food, I’m not eating a sandwich for a month nor cooking in Krakow.     
We didn’t explore to much because my leg hurt and we were both tired so we went around the corner and found a cute little Italian rest.  We ordered 2 pizzas and a chicken and broccoli that was absoultly the best I have ever eaten.  The didn’t have a liquor licence yet so we took it to go and went back to our apartment and had our wine with dinner.  Our shopping spree and dinner cost almost 150 Zolty, which works out to around $40.      Did I tell you I love krakow?   
That night was the last trip report we sent out so we will catch up before we leave. We have been out a lot.     

Prayer to Our Lady of Czestochowa

O Mother of God, Immaculate Mary, to thee do I dedicate my body and soul, all my prayers and deeds, my joys and sufferings, all that I am an all that I have. With a joyful heart I surrender myself to thy love. To thee will I devote my services of my own free will for the salvation of mankind, and for the help of the Holy Church whose Mother thou art.
From now on my only desire is to do all things with thee, through thee, and for thee. I know I can accomplish nothing by my own strength, whereas thou can do everything that is the will of thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Thou are always victorious. Grant, therefore, O Helper of the Faithful, that my family, my parish, and my country might become in truth the Kingdom where thou reignest in the glorious presence God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.


June 11th: Tom & Sue visit Chartres, France

Bon Jour:
Well, we leave tomorrow for Krakow, and today we decided to again make only one stop before going to our airport hotel and repack for Poland.
We survived the night without incident, although I did have to go down stairs around 3 to get a pill for my knee.  Susan woke hearing me climbing down the stairs “backwards” for safety and so that my feet would fit on the winding steps, so we sat up for a few minutes and went back to sleep.
The Cathedral of Chartes dominates the town
Breakfast at 8:00 and we were off to Chartres via the back roads of France. The ride was great and the sun was shining.  We parked in the underground lot near the Cathedral and walked the short distance to our destination which was under re-construction. 
Some of the magnificent stained glass windows...the color knows as "Chartes Blue"
Some of the magnificent stained glass windows…the color knows as “Chartes Blue”
Susan and I both love these grand old places of worship but the worship has gone by the wayside as tourism has taken over. 
There is no reverence shown by most of the visitors, who are only there to see and photograph the beautiful stained glass windows throughout the Cathedral.
After walking around the building, we finally found the entrance to the crypt area
After walking around the building, we finally found the entrance to the crypt area

We knew there was a Mass soon, and finally asked, knowing they wouldn’t have it in the main area.  We were directed to the crypt via outside and after walking totally around the building we found it.  The man at the door wouldn’t let us in because it was 15 minutes before mass.  That didn’t make sense, neither did arguing with him, so we patiently waited until a little old lady came and was immediately let in.

Entrance was strictly controlled
Entrance was strictly controlled

I think this guy thought we were just tourists, maybe because I had a camera around my neck, and just wanted picture.  Reluctantly he let us in and when mass started we saw him checking us out as we sat in the front seat of the crypt.  It was cold in there and we were glad we had brought a jacket which we put on quickly.  Mass was beautiful in this unique setting well below all the hustle and bustle of the upstairs.

The streets of ChartresWe decided to have a pizza at one of the local cafes and realized that we just fell into the tourist trap routine, but we didn’t care at this point.  The pizza was good and we left Chartres without having to worry about food, since we still had a rather large sandwich in the back seat.
We arrived at our hotel around 3:00 and spent the next 4 hours, after we emptied the car of everything, packing and re-packing.  We were only bringing one suitcase and there weight limits so decisions had to be made.  We checked out the weather and it is hot in Poland, so we packed light stuff and a heavier jacket and whatever else we need we will buy.
It will be nice not to have to worry about driving again until we get home which is only a week away. 
Time for bed we will see you in Poland.
Au Revoir

June 10: L’lle-Bouchard, France

Bon Soir:
On Friday, we will be traveling to Krakow (Cracow), Poland and I don’t have a clue what my greetings will be yet.
But today is Wednesday!   After a good night’s sleep, we were still very tired this morning.  I think we are wearing out.  We showered and loaded the car, had a lite breakfast and headed out to a very special Shrine to Our Blessed Mother in L’Ile Bouchard, France, which we had visited on one of our earlier  pilgrimages. 
It was cold and raining,  very difficult driving at times, so we took the back roads and avoided the highways and toll roads.  It was a peaceful ride through the countryside  except for a few very narrow roads which I could tell Susan wasn’t too happy about (with her “total silence).  I kept telling her that there were no  cliffs and I could pull on the grass at the shoulder of the road if I had to …  but she didn’t hear me or elected not to respond to  me.
We were running early for Mass so I stopped in the village before L’Ile Bouchard to have a cup of Hot Java to warm us up.  There were people around the Cafe’ and I really wanted to show off my Grey Cargo Pants that are now Rust  Colored because of the bleach I used as laundry soap when we were at Rosa’s Inn  (testing to see if you remember!).  I realized today that my cargo’s are now actually “tye-dyed”, but I am wearing them again tomorrow so that we don’t have to do laundry again (left the bleach with Rosa)!

We lit a candle for all your we always do.
We lit a candle for all your intentions…as we always do.

We had changed our aggressive plan for today and decided to make this our only stop and, hopefully, make it with the bad weather in time for the 11:15 Mass.  There is a beautiful  story below about the apparitions here …but this Shrine had special meaning  for me. 

It was here that I first started to pray for Karina to Saint John  Paul II before he was canonized … a young girl we had met at our Cathedral many, many years ago who was severely challenged in many ways .. and I  Prayed to Saint John Paul for the first time, here, for Karina to speak and  have a normal life.  Six years later it happened…..and Karina speaks! 

So,  when we entered the Church of St. Giles and Our Lady of Prayer at L’Ile Bouchard  Church today, I immediately saw a Side Chapel Shrine in honor of Saint John Paul II and went to his Shrine to thank him.  It was a special moment for me and it was emotionally rewarding to thank him.  I know that Our Blessed Mother  also had a hand in it so I thanked her too.

A group of school children came in to Pray the Rosary with their Religious Instructors as well as for Mass and  we figured out that they were going to receive their First Holy Communion this  weekend.  During the Homily, the young Pastor of the Church instructed  them on the how to receive Communion. Several times the adults in the Congregation would laugh at Father’s demonstrations of what not to do … don’t  hold both hands over your head … don’t say “Merci” instead of “Amen” … don’t  grab the Host and start chewing on it, etc.
After Mass we sat in the back  to finish our morning prayers and the Father came over to greet us.  He was very glad that we had come from America to the Shrine and astonished when we  told him that this was our second time.  We told him we were going to  Krakow to visit with Cardinal Dziwisz and his Episcopal Secretary, Father Tomasz  and he asked us to tell him that the Relic of Saint John Paul II that the  Cardinal had gifted him with the Shrine of Our Lady of Pray in L’Ile  Bouchard was being encased alongside a relic of Mother Theresa in an elorabate setting and would soon be installed in the Parish Church …before the upcoming Synod.  We promised to deliver his message.
We went for a coffee and  hopefully a toilette down the street so we could Pray our Rosary calmly back at  the Shrine.  The Cafe with Creme was one of the best we  have had.  We finished and returned to the Parish Church of St. Giles.
We were all alone back at the Shrine before the place of the apparition where we had lit candles and entered  your intentions and peacefully spent at least another 1/2 hour (if not more, but who is counting) with Our Blessed Mother.
When we left we programmed the queen for our B&B and added a stop for a restaurant so we could eat along  the way.  Didn’t happen, so we stopped in a supermache and purchased today’s lunch, tonight’s snack, and tomorrow whatever. We had food  and a bottle of wine of  course.
The ride to our B&B was 2  hours and I finally got tired of the rain and the sound.  I wanted to jump out of the car but managed to make it there. Susan felt the  same.

Working on today's trip report
Working on today’s trip report

This B&B is lovely and our accommodations are great although, a bit dangerous with the spiral  staircase.  I’ll bring a bucket up because once I’m up that’s it until the morning. We worked on these reports and after a bite to eat we retired for the  evening. 
Au Revoir;

Click here to learn more about the apparitions to Marte Robin at L’lle-Bouchard, France


In complete faith, you received the message of the Archangel  Gabriel
and became the mother of Jesus, the only Son of God:
Teach us to  pray, in order to grow in faith.
At the Visitation, you exulted with joy in  the Magnificat:
Teach us to give thanks to  God.

At Cana, you asked  Christ to provide wine for the wedding-feast:
Teach us to intercede in  favor of our brothers and sisters.
Standing at the foot of the Cross, you  suffered with Jesus for the love of
Teach us to welcome the mercy  of the Father.

At Pentecost, you  prayed with the Apostles when they received the
plenitude of the Holy  Spirit:
Teach us to ask the Spirit to help us bear witness to the  Gospel.
You are the Mother of the Church and the Protectress of families.  May you
watch over each of our families:
Teach us to love each other  faithfully.

You are the Mother  of humanity and the Patroness of France. Open our
country to the universal  love of God:
Teach us to serve with  generosity.

Oh Mary, conceived  without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you !
Our Lady of Prayer,  teach us to  pray.

December 8,  1999

Archbishop of  Tours

Love Susan & Tom
May God  bless all of you … Always!

Thank you for sharing our 2015 “Personal Pilgrimage” with  us!
Tom & Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL  33418 (USA)
_TSMelillo13@aol.com_ (


June 7: Tom & Sue travel to Lekeitio & Shrine of Saint Michael

Bueno Dias:
Sure you thought we were going to take the day off, we almost did but  it’s Sunday and going to Mass every day doesn’t count as much as we just wanted to stay in our apartment.  We woke up fully refreshed, as Susan slept on the large sofa and I had the bed. I think she got the better  deal.   I made breakfast with the vulture eggs we bought and some ham and cheese and toast and a pot of coffee and we headed out at 9 AM  in order to make the 10:30 Mass.
This shrine was only 24 miles away but we didn’t know what to expect as far as the drive.  It was a good thing we left early, the road was awful although the ride was beautiful along the northern coast of Spain. The narrow roads were treacherous and the bikers and walkers didn’t make it any easier.  Susan developed a headache early on and I  also did 1/2 way through.
This ride made the Amalfi Coast look tame with so many blind corners,  S-Turns and the like …  that at the end I just wanted to jump out of the car. We had to park over a mile from the Basilica of Our Lady  of Lekeitio and walk back.  I didn’t care, I was out of the car yet,  I was plotting our course back for the next 2 hours, there had to be a  better way.

Today was first Holy communion
Today was first Holy communion

The church was quite spectacular and old, right near the  ocean.  Today was their First Holy Communion Service and the children were precious…..The adults, another story.  Mass was hard to follow  since the priest kept stopping at the most important parts and would talk for 5 minutes.  We were hoping he was instructing the children if not  he needs a friend to talk to.
The children went to receive Communion the same time everyone went to  the side altars to receive from the EMOCH’s.  They needed some guidance  from some of the ushers to pull this off properly but Susan and I kept  our mouths shut and sat there.

The Corpus Christi Procession through town
The Corpus Christi Procession through town

At the end of Mass they began the procession of the Blessed Sacrament into the town.  We took a couple of photos before the church emptied, saw the famous miraculous statue of sailors and made our way along the route. We snapped a couple of photos in the Basilica Plaza but we  didn’t want to spend anymore time than we had to because we had another 2  stops so we made our way back to the car and headed out, gratefully via  another route. 

Winding roads, once again
Winding roads, once again

The next stop was only 12 miles away in Markina-Xemein (The Parish  Hermitage of San Michel the ArchAngel and Saint Pallonia (the local Saint).  But it took forever with construction and treacherous “S  Turn” (Welcome to Basque Country roads).  I think we were both thinking it’s time to go home to our cozy apartment. 

Tom standing under the giant rocks
Tom standing under the giant rocks

We were glad we went to this famous shrine, where it is said that St. Michael cast Satan into hell and placed the rocks on top that are believed to be 40  million years old.  As I walked under them, I was hopeful that they had  at least another 1/2 hour to go before they crumbled.   
(See  Photos.)
Our next stop that we had planned … we skipped.  We were done for the day.  We headed back to our “hacienda apartment” and arrived by 2:00 P.M. after 5 hours it took us to attend Sunday Mass and drive a total  of 60 miles.
Our first line of business after arriving “home” was a Sunday cocktail  to get rid of the terror shakes from the drive up and down.  Susan then  began to expedite the drying of our laundry via the hair drying in our  apartment. Our laundry had been out on the “dry rack” for two days and  was still wet.

Susan typed our daily trip report while I chilled out on the couch.
Susan typed our daily trip report while I chilled out on the couch

I began preparing for our dinner this evening before I “faded” and Susan continued trying to type as I lie here on the couch “chilling” after a  grueling drive.  I realize I love this sofa … maybe I’ll let Susan have the bed tonight and I’ll take the oversized couch with my “body  pillow”.

The makings of a great dinner
The makings of a great dinner

We had a great dinner of steak, mushrooms (for me), corn (for Susan on her potato), nuked potatoes and a nice bottle of 2008 “something Tinto”. 

After cleaning up, we locked up our apartment for the last evening, sat and tried to find English speaking TV for about 30 seconds and retired for the evening … looking forward to tomorrow.
In the morning, we are back in France.
So, Au Revoir … Adios from  Espana!

Hail, White Lily of the ever peaceful  and glorious Trinity! Hail Vermilion
Rose, the Delight of Heaven, of whom, the  King of Heaven was born, and by
whose milk He was nourished! Do thou forever  feed our souls by the
effusions of your divine influences.
Love Susan &  Tom


June 6: Tom & Sue go to Loyola (and do some shopping as well)

Buenos Dias:
The 4 of us did well in the bed last night although 1/2 of our pillows spent most of the night on the floor.  I think we fell asleep that way and didn’t move.  We were still tired at 9 AM when we awoke.  At  11:00, I made eggs and toast and our second pot of coffee.  We weren’t moving fast today, if at all.  We needed a break and 3 nights in this perfect B&B was what the doctor ordered.
We needed food since tomorrow was Sunday and everything is closed on Sundays, so we decided to go back to the store we went to yesterday and get what we needed.  The store was in Azpetia, the birthplace of St. Ignatius, and only 15 minutes away. We arrived there just before it re-opened at 3:30, and by the time we walked to the Basilica, the door was open.

We lit a candle for your intentions here in Loyola
We lit a candle for your intentions here in Loyola

We went in to say our morning prayers and Divine Mercy, it was cold in  there, so we decided to say the Rosary on the way home. 

We lit a candle  for your intentions and departed for the store.

Stocking up on groceries for the next couple of days.
Stocking up on groceries for the next couple of days.

We stocked up for 2 days. We bought some calamari and fettuccine for tonight and a couple steaks for tomorrow. They with both go well with the  salad I was going to make with Rosa’s lettuce. We were home by 5:15 and still exhausted.  Susan typed yesterday’s report as I dictated and cooked.

Dinner came out delicioso
Dinner came out delicioso

Dinner came out delicioso, if I do say so myself.  

There was enough left over so we gave it to Rosa and Mike, later she brought us over desert. 


Maybe I should learn to read Spanish!
Maybe I should learn to read Spanish!

During the cooking, I put laundry in with what I thought was detergent and was surprised when the black socks came out brown and my gray cargo’s are now rust colored. LOL, I  had bought bleach!  The whites came out fine … I had laundered them separately.
After dinner we crashed and tonight Susan ended up on the huge sofa since the bed seemed to have shrunk and the body pillows were fighting each other.

Buenos Noches with Amor!
O most Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of  gentleness and mercy, I, an unworthy sinner, fly to you with sentiments of  confidence and love. I begyou who stood close to your most beloved Son as He  hung upon the cross, graciously to remain near me, a miserable sinner, and  near all priests who throughout the whole Church will offer Holy Mass this  day. By your gracious favor help me to offer a sacrifice which is worthy and acceptable in sight of the most high and undivided Trinity.
Love Susan and  Tom