Today was a strange day, although a good strange. We checked out of the smelly Roses Hotel(it wasn’t that bad) around 10:30 and headed for that treacherous journey back to a highway. The worst part of the day was the shower, I have been in small ones before but this one was tough, I could lift my arms to wash my hair and I just dropped soap on the rest of me because I could hardly move. (I’ll shower again later)
The drive wasn’t as bad as coming in, maybe it was the time of day and people weren’t in such a hurry to get home. The traffic was lighter and the people more friendly—-probably all terrified tourists—-anyway with Sue in the trunk and the 2 GPS’s off I enjoyed the beautiful drive.
Susan managed to take 20 pictures with the camera off and I’m sure we will have to trash that many more. My poor baby was still terrified and those 9 miles seemed like an eternity for her. Eventually we reached the highway which was all new and 4 lanes and no traffic and I didn’t even speed, we just enjoyed the scenery as we went.
We arrived in Oliveto Citra at about 11:45 and checked into our new hotel. This was new, pack and unpack within an hour and a half and we didn’t care because we had to catch up with business and reorganize our clothes. Before we knew it, it was after 2 and I called our new friends that we hadn’t met so we could get together. We planned to meet in the square in front of the church, before mass, and the gate to the old castle, where the apparitions of Our Blessed Mother happen usually on the first Saturday of the month, that’s tomorrow and our contact here is one of the first seers to have the visions.
From our balcony we have a direct view of the castle and the church. We are meeting Carmine and probably Raffaele tonight who Susan had contacted prior to our trip and he has set everything in motion for us to learn all about Our Lady Queen of the Castle.
We tried to power nap before going out and that really didn’t work but we were excited and refreshed anyway. We decided to drive to the square, which was only 1500 ft away, because it was very cold, and it was a good thing that we did. After trying to park in 3 different spots we just left the car in a large area and made our way to the square in search of Carmine. He was hard to spot; we weren’t, because of the big T on our forehead. He was very young and very nice and being from Chicago his English was very good although he has not been here for over 25 years. Carmine was one of the first seers as well as his twin brother Dino, who is back in Chicago.
The first thing we did was to go and meet Raffaele, from the foundation, at his office. He recognized Susan and jumped from his chair to greet her and finally said hello to me….LOL. He is a wonderful and humble man and unfortunately he had to work and we headed out to meet Anna, who is the mom of two of the other visionaries, there were 14 in total that first night and two of them did not experience anything. When I called Carmine earlier we had planned to go to the 6 pm mass at the parish church…..which was in the process of being painted…..so he took us and Anna in our car and we drove down the hill to the church of St. Francis which was very appropriate for the feast day of St. Francis.
Mass was longggggggggggggggg. Not just the homily which the priest repeated 3 times and again at the end of the mass, but just getting the incense and candles to Altar at the right time as the 8 young altar boys, couldn’t figure out who was up next. It was really cute. The real cute pudgy one reminded me of me when I was an altar boy.
As we left the church we ended up with another body in the car. This older woman couldn’t find her ride and we said we would take her with us. (and yes this car does fit 5 people). I opened up the trunk to put everything in the back seat for more room and said to the women she had to get in, She didn’t speak English but knew what I was saying and began to laugh, she was precious. Back at the square we all said goodbye and Carmine took us to his cousin’s restaurant, and Sue and I had a wonderful meal of the food of the region (no donkey). Carmine has medical issues and has a strict diet and couldn’t join us and when Raffaele came by he couldn’t stay either.
Carmine came back after 9:00 (we are usually asleep by now) and we sat out front in the square and talked for over an hour. He told us all about the apparitions and how he felt and told us of the miracles that have happened here, it was very interesting and enlightening. We finally bid farewell and planned to meet at the foundation in the morning at 9. The ride to the hotel took 1 minute and 10 minutes later we were in bed. Good night folks.
Susan and Tom