Before I start today’s adventure, we want to thank all of you for your concern about our colds. We felt a little better today and stopped at another Pharmacy and the pills the doc gave us seem to be helping even more. We decided last night to take a break and rearranged our schedule so we have an extra night in a great hotel on the Aegean Sea on Sunday. A day of rest and probably some laundry should do us good. We were up at 5:30 am, not because we couldn’t sleep, there was a baby in the room next to us and did it have a set of lungs. If the mother didn’t feed it soon I was going to go over and do it, finally the crying subsided and the alarm went off 15 minutes later, oh well.
We had breakfast in our room and, while discussing our day, we realized that we would probably not get this report out today since we were having dinner at a friend’s home that we had not seen in 20 years (almost to the date, as she told us). So you will probably see this Trip Report some time tomorrow (which would then be Saturday). We are packing the car and ready to head out on today’s great adventure.
So on to today, the 12th day of our “personal pilgrimage” … Friday, September 27th (just to keep you up to the date). Our focus today was on St. Anthony of Padua … a favorite of Susan’s since childhood and she couldn’t wait for this part of our trip.
The first stop we made was in Camposampiero … about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Padua to the north. Our plan was to make Morning Mass and it worked … we arrived early, in fact. In this place St. Anthony had wished to have a place of peace, quiet and solitude where he could Pray, contemplate, study and do his writings. At his request, a small cell was built for St. Anthony in a Walnut Tree. This is where he spent his time knowing death was near.
Also at this Shrine is what is called “The Cell of the Vision” where Jesus Christ, as an Infant, visited St. Anthony and he held Jesus in his arms. It is quite an experience to kneel in front of the Cell. We had enough time before Mass so Susan could write our Special Intentions for the day and to explore part of the Shrine.
After Mass, we walked the stairs to the Cell of the Vision and explored the rest of the Shrine and the grounds. We both realized how very little we really knew about Saint Anthony’s short life, but we read stories before and during our pilgrimage and we feel Blessed that we were able to walk/drive in his footsteps. (Please see the wonderful stories below). It amazed both of us that in the very short time St. Anthony was a Priest, he influenced so many people … both of his time and as he continued and continues to influence people throughout the world. He died at age 36 and was canonized within a very short period of time after his death. He is considered a “Doctor of the Church” and his corrupt tongue, larnyx and jaw survived the total decay of his body after death. During the visit to the Major Shrine in Padua to St. Anthony, we were hopeful that we would be able to view his Relics.
We then traveled on the Arcella, the second Shrine on the Pilgrimage. Once again, we were able to park in front. We paid homage to him … for this was the place where St. Anthony died on his way back to Padua at his request. From there, we made our way to the Basilica in Padua. Not knowing what to expect, we parked in a large parking garage. It was very crowded with people as we entered Padua so we thought that would be our safest bet. We left the parking garage and we walked … and we walked … and we walked. Along the way, however, we were able to stop in a couple of wonderful Churches that we had not known about.
We finally arrived at the Basilica of St. Anthony and we were utterly amazed. If you’ve ever been there, you will understand. If not, we hope that you will be able to visit Padua some day in the future. We walked around the Basilica with our mouths open … in complete awe. The Basilica is currently under re-construction for the 750th Anniversary of the death of St. Anthony and the celebrations being planned.
We were still able to see the most things in the Shrine. Most importantly, we got to walk before the Tomb of St. Anthony and then walked behind it to Pray and venerate the back of his tomb. We entered the chapel of the Relics and saw the tongue, larynax and jaw of the Saint as well as relic’s from other Saint’s. (Photos) Even though photos were not allowed I manage to snap a few, only getting scolded twice. On our way through, near the exit, a priest just seemed to appear as we marveled at the depiction of Christ in one of the side chapels. He had us come in and gave us a blessing and sprinkled us with holy water (I assume this is for all pilgrims).
Finished we walked and walked back to our car and headed for Reggio Emilia to our friend’s home and a night of joy, laughter and good Italian food, and we were not disappointed. Graziana Bertignon (another GB, we’ll call her GB2) stayed with us in Pompano as an exchange student 20 years ago and she hadn’t changed a bit. Still sweet and vibrant and always laughing and smiling and her husband Mario was the same. (The perfect couple).
It was their son, Alessandro’s, birthday, so we had this marvelous family dinner together although Alessandro was playing away from the table most of the time. He just turned 9. We ate and drank and ate and drank and ate and drank and ate and drank. That’s how many courses we had, she had told us we were having lasagna…..but we are in Italy and that was only the second course.
Now…….I thought I could eat but Mario can really eat and I weigh at least 80 pounds more than he does and he has no stomach or waist. Only to be young and athletic again! After a night of crazy laughter, we talked about everything, but we knew we needed sleep and had to bid farewell, all of us hoping it wouldn’t be so long before we met again. It was almost 11 and 5 hours past our bedtime. Gb2 dropped us off at our hotel and it took 20 minutes to say goodbye. Finally we headed to our room and were asleep in minutes. nig zz ht nizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
God Bless all of you Susan and Tom