Thursday, August 8, 2013
St. Anne, St. Anne...
Today (8/7/13) I actually didn't wake up for mass, whoops! Father Shawn won't let me hear the end of it. I also missed the group picture, the old people were upset with me hahahaWe Ate breakfast then got on the bus to go to Old Quebec City, which actually looks like a very clean version of New Orleans. Our fearless leader, Corrine, a tiny feisty Italian old woman, led us on a tour to a few of her favorite churches in the city. I got to light a candle in every church we went to to pray for all of the intentions I have been carrying with me on this pilgrimage.We left the Old Quebec City to head to St. Anne de Beaupré, which is the largest shrine to St. Anne in North America. Blessed Pope John Paul II visited the shrine and blessed the statue and said that whatever intention a Pilgram brings to the statue will be answered. Behind the huge statue of St. Anne holding baby Jesus is a relic of St. Anne's arm bone. To see it was kind of incredible...the arm that held Mary and Jesus. Dang.
All of the people on this trip are hilarious. One of the ladies on the trip said I should pray for a man. She told me to say, "St. Anne, St. Anne, bring me a man as fast as you can!" Needless to say, I prayed this to the arm bone...I prayed for God's plan for me and my future spouse and our vocations. I really love St Anne, she's so good. Can you imagine what she was like? She had the perfect daughter, so she had to have been a fabulous mother.We took a little tour of the church and learned all of the meaning behind the mosaics on the floors, walls, and ceilings. Every single pew had a different animal carved onto the side of it. Every single thing in that church has a meaning. The ceiling is a mosaic of the life of St. Anne and Jociam and Mary. In the church down the stairs, there is a huge chapel. Ahh, it's Immaculate! The mosaics and tiles are all shades of blue and there are incredible paintings of the Saints. The paintings were like nothing I've ever seen before; they were so modern and life like and the colors were bright and rich. It literally looked like you could reach out your hand an touch them. I just can't even think of words to describe how beautiful they were.In the back of the chapel was a statue of St. Anne with another relic that you could venerate. (Venerate- to kiss/honor). It was truly a remarkable experience. Outside of the shrine was a gift shop, a place with a Priest to bless the items you buy, life size stations of the cross, replicas of the Holy Stairs, and many more things. This really sweet lady, Ms. Debbie, was going to climb the holy stairs alone.. So I went with her. (Flashback: I went to Rome when I was in the 3rd grade (2001) to see my Godfather be ordained a Deacon at the Vatican. While we were there my sister climbed the Holy Stairs on her knees). So I was able to climb the replica of the holy stairs on my knees while saying certain prayers on them. I carried my intentions up the stairs to especially pray for all my friends and family who are suffering. After the stairs, we had to get back on the bus to the madonna house. We watched the beginning of "The Way" and I wrote some of my postcards. Once I got off the bus, I had a wonderful chat with a couple from New Hampshire. Maria and Vic Castallano are literally one of the most beautiful couples I have ever met. I really love them and I hope and pray to have a marriage like theirs. The way they communicate and love each other can easily be compared to the Holy Family. They just listened to me and spoke to me with such concern, kindness, and true interest. They told me to keep traveling and to keep having an open heart and not to get sucked into the rat race of society. They recommended I listen to Matthew Kelley (A Catholic speaker) to confirm the life that I live is a path to holiness and will help me not worry about bills or insurance- God will provide for me. It was so comforting. I also told them about how I am discerning Missionary life and going on a Come and See retreat next week. I asked them to pray for my parents openness. Maria asked me how I knew that Missionary life would be good for me. I explained how I grew up with a family who love to volunteer and serve, my mother and grandmother have been wonderful role models in my life. I also told her that when I was freaking out about it, I went to mass and the reading was "let the dead bury the dead" (Foreshadow: low and behold - the same Gospel would be read at the next mornings mass). Jesus calls us to take up our cross, leave it all behind, and follow Him. I hope that I can answer this call with brave conviction and I know that if this is my calling, Jesus will give me and my parents the graces to see through it!Anyway, I relaxed a little bit and went with some older ladies to the gift shop then to watch the Rosary walk and then to Adoration in the little stone chapel.After we had a little party for one of the kids who turned 18. So we played catch phrase and sang a little bit, it was a blast! These New England folks remind me of my family, they are wild and rowdy and soooo funny.