Saturday, October 16, 2010

Marguerite has been really moved by the pilgrimage. In a quiet moment as I was sitting in the chapel at the Irish College - I reflected with gratitude on my daughter’s spiritual growth which is the culmination of years of Catholic tradition.

Watching religious walking the streets amidst the hustle and bustle brings a real feeling of joy and peace.
Another highlight is sitting down at night and sharing the day with the other pilgrims.
Listening to the sounds of the didgeridoo while looking up at the dome of St. Peter’s through the umbrella pine in the courtyard of the Vatican Museum was surreal.


The cars are fabulous.
With a car this size why bother parallel  park,
just drop it in wherever it fits.

Finding the Tortoise Fountain on which Miranda had completed an assignment earlier in the year was an like finding a needle in a hay stack – but as blessed as this pilgrimage has been when we looked for it – it was just around the corner. What a God moment

Wendy Fisher-Hudson and I on the journey to St Benedict's Monastery

Special moments with friends

Heidi and Charlotte catching up with Sister Jo Brady PhD, ACU lecturer in Canberra.

Heidi catching up with dear family friend Sister Alice Sullivan who works in
Mudgee and Gulgong, NSW

Pilgrims not tourists

Bishop Michael Putney of Townsville Diocese, Bishop Joe Grech from the Sandhurst Diocese celebrated Mass with and Bishop Brady of Port Pirie in our local church, Our Lady of Guadeloupe. Today, Saturday 16th is the feast day of Margaret Mary of Alocoque of the Sacred Heart.
Bishop Michael related that the date he arrived in Alocoque was the anniversary of the day Mary MacKillop left after her pilgrimage there. She had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and wanted to be named Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart but was given the name Sister Mary of the Cross. She had a great devotion to the Kingship of Christ because of the Cross. He became one of us. He is the head of the body, and we the fullness of Him who fills the whole world.
We are pilgrims not tourists.

Bishop Joe said it was wonderful to be with so many people from all over the world. With our huge family in Christ from every corner of the world we are gathering to honor our first Australian Saint. Australia is such a young country of 200 years and the world is recognising our Mary MacKillop influence not only in Australia but her effect globally.

Any thing is possible in Rome

A note from Lynn O'Flynn -
Today is day six – rest day at last, not that I am wanting rest from this most wonderful rediscovery of the roots of my faith.  The highlight for me was being in the room where St Ignatius died – in there was a painting of the Holy Family comprising Joseph, Mary and the toddler baby Jesus with his playmate, John. 
Joy of  joys, I met up unexpectedly with a classmate from Mt Carmel, Yass, Jan Stewarts – here in the city of Rome anything is possible. 
Herbie and I are off to the Colosseum today - I love the anchient history that oozing out of each crevice and corner – I am in heaven!

Haunting melody; truly beautiful

An Indigenous Concert hosted by Ambassador to the Holy See, Tim Fisher, was held Friday evening, this included the ACU MacKillop dancers and the Torres Strait Islander dancers.

It was a proud moment when we witnessed the Indigenous Dancers perform for the many dignitaries on the Terrace of the Vatican Museum flanked by Michelangelo’s magnificent dome. They danced and sang. The didgeridoo player was amazing - he played the sound of the kookaburra, then the kangaroo and made us all laugh as he imitated the term we in Australia know as "road kill".

The dances were well received and several of the songs were played by violins and other classical instruments accompanying the didgeridoo. The haunting melody was truly beautiful; it spoke deeply to my spirit of the mystery and depth of the Aboriginal people.

Cheering on the Josephites

As we waited for the gates to be opened the at the Vatican Museum for the Indigenous Concert, the Josephite Sisters arrived wearing the distinctive blue pashmina they were each presented with.
They were all so excited to be together to share the canonisation of Mother Mary of the Cross. Many of the Sisters have not been out of Australia before so this is a very wonderful time for them. As they walked through the crowd we Australians cheered them on with much pride and gratitude.

Supermarkets are fun too!

A little grocery shopping was necessary for some gluten free biscuits and laundry powder. It was so much fun checking out the supermarket. We even got to queue - small things amuse small minds! But the variety of foods and the display of the cheese and salami was fabulous.
As we were paying, there was a glass with holy pictures in it. One of the pictures was of Mary Maddelena - she was the patron of healing. The church was just around the corner so we went and said a prayer for all the people who had asked us to pray for them. We also thanked God for Mark's work as a doctor in Bega.
In Rome it seems that everywhere you look you find the tangible presence of God.

There are many gypsies around the tourist areas of Rome.
At the first drop of rain they are there selling umbrella, hats at the first glimpses of sunshine, necklaces and scarves no matter what the weather.

In awe of the Pope's cathedral

Miranda Evans was in awe of the splendor and majestic beauty of the Lateran Basilica.

Saint John Lateran was first Christian church to be built inside the walls of Rome, and remains the Pope's own cathedral as Bishop of Rome and the first Papal residence.

Miranda is having a wonderful time on the pilgrimage with mum Marguerite. For the rest of us older pilgrims it is terrific to be able to share our journey with the young ones.

Danielli our guide accompanied us again today. We were really blessed to have him. He is an archaeologist and a history scholar.  He is also a great man of faith and was very capable of extending his wisdom to us.

After our visit to St John Lateran, which is the church of the life of Christ, we went to the Basilica of Santa Croce in Jerusalem - Church of the True Cross. As you arrive at this church you are met by an imposing staircase. This Holy staircase is believed to be the actual steps that Jesus climbed the day He was sentenced to death. Tradition holds that the stairs were sent from Jerusalem to Rome by Saint Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine in 334 A.D. This was a very moving experience that caused many of us to weep. In a chapel above the stairs is a piece of the true cross and one of the nails used in Jesus' crucifixion. 

We are all so amazed at the things we have done and seen over the days we have been here. It has been a wonderful time for us all.

Beauty in a pine cone

During our Footsteps of Mary pilgrimage on Thursday I came across this pine cone. It was lying in the place where a church used to be that Mary loved to go and pray at daily. In the quiet of the meditation I saw the beauty in the plain, unattractive cone in the mud. Mary found beauty in the downtrodden; and consolation, strength and joy in the Blessed Sacrament.

Here are a few more shots from our pilgrimage on Thursday.
Eileen Lawler and Dr  Ellen Lawler-Stack. Eileen's aunt was one of the people who knew Mary and gathered documents to send to Rome to support her cause for canonisation.
Pilgrims on the journey.
Sr Rita in the park of the church where Mary prayed.

Mr Kevin Rudd joined the Canberra-Goulburn pilgrims for a photo

While Courntey was at the Indigenous Ceremonial Concert at the Vatican Museum Friday evening with over two hundred people including the Josephite Sisters, Cardinal Pell and many of the bishops and other dignitaries,  there was a photo opportunity that could not be missed. Thomas Campton-Smith Michael MacKillop, Mr Kevin Rudd, Courtney Bugden, Mark Burke got together for a photo shoot!! What a fantastic end to a monumental day.
Mark Burke felt great Australian pride when he witnessed the greeting by the aboriginal elders to the traditional owners of the land – His Holiness and the Italian people. 
Senator Ursula Stephens, a relation of Michael and Caitlin, (who by the way are relatives of Mother Mary MacKillop of the Cross) mentioned to Michael that she had been following our Blog.