Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Well dear friends, I'm back.  I returned yesterday after a harrowing experience at the Newark Airport and subsequent bus ride home.  I was never so happy to see my husband and Rebecca as they waited for the bus to pull up.  It was an exhausting trip and I am still feeling as though I'm in a fog.  Jet lag following a week of sleeping in 6 different beds in 10 days will do that to a person.

Eventually, I will get around to posting some photos and telling you all about the experience.  I will frame the discussion by telling you off the bat that it would seem that most of the people who took this journey with me were not so much interested in the spiritual benefit as they were in taking a trip to Italy and shopping.  I'm very glad to have gone, but I doubt I will return.  It was very hard to have any prayer time or solitude.  There was but a handful of fellow "pilgrims" who understood proper reverence of the Blessed Sacrament and appropriate behavior in sacred places.  Believe when I tell you that I took advantage of every opportunity to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and I offered all of your intentions in some very sacred spaces, some well-known and others off the beaten path.

The trip was complicated by the presence of an individual who is very troubled.  He should have had a caretaker with him as his behavior was often very inappropriate and intrusive and on top of it, he had a tendency to wander and get lost.  For some reason, he had an affinity for me and I noticed that the people who claimed to have the most sympathy for him were those that spent the least amount of time with him.  Suffice it to say that I could have gone to confession every single day and still would not have felt it was enough.   I did my best given my own short-comings and the limitations of being human.  How he managed to finance and arrange such a trip is still a mystery to me.  Please keep him in your prayers and please beg God's forgiveness of the moments I had with him when I felt less than Christian.

There were times when I simply felt I had died and gone to Heaven.  The culmination of the trip for me was the visit to the Grotto of Saint Michael, which was the reason I went on this journey to begin with.  I made a bee-line for the cave where the great Archangel appeared centuries ago and the words of the Nunc Dimitis came to mind, I felt so at peace.

Now, Lord, you can let your servant go in peace.

When some of the fog has cleared from my brain, I will chronicle some of the places we saw.  Because the priest who met us in Rome is someone very high in the Augustinian order, most of the sites we visited were of Augustinian saints.  He is a very fine priest and although not inclined to celebrate the TLM, he often offered Mass ad orientem and was very faithful to the liturgy with no improvisations.  


  1. So glad you're back Joyce...Thank you for your prayers in all the Holy places..I thought of you often and have missed your presence here at Little Way. Enjoy your family time...and rest.
    + Caroline

  2. So glad you made it home in one piece! I'll bet your family is so glad to have you back, as are we! Can't wait to hear about it--hope you can rest up a bit before going back to work!

  3. Welcome home,Joyce! You were in my thoughts and prayers, especially as I made your novena to St. Therese.

    I hope when the fog and jet lag clear, that you will remember only the heavenly moments of your pilgrimage.

    And...don't give up! I pray you will return one day, perhaps with your family. If you do, you might want to plan it all yourself; it's not hard to do, and then you can spend all your time just as you like...instead of having to go where the group goes.

    Thank you for being so kind as to brings all of our intentions. Glad you had a wonderful homecoming! Get some rest! : )


  4. Thank you everyone for the warm welcome home. I am not feeling well and am scheduled to return to work tomorrow. I've already informed my boss I will only be in briefly and not to expect a full day from me. I'd rather not go in at all but it's someone's last day and I have to be at her farewell luncheon.

    At this point, I don't have any desire to return to Italy, although that may change. There is a trip next November to Lourdes and Fatima and my mother really wants to go. I told her to give me a few months to think it over. I can't imagine, the way that I feel now, setting foot outside the US again for a very long while. But time and distance may help. I hope I don't seem unappreciative. I still feel blessed to have gone but it was more exhausting than spiritually enriching and I feel I would have been better off to go on a silent retreat. I didn't leave my family for a week to go on a shopping and eating spree with prayer thrown in sparsely but sometimes, that's what the trip felt like. Live and learn I guess.
    God Bless all


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