On January 24th-28th, a group of 9 girls and 3 sisters were lucky enough to visit Rome: the holy city. There were young women from Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Toledo, and even from Germany that came on the pilgrimage.
The trip was full of surprises because Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother accompanied us at every moment. That being the case, we were very lucky and we received privileges, like going up to the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and visiting the Vatican Gardens…
When we arrived, we were welcomed by the Religious Sisters of Mary Immaculate, who run a university residence near the center of Rome. They took care of us during the pilgrimage. From there, each day, we went around Rome accompanied by the two Servant Sisters who came with us from Madrid and one who is currently living in Rome to guide us through the city. It’s hard to list all the sites we visited because there were so many! We were grateful that the Sisters were with us because it allowed us to soak up all the history of Rome. It’s always good to have someone who knows about everything explain it to you, and our dear Sisters did just that, despite being in the middle of exams.
We were able to visit the four major basilicas of Rome: St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran and Saint Mary Major. We spent an entire morning inside the Vatican and we had the special grace of celebrating Mass in one of the underground chapels. Also, when we were in St. Paul Outside the Walls, we were able to visit the place where St. Paul was martyred, the Tre Fontane Abbey. It was a grace to be able to have time to pray there.
As good visitors, we ate a lot of pasta, pizza, and gelato, but more importantly, every day we received spiritual food: the Eucharist, which together with prayer helped us to experience everything with a true pilgrim spirit.
Another gift we received during our stay in Rome was to be able to go inside the Clementine Chapel, where the tomb of St. Peter is located. Normally, they do not let anyone in, but again the Lord wanted to surprise us by putting a security guard in our path who let us pray in front of the remains of St. Peter. For the Home of the Mother, this chapel is important, since the Home of the Mother Youth was founded there in 1982. The girls of the Home and the Sisters on this pilgrimage were very happy to be in this special place. And once we left, we decided to call Father Rafael to tell him about what happened. After that experience, we came up with a motto for our pilgrimage. The phrase was perfect! “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.” The rest of the pilgrimage we were able to meditate on these words of Saint Paul and have them in our minds throughout the day, especially when we had to go back home and go back to our daily routines./p>
Hopefully, we can remember the Saints we were able to visit, asking them to help us reach the goal they have already achieved.
Thank you, Blessed Mother, for bringing us closer to your Son and for never abandoning us!
-By Teresa García Serrano, HMY
For me, it has been a gift to be in the cradle of the Church. I have been there before, but when I was little, I hardly remembered anything. We received a lot of graces during the trip because the Lord was very attentive to all the little details and prepared the way for us to experience the pilgrimage close to Him and His Mother. I think that the highlight of the trip was being able to pray and renew my commitment to the Home of the Mother in the Clementine Chapel since it was a source of grace for me to use in the difficulties of everyday life. Also, I think we all felt accompanied by all the great saints who have passed through Rome and that increased our desire to imitate them more and more.
The Lord does not let Himself be outdone in generosity, and thanks to our open hearts, He has given us great moments that I can not thank Him enough for. THANK YOU, LORD, THANK YOU, BLESSED MOTHER!
-Teresa García, Toledo
From the beginning, this pilgrimage to Rome has been proof of how much the Lord loves us. In my house and in my rush to do a thousand things, it is difficult for me to be aware of the real way our Lord shows us His love every day. However, it has been evident, that as soon as you say yes to Jesus and you are where you have to be, His grace fills everything and He doesn’t cut short on graces and gifts.
What I was most grateful about on this trip was the presence of the saints and martyrs who have accompanied us the whole time during the pilgrimage. For me, they have always been examples and role models for their love for God, but I have never felt close to them in my modern life or my relationship with Christ. They were there, they had interesting stories and I always thought, “I wish I was like them,” but I didn’t go further than that. However, on this trip, I have received the grace to feel closer to them. Throughout the pilgrimage, I was experiencing different worries and doubts, and in the vast majority of cases, the Saints we were visiting had answers for my worries and doubts. I experienced this through the example of their lives or simply by praying in front of their relics. The Saints have made themselves present in my life, like any other human being, and knowing that surely they had concerns very similar to mine, helped me put my life in perspective.
I also want to thank the Lord for the great group of girls He joined together. Many of us did not know each other before, and the fact that everything went so well between us and we were able to share and enjoy so much among us is a sign that He was in the center. This pilgrimage has been a gift, everything from every prayer and Mass, to the gelatos and laughter.
-Blanca Baldor, Madrid
For me, going to Rome has been a gift from the Lord, one more opportunity to let myself be loved by Him and realize that the best way to live is by trusting in Him. In that trust, everything can be done and things go so much better than you can imagine or would have planned. I received so many graces. A special grace was realizing how superficial my faith is, and then I was able to ask all the Saints whom we visited for a deep and firm faith. Also, seeing the beauty of so many buildings and churches, the Lord spoke to me of the importance of reflecting on the beauty of God in our lives, and this can only be done if we truly give ourselves to His love. Another precious gift I have received was to be able to experience all the Saints and martyrs as true brothers and sisters in the Faith, the importance and the need to go to them and give thanks for their yes to the Lord. Without their yes surely we could not live our Faith today, and perhaps we wouldn’t even be Christians if it weren’t for their sacrifice and testament of the Faith. Finally, as a summary of this pilgrimage, All I can say is: THANK YOU LORD FOR THE CHURCH.
-Beatriz Fra, Alcalá de Henares
The pilgrimage has been a great experience both because of the good environment among the group and because of the enormous leap of faith that I took during this trip. I received so many graces on the trip that made me realize how important prayer and a relationship with God are on a daily basis. It has been one of the best pilgrimages of my life! It really impressed me to see places like the Vatican and the Clementine Chapel, and it made me realize the greatness of God. And besides that, I will never forget the phrase I learned on the pilgrimage: I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!
-M. Valdivieso, Rivas