On November 1, 2010, Feast of All Saints, some of the Servant Sisters and all of the Servant Brothers in Rome gladly accompanied our Founder, Fr. Rafael, traveling by car to Loreto, a town located about 3 hours north of Rome near the Adriatic Coast. It is home to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, which contains the brick foundations from Our Blessed Mother's house in Nazareth, brought to Italy by the Crusaders (or, according to legend, “angels”).
There, in what had been the physical home of Our Mother, where the Word became flesh, the Home of the Mother was to have a special get-together with Cettina and Federico from Sicily, Giuliano and Rosella and their 3 children, and Angelo and Lidia and their 3 children, both families from the Ascoli Piceno area.
We all met up at the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto for Mass at 11:00 am in the Crypt of the Basilica. In the homily, Fr. Rafael spoke of the call to holiness and how each of us can reach sainthood through simply fulfilling God's Will in our daily life, serving our families, etc., inspired by the example of Our Mother who lived a holy life performing simple tasks with great love.
After Mass, we went upstairs to the main part of the Basilica, to visit the remains of what was Mary's house in Nazareth. There were so many people that the guards asked everyone to simply pass through, without stopping inside to pray. So, some of us passed through twice! From there, we stopped in the Adoration Chapel inside the Basilica to spend some time before Jesus in the Eucharist, the source of all holiness.
From there, we went to eat lunch in a special hall on the grounds, available for pilgrims' use. Everyone had brought food and drinks to share and we could all note the family spirit that characterizes our get-togethers in the Home, thanks to the presence of THE Mother par excellence, Our Blessed Mother.
After lunch, we returned to the Basilica to visit the house of Mary once more. This time, we were able to stay and pray for awhile. What a grace!
From there, we all traveled by car (in a caravan) to the home of Angelo and Lidia. There, they offered us exquisite hospitality and Fr. Rafael led a meeting with all those present, speaking of the vocation and mission of the Home, presenting those interested with the newly published copies of the Statutes of the Home (specifically, in Italian). This was a cause for great joy for those present, especially for Angelo and Lidia, who were so grateful for this grace of having the Founder of the Home come to their own home.
Thus, it was truly a day to give thanks to God and Our Mother for SO MANY graces received! We had been in the physical home of Our Mother and now, we hope that all these graces will help us to live even more united to Her in this spiritual Home, which is Her Heart! Thanks, Mom!