A one 9-seater van, 4 girls, 4 nuns and all of Ireland at our fingertips.
The Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother in Roscommon (Ireland), organized a pilgrimage for girls throughout Ireland as a way to spend their mid-term break and All Saints’ Day in a different way. We wanted to give the girls another option to celebrating Halloween and allow them to have an experience of God.
The pilgrimage consisted of 4 girls involved in the Home of the Mother Summer camps who are from different parts of Ireland. The endeavor began on Sunday, October 29th in the Sister’s house in Roscommon. What better way to start off the Pilgrimage than with a little bit of Irish music and Step dancing? The night was filled with games, Irish music and dancing which filled the girls with excitement to start their pilgrimage. After dinner and time to chat to get to know each other, the girls were ready for the first adventure. In the pitch dark of the night, we headed off to a near-by forest to do some star-gazing. To center our Pilgrimage in the Lord, we stopped at the Perpetual Adoration Chapel on the way back to the house. We offered ourselves to the Lord, opening our hearts to Him to receive His graces. After singing Him a song, we headed back to the house to get some rest.
Monday, the first full day of the Pilgrimage, started out like a day in an HM Summer Camp; the girls had to run out of bed at the sound of the bell, get ready quickly, eat breakfast and head off to Mass in Cloverhill. There, the parish priest, Fr. Irek gave the girls points of meditation and exposed the Blessed Sacrament for prayer time. Fr. Irek talked to the girls about what it means to meditate. He mentioned that meditation is a loving thinking of Christ and His life in the Gospels. After the final blessing, we had Mass, a blessing of the car, and we were off for the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare. After arriving, we had our lunch, walked around the cliffs that overlook the Atlantic Ocean, and had a little meeting with the girls. Sr. Ruth Mª read a message written by St. John Paul II for the youth and discussed with the girls what it meant to live in the Truth, defend the Truth and she warned them to be careful about certain things in our lives that could lead us to sin.
On Tuesday we spent the day in Cork. We started out the day with Mass in Blarney which is near the house of the Missionaries of Charity Sisters. After Mass, we were able to visit with the Sisters in their house. The Sisters have a relic of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s blood in their chapel and the girls were able to venerate the relic and ask the Sisters questions about Mother Teresa. The Missionaries of Charity headed went with us to visit the tomb of Little Nellie of God. She was a little girl who died when she was only 4 years of age and had a reputation of holiness. We all prayed the rosary at her tomb asking her intercession for special graces on this pilgrimage.
After seeing a little bit of the city of Cork, we went to visit a Church that has a huge bell tower. They allow you to play the bells which consists of pulling 8 ropes. There is a book of songs with the numbers that correspond to the notes. By pulling on the ropes with the numbers, you can play the song of your choice. The girls enjoyed playing the songs suggested like Amazing Grace, but we also made up our own songs to play for the whole city of Cork who was listening. After playing the bells, we went to visit a small museum that explains the life of Nano Nagle, the foundress of the Presentation Sisters. She started the Education system in Cork, and then later in all of Ireland. To end the day, the girls put on a play for the Sisters about Halloween and All Saints day. We continued to celebrate the vigil of All Saints Day by watching the movie “Karol: the man who became Pope”. The movie was truly inspiring and helped the girls to reflect about their own generosity with Our Lord.
Wednesday, All Saints Day, was celebrated by going to Chashel, burial place of at least 3,000 Irish martyrs. We spent the day there, ate lunch and prayed the rosary in the cemetery. Into the car again, we headed to Dublin to pick up two Sisters from the airport.
Thursday, the last day of the Pilgrimage, we had mass in Cloverhill and headed off for The Sanctuary of Knock. The apparition site of Our Lady was under construction, so we weren’t able to see much, but we still made an act of faith and prayed for Our Lady’s protection as we ended the pilgrimage. Confessions were available as the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. It was a perfect way to end the pilgrimage and to prepare ourselves to go back into the normal day to day life.
We thank God and Our Lady for all the graces received on this pilgrimage. Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.
Testimony of some of the girls on the pilgrimage:
Sara Luis Nolin: “I enjoyed the sightseeing and had a great crack with everyone. The talks were extremely helpful for the future…” Roslyn Kane writes: “The pilgrimage helped me in many ways. The Sisters and Father Irek has helped me to meditate and contemplate on Jesus’ life…”