Friday, May 20, 2016

Day 3, Al-a-bam-a!

As I mentioned it was a beautiful sunrise (I know because I woke us all up at 6:30 instead of 7:30...time zones confound me). It was all for the good actually, we beat the cheerleaders to breakfast and headed out on the road.

I hadn't realized prior but, once we announced the state (we cheer each time we reach a border...see the post on "is this where we sleep") it quickly became apparent that, in our vehicle of 7, I was the only one who had ever made it to one of the great states of the Civil Rights Movement (think Rosa Parks). Well, they were all delighted to be here when we started talking about these little critters...
Truly, only DH saw them (thankfully) as they were all killed on the side of the road
The welcome center was declared the best of the ten states visited. Why you ask?

"5,4,3,2,1...blast off" we had just been listening to Laurie Berkner too! (ahem) Thanks Kellie :0)

There is little to soothe a travel-weary bunch of kids...except exploring a rocket. There was also a Harley convention at the rest stop (!) so everyone was given plenty to ponder as we drove on down the road.

We were all very, very excited...we were finally there! (some people have the beach or a theme park and we like those things too but, ultimately, we are big, Catholic nerds). Our Lady of the Angels Monastery of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration  was all we could have imagined and more. The peacefulness and grace of the place. Simply amazing. Here are a few outdoor shots.
Blue Knights at the castle ;0)

This houses the creche...all day, every day

El Nino ;0)

could have walked through here for hours

gorgeous and moving...even the kids were fascinated into spontaneous prayer/weeping/commentary
We ventured inside and looked around a bit. The crypt church under the main church was so beautiful. We were blessed to kneel and pray at Mother Angelica's crypt. (I didn't take photos inside so these are from the website during Mother Angelica's funeral and burial)

We went back upstairs and saw the enclosure.
Mother leaving the cloister for the last time

Full disclosure. When I have scary dreams (and they're scary because I know they are completely possible and would be completely right) it's about walking Blondie up to a similar door and kissing her goodbye. I have been told it may be God's way of preparing my heart but it's still striking when I am so close to that door. All I could do was turn to DH and say, "if she goes in, I'm going to need to move nearby." He thought that was a very good plan.

The most grace-filled blessing came upstairs. No, not all the wonderful signs that so politely and God-centeredly dealt with everyday issues.
:0) There were similar ones for smoking and litter and all sorts of great things!
First, we walked through the Holy Door (I've lost count)

This is what you see before you go through the door (on the left)
This is walking through the Holy Door (not my amazing!)
We had planned our day to be there to pray the rosary with the Sisters. It was one of those experiences that, if I do move nearby, I'm going to have to repeat as often as possible. It was like a little bit of heaven. Even the difficult child was quiet, listening to the "angels" that he couldn't see.

website photo...I only took one in the bathroom!

We sat about two rows back from the front. Just praying in front of that beautiful Monstrance, knowing the sisters were on the other side, was such a moving time. These women who have given their lives to pray for the Church and the world. Wow. 

Those screen windows on either side are completely opaque but sound and light travel through. You could hear the Sisters and know that they were there but you could not see them. It was such an exercise in faith!

We were going to stay for Mass in the crypt but realized that we would be late if we wanted to make one more stop before reaching our destination. I'm tired now too so I guess I'll close. I can wrap up Alabama and Atlanta and the trip home tomorrow. Promise!

Thanks for reading along on our adventure. These pilgrimages never cease to deliver. I am someone who needs to see and hear and feel God as much as I can and this is a way that helps me to leave my daily grind and listen a bit more closely. If you are a person that can do that in the midst of your day, you are blessed! If you are someone who can't make all of these side trips but seeks God where you travel, you are blessed! If you forget then remember to listen, you are blessed! God meets us everywhere we are.

We are blessed.

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