Thursday, November 24, 2016

St. Louis...pilgrimage

When you look up "pilgrimage" it states "religious journey" so, technically, visiting a Godparent is definitely part of that (flat pizza and frostys aren't really a religious experience though, lol). The rest of our time in the Gateway City to the West was spent walking through Holy Doors and meeting some wonderful children of God while experiencing His grace and mercy.

I spent early Saturday morning (I was up because, well, it's an hour later at home) searching for a Mass that was local. The Holy Door churches were a bit to early to make with the little people but, as always, the Holy Spirit had it well in hand.

The Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine

I clicked this link because it was local, it said "Oratory", "Latin Mass" and the rector is a Benedictine. We didn't think there would be High Mass on Saturday but when we travel, we're ready for just about anything. It's fun to see where the Holy Spirit takes you!

Because I'm who I am, I don't always read completely. Looking now at the website, it makes sense that we went to the wrong place, although it didn't end up that way and it all came out for good regardless. The Latin Mass is currently sharing space from St. Anselm's so it's very confusing (in my defense). We eventually arrived at a church (St. Anselm) and attended Mass (not Latin, although the altar was set so that it could be used that way when necessary, which was a good teaching moment).

It was as confusing as it sounds but, like any other Mass, the miracle of the Eucharist was present and it was a grace-filled morning. The priest, we guess, was a missionary for much of his life since his accent started as Irish and ended up Indian. He also had many beautiful motions through the prayers that seemed they would have been perfect when he was saying Mass for those who did not share a common language. It was a good introduction for our pilgrimage...the Catholic Church is Universal but it doesn't always look the same.
The church was round and full of glass...simple and beautiful
I met a lovely older woman in the parking lot who thanked us for coming to Mass that morning. We talked a bit and together gave thanks, post-election, for the continued gift of so many varied opportunities for worship. She also gave me information that would bring us more grace that afternoon.

After Mass we headed over to the Carmelite Monastery to walk through the Holy Door and Adore for a while. This was the FIRST Carmel in the United States, founded in 1863! How amazing to worship in such a historic place.

Holy Door

When we were finishing up, a lovely older gentleman came up and asked if he could show me a picture. He told me of his journey to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families and he showed me a photo of a family with young children whom he remembered when seeing our family. I was really expecting to see a photo of our homeschool friends who were there but, no, it was another family. It was nice to see him rejoice in the presence of young people learning the faith. When I told him we were from Pennsylvania he answered, "well, then, that's why the Holy Spirit brought you here now!". Indeed.

We made one more quick trip before returning to rest with the tiny man who had developed a rather terrible cold during the trip out. It seems to be our habit...the trip starts with his fever and ends with mine :0( Gratefully, we were only sick a short time.

Our second Holy Door that day was the home of the Passionist Nuns of St. Louis. We have a great love for our Passionist Monastery at home and the kids had no idea there could be Passionist nuns (!) so it was a good mix of familiar and novel. For me, I don't think it's a coincidence that the Holy Spirit led me to all of these contemplative orders during our journey. God knows me and He knows my mind seeks solitude whenever possible :0)
Passionist Nuns - In full habit and professing our 5-fold Vows - Devotion to and grateful remembrance of the Passion, Chastity, Poverty, Obedience and Enclosure, we offer unceasing prayer and joyful penance in love and fidelity to the Church and the Holy Father 

St. Paul of the Cross, Pray for Us! 

After our rest and before heading to Ted Drewes and the party that evening, we sought out the special gift given us by the woman at Mass that morning. It seemed we were in St. Louis at the exact same time the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima was heading through on the tour of 100 Dioceses for 100 Years (ahem). We have had a family devotion to Our Lady of Fatima for quite a while, beginning with Armata Bianca when we only had a couple of kids ;0) I find such peace in the rosary, especially when we say it as a family. I know Our Lady guides us to her Son with a mother's love and care. What a great way to wrap up our stay in STL...visiting the Mother of the Word Incarnate. The statue was hosted by the parish at St. Gabriel the Archangel...two minutes from Ted Drewes ;0)

O Queen of the Rosary, Sweet Virgin of Fatima, who has deigned to appear in the land of Portugal, we beg you to watch over our dear homeland and assure its moral and spiritual revival.
Bring back peace to all the nations of the world so that all, our own nation in particular, may be happy to call you their Queen and the Queen of Peace. Amen.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for our country.
Our Lady of Fatima, obtain for all humanity a lasting peace.

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