Be Forewarned, I am a Fey and Quixotic Creative Writer

Be Forewarned, I am a Fey and Quixotic Creative Writer
And in the End was the Word, Amy's Word

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Friday, July 24, 2015

My Franciscan Pilgrimage 2004

In the year 2004 I filed for divorce.  The divorce came through on July 9, 2004.  In May of that year I booked a spot on a Franciscan pilgrimage to Italy.  I had not seriously traveled since I was a little girl.  The pilgrimage took us Roman Catholics to Rome, the Vatican and Assisi.  We also went to Santuario Del La Verna.  This is where Saint Francis got his stigmata.  We also visited Sienna, (St Catherine) and the town where St. Rita lived.  The sites were beautiful and peaceful.  The basilicas were gorgeous.  St. Francis is probably the most popular saint of all time.  We Roman Catholics, like many other faiths believe that geographic sites where saints have lived have a holy power.  When we visit a site or make a pilgrimage we concentrate on connecting with the spiritual icon.  This is to increase our own holiness.

I learned a lot about Italian Saints.  St. Catherine was an adviser to the Pope,(she told him to go back to Rome and he did)  St. Catherine could fly or levitate as a child.  St Clair saw images on the wall.(that is why she is the patron saint of television)  St Francis could not get enough of penance, he had several Lenten like observations a year,

When we went to Gubbio, the town where St. Francis tamed the wolf, there was a wild dog walking around that was not friendly.

We went to Santuario della Verna.  There was a priest guide there who made eye contact with me during the tour.  It was as if we knew each other.


In case you did not know St. Francis was a party boy from a wealthy family.  He denounced riches and formed the Franciscan Brothers.  St. Clair formed the Poor Clairs.  She also gave up a life of wealth and leisure.

The fellow pilgrims were interesting.  They were split about fifty fifty, liberal and conservative.  I actually recall a conversation where a man was defending his political position against Abe Lincoln.  The pilgrims were varied as to their origin.  We had some people from England, Malta, as well as the USA.
The priest leading the pilgrimage came across as judgmental.  Many of his homilies focused on the ills of society.  He liked to condemn sinners.  I went to confession with a English speaking priest at the Vatican(?can't recall for sure which site).  I figured that the bully priest would refuse me absolution.  If that were the case then I would not be able to take the Eucharist when he celebrated daily Mass. I had never encountered such a mean priest, so I was frightened of him.

The scenery was beautiful that Spring in Italy.  The golden chain tree was in bloom.  We road around in a minibus.  We had delicious meals.  Wine at noon as well as supper.  This made me a little sleepy and if I were to go again, I might skip the noon wine. We stayed at hotel/monasteries.  They were very peaceful.

There were some surreal encounters with the other pilgrims, "trust me and think of me as your husband."  No I don't think so.  I also defended the rights of gay people in another argument.  I became known as the Evil Liberal.

On the final morning I drank a big glass of juice.  The taxi driver taking us to the airport went a round about way.  My bladder was in extreme pain.  I just made it to board after using the bathroom.  I was really frightened that I would miss my plane!

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