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Arrivederci, Roma!
How blessed we have been to have this time of pilgrimage together in Rome!
Many thanks to our superiors and the sisters in our local communities who made this trip possible.




It is hard to put into words how blessed we have been to share this time together.
Certainly, we have a renwed appreciation for the CMSWR and the beauty of sharing together our lives consecrated to Christ. Time to say goodbye...






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Day 22 Our Last Day of Pilgrimage in Rome
Our final day in the Eternal City provided us the opportunity for the unique privilege of a visit to the Sistine Chapel and a tour of part of the Papal Palace.  Our guide for the tour was Sister Melanie, a Felician Franciscan Sister, who works for the Secretary of State of the Holy See.






Day 21 Vatican Gardens and Scavi Tour

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Day 21 Nothing like putting in two spectacular things in one day! We spent the morning literally let loose in the Vatican Gardens. Sister Mary Angela (temporarily) traded in her passport and received an official Vatican Gardens badge, so we could pretty much go anywhere. Beautiful trees, hedges, paths, flowers, statues, grottoes...and after an entire morning there, we were only about halfway through it!




After a quick bite to eat in a nearby pizzeria, we returned once more to the Vatican, this time for the scavi tour. Our tour guide led us down to the excavation site below St. Peter's Basilica, dramatically recounting the discovery of St. Peter's bones. Pope Pius XII had initiated the excavation and has the blessing of being buried just behind the tomb of St. Peter. (Pope Pius XI had his own share in getting the project moving, as he was the one who had requested being buried close to the bones of St. Peter!)

Thankfully, after these two big events of the day, we had some time …

Day 20 Evangelization

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Day 20

We started the day at Trevi Fountain to meet Fr. Ehli who shared some history on the fountain and then headed to Casa Santa Maria to join him for Mass.  The Casa is a home for American priests who are studying in Rome.













After a beautiful Mass, we journeyed to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for a talk and tour.  It was a joy to hear about how the Congregation works with these young Churches all over the world providing support as they grow.  It rekindled in our hearts a greater zeal to spread the Gospel, pray and support the missionary activity of the Church. We also visited the Chapel there, dedicated to the Holy Magi where they have a habit from St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face underneath a painting of St. Francis Xavier both of whom are patrons for the Missions.






















We then visited Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, the site of the Apparation of our Lady to Alphonse Ratisbonne which led to his conversion and where St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe had his f…

Day 19 St. Lawrence

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Today is Sister Mary Hanah's birthday, so we celebrated first by going to Mass at the Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls. The statue of Pope Pius XII commemorates the day he drove out to pray with the people of this neighborhood who had suffered from a bombing during the war (aimed at the railway, but damaging homes and part of the Basilica too).


It is difficult to give a sense of the Basilica, as each photo only shows one or two elements.


The tomb of Blessed Pope Pius IX is in the lower level.


As we left the Basilica, our first wish was to go to Saint Peter's for the Angelus and receive the Holy Father's blessing. After waiting a long time for the bus, we were informed by a young woman that a tram could take us there, although by a very long route. We thought we had nothing to lose -- this tram would at least take us to St. Peter's, where we could transfer to another bus and return home. But as our tram moved quite quickly through the neighborhoods, we began …

Day 18 Old places, new discoveries

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We began the day by visiting old places in a new way. Sister Mary Agnes, Sister Mary Hanah, and Sister Mary Maximilian went to Saint Peter's Basilica first thing in the morning in order to go up to the cupola. The climb up was more of a challenge than usual: there were no lights to guide their steps, so the Sisters went on in the dark. This sounds like a spiritual lesson, and maybe it was... and they made it to the top.








 Meanwhile, on the other side of town, after attending Mass at the Gesu', Sister Karen, Sister Clare, and Sister Mary Angela were discovering how quiet the streets are first thing in the morning, and how lovely with the cool air and light streaming into the streets.


In the afternoon, we visited the Basilica of San Clemente, in which photos are not allowed. From there we went to the Church of the Four Crowned Martyrs, where we prayed and studied the communion of the Saints as portrayed in the apse.
We were able to see St. John Lateran from the top steps, and were…