A Beautiful Summer

I haven’t updated my blog over the summer because I’ve been busy. I went on a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy and Lourdes, France and spent some time in Barcelona, Spain.  I also went on a family vacation to Georgia and Florida and had a mancation in San Diego.  Each of them were special in their own way.

I’ve had a beautiful summer traveling overseas and across America.  The trip to Spain, Italy and France was a spiritual pilgrimage.  The trip to Florida and Georgia was our family vacation to see family.  I recently returned from a solo trip to San Diego, California, where I spent time with my childhood friends.  All of them different and all of them beautiful.

My trip to Europe was for spiritual and physical healing.  This was my third to trip to Rome since being diagnosed.  It is my favorite city in the world.  Janie and I have it down now.  We stay in a great neighborhood and have our favorite places to eat and visit.  Even though I love the culture and history of Rome, the purpose of the trip is to visit St. Peter’s and other major basilicas.  I went this summer specifically to go through the Holy Doors, because you experience certain graces during this year of Mercy.  I also wanted to show my daughter Katie how important spirituality is in my life and to give her perspective of how “cool” spirituality can be in different parts of the world.  

While I did enjoy the pizza, gelato, and red wine of Rome (I love being off my diet), I spent most of my days praying at different basilicas.   I would pray for healing. I would pray for all of you.  It’s ironic because I pray for the cure of cancer, but I also pray about being thankful of my cancer experience.   Cancer has given me a perspective I never would have had unless I was sick.  I’ve been able to travel the world.  I’ve experienced love and support from family, friends, and strangers.  I’m able to connect with others who have suffered.  These are all blessings from cancer.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to be cured more than anything, but I also have learned a lot from my cancer journey.

Another major part of the trip was to visit Lourdes, France.  There have been many recorded healings in Lourdes after bathing in the water and drinking the water of Lourdes. Lourdes is famous because in 1858 a girl saw an apparition of Mary.  Mary asked the girl to dig in a spot and water began coming from the ground.  This spring water has led to many spiritual and physical healings.  I went to be healed by drinking and bathing in the water.  

Lourdes is my kind of town because there are hundreds of sick people from all over the world who go in hopes of being healed.  You see people in hospital beds and medical rickshaws being wheeled throughout the sanctuary.  It was peaceful because I didn’t have to hide anything.  I could walk with a limp because my feet were hurting.  I could wear my lotion gloves and not be insecure. I could be myself and I felt “normal” for a change.     

While in Lourdes, a friend told me to truly pray from my heart.  I never knew how to pray from my heart until I became sick.  For me, praying from the heart is intense physically and emotionally.  I actually experience pain in my chest, accompanied with tears and I feel the need to scream but words can’t come out.  My prayers are like a to plea to God.  I’m pleading for my life and for more time to be with my children and Janie.  A plea to be cured.  

While waiting in line to bathe in the holy water, I was sitting next to a gentleman who had a terminal illness and was healed after bathing in the water of Lourdes.  He now has been returning to Lourdes for 13 years in thanksgiving of his healing.  When It was my turn, I didn’t know what to expect.  They walked me to a curtain to undress.  Then I was wrapped in a towel and they walked me to the bath.  The bathtub is made out of marble and filled with spring-fed water.  I was asked to pray for Mary’s intercession.  I began to pray from the heart.  Then they lowered me into the tub and quickly lifted me out of the water.  It happened so fast that I wanted to do it another time, but was told it wasn’t necessary.

Today as I type this, my time in Lourdes and Rome seems so long ago.  I would’ve love to spend more time in Lourdes because I really felt comfortable there.  I hope to go back there sometime because it is a special place.

Our family vacation to Florida and Georgia was great.  We saw family, old friends, spent time at the beach, and went to Disney World.  It was wonderful.  My mancation to San Diego was a blast.  I have many childhood and college friends that live there and I’ve been wanting to visit them but haven’t made the time.  Everyone out there has been supportive of me and my family since my diagnosis.  It was great spending time with them and their families.

Well the summer is over for our family.  Janie is back to teaching. Katie is back to school and Anabel is  back to daycare.  I am sad it is over, but it did end with good news.  Today I learned my brain scan came back clear of cancer.  My next body scan will be in October. Pray with hope, pray with faith and pray with love.      

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Cardinal Stafford, Janie, Katie and I in the Vatican Gardens

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Janie , Katie and I praying in front of St. Peter’s tomb.

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This is in Bascilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The picture is of the the Crypt of the Nativity (the wood is from the Holy Crib).  

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These are some of the many medical rickshaws in Lourdes.

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This is the grotto where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette.  The Mary statue is located where the  Marian apparition appeared.

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This is the church they built upon the grotto.

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This is a living statue in Barcelona that Katie and I stood in front of for ten minutes and didn’t know she was a person till we moved away from her.

 

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Oma and Katie enjoying a drink on La Ramblas in Barcelona.  The sangria was not Katie’s.

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Enjoying a fun day on the water in San Diego.  Fortunately we had an experienced Captain who kept us safe in the high seas of the Pacific.  

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The crew ashore at a local watering hole.

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Spending time with Christina and her beautiful family.  Christina started my gofund page which I never would’ve started on my own. Love ya C.  

 

 

 

 

 

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