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Our Marion Pilgrimage–Part One. What a fantastic journey!

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Well, Tiff and I started our trip in Lisbon, Portugal. This was the restaurant where we ate our first dinner. She had pork chops which were wonderful, and I had some questionable meat I had no idea what it was. The upside was we had a Kool-Aid pitcher of wine for four Euros. Result!

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Things got a little more spiritual when we hooked up with our tour group the following day. We were most fortunate to have only nine people, including us, in our tour group, and our priest was Father Brian Costello from San Francisco. I will not insult your intelligence by pretending I remember every cathedral we were in. But the beauty of the churches always put me in awe. These places made me imagine the love and devotion of the people who created this architecture and religious art to convey their faith in God.

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We were so blessed to have beautiful weather on this trip. I hope you can get a sense of the peacefulness of the places we visited in the pictures. Above are statues of the little shepherds of Fatima praying to the Angel of Portugal, who came to them before Mary appeared and told them to pray for peace in the world. I think we all need to continue to pray for peace in the world, now more than ever.

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Again, we were so fortunate, because if you notice, the weather is beautiful and the crowds nearly nonexistent. Imagine that Fatima’s square is more than twice the size of St. Peters square at the Vatican. Amazing!

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Above is a picture of the path the little shepherds would take as they led their sheep to pasture and on the way to where they would see the apparition of Mary. We followed this trail as we walked through the Stations of the Cross.

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Above is the site where Mary appeared to the children, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francesco, after they returned from being arrested by city officials who wanted them to denounce what they had seen and experienced. The sculpture of the crucifixion is located at the top of the Stations of the Cross at the Chapel of Calvary, which overlooks Fatima.

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I would like to change gears a little bit and talk about the 206 Pilgrimage Tour Group. The pictures above and below show the ‘surprise’ lunch the 206 Group gave us in Alba de Tormes on our way to Avila, Spain. I was the only non-Catholic in our pilgrimage, and I cannot begin to express how welcome and accepted I felt in our band of merry pilgrims, especially by our spiritual director, Father Brian Costello.

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Did I experience a religious epiphany on my pilgrimage? I wish I could say that Jesus or Mary whispered in my ear, but unfortunately, that did not happen. My daughter thought I had accidentally channeled Erma Bombeck a few times, but that is my daughter’s story, not mine. I do know that sharing these beautiful and holy sites with Tiff and the other pilgrims was a most precious experience for me. Did it make me a better person? I hope so. Did my heart still go out to Mary and the relationships between mothers and their children after this? You bet it did! Below is a picture of Tiff and I outside the walls of Avila. And of course, there is always Mary with her beloved son, Jesus.

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Well, thanks for stopping by and letting me share. I thought I would share our Lourdes experience for another day. Have a great and blessed week ahead!

Bren

 

 

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