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October 15th, 2015 two pilgrims arrived in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Granted, Cyndee, a work colleague and I did not walk with pilgrims who yearly make the famous “Way of Santiago de Compostela” or “El Camino”, but this was indeed a “pilgrimage” to us. 

Cyndee from Atlanta, and I from California, came to Compostela by way of Fatima, Portugal where, a couple of days before, we helped deliver 14,108 red roses and more than 6,000 white roses to the Fatima Shrine in the name of a multitude of ANF Rosary Rally Captains and supporters.

It was a dream of Cyndee’s to make the “Camino”, and I had long heard of the famous shrine and burial place of the great apostle of Spain, Saint James the Greater.

One of the first twelve apostles, St. James was martyred in Jerusalem in 44 A.D., and his body was immediately translated back to Spain, where he had preached the Gospel of his Divine Master.

History having erased the memory of the place of the saint’s burial, in 813 a shepherd boy saw a star that guided him to his tomb; hence “Compostela” or “Field of the Star”.

A cathedral was erected over the place where the apostle’s body was discovered.

So here we were, two non-Spanish-speaking-just-arrived-by-bus pilgrims handing the taxi driver a slip of paper with the address to San Martino Pinario Hotel. He smiled understandingly and we were off.

San Martino turned out to be a sixteenth century stone building, more like a monastery with a dining area, lounge and patio-garden – bonus: directly across from the Cathedral of Santiago or St. James.

 

While in the taxi, I noticed teenagers walking along the streets in band uniforms. Once in my room, looking out of my ancient stone-recessed window, I saw them again, but now heard canon volleys and fireworks. I needed to find out what was going on.

Walking outside, we watched a procession of altar servers emerge from the cathedral holding aloft a float with a beautiful statue of Saint Teresa of Avila. I joined the procession, which wound through the cobbled streets for forty minutes to the prayerful cadence of the Rosary.

I finally discovered we were headed for the Carmelite Convent where the “Big Flower”, as the Spaniards lovingly call their Teresa, was crowned in honor of her 500th anniversary which was being celebrated on her feast day that very day and hour (October 15, 2015).

Did I feel like a pilgrim now....You bet! And so privileged to have “crashed” such an auspicious celebration! It felt like a special blessing after so many that week.

The next day, at 7:30 pm, was the Pilgrims’ Mass where the famous incensor or thurible called “Botafumeiro” (Flame Thrower) is used. This was a sight to behold!

Six men dressed in rich maroon cloaks worked in unison to swing the huge thurible so high that it almost touched the soaring ceiling of the cathedral as it delivered clouds of incense.

In Compostela, we met many people from all over the world from Denmark to New Zealand, from America to Africa. They all had come to walk or bicycle the “Camino”.

There were priests, religious, couples, singles, some Catholic, some not, but all there for the same reason: looking for God.

All to whom we spoke, commented on the uplifting, spiritual experience they had while walking the Way of St. James of Compostela.

Though physically hard, the walk was an experience that brought them closer to God and gave them a better understanding of self.

For us, pilgrims hailing from California/Atlanta/Fatima, it was also an unforgettable experience. And considering we had just been to Fatima to deliver thousands of roses to Our Lady, arriving for the celebration of the “Big Flower” felt like a not-so-far-fetched bonus blessing.

 

Click here for St. Teresa of Avila's Prayer for the Church in Need! 

 


By Lora Lucas-Bailie with Andrea Phillips

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for March 20, 2019

He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure lo...

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March 20

 

He alone loves the Creator perfectly
who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.

St. Bede the Venerable


SATAN V. the Immaculate Conception  SIGN!

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

Orphaned early in life, Cuthbert was brought up by a widow w...

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St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

Orphaned early in life, Cuthbert was brought up by a widow who loved him like a son. According to St. Bede, he was a Briton. One night, while working as a shepherd, he had a marvelous vision of angels carrying the soul of St. Aidan to heaven. This occurrence seems to have impressed him deeply, though he went on to soldiering and possibly fought against the Mercians.

It was as a soldier that he knocked at the gate of Melrose Abbey. As a monk, he went on to become prior of the abbeys of Melrose and Lindisfarne. After some years at Lindisfarne, wishing to grow even closer to God, he retired as a hermit first to Holy Island, today named after him, and then to an even more remote location among the Farne Islands. Still, people persisted in following him even to this isolated place, and he graciously built a guest house near the landing stage of the isle to accommodate them.

Illustrations taken from the Venerable St. Bede’s Life of Cuthbert

Later, at the insistence of the Abbess St. Elfleda, a daughter of King Oswiu, he reluctantly accepted a bishopric and was consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne. The two years of his episcopate were spent visiting his diocese preaching, teaching, distributing alms and working so many miraculous cures that during his lifetime he was known as the Wonderworker of Britain.

Weakened by his labors and austerities, Cuthbert sensed death approaching and again retired to his beloved retreat in the Farne Islands. He received the last sacraments and died peacefully, seated, his hands uplifted and his eyes raised heavenward. The Venerable St. Bede also records in his life of the saint that when Cuthbert's sarcophagus was opened nine years after his death, his body was found to have been perfectly preserved or incorrupt.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

A Bargain with Our Lady

From his sick bed, Ansaldo implored the Mother of God to hea...

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A Bargain with Our Lady


In the city of Doul, in France, lived a young cavalier named Ansaldo. This gentleman was trained in the arts of horsemanship and battle. As was common for those in Ansaldo’s line of work, he received a battle wound from an arrow, which entered so deep into the jaw-bone, that it was not possible to extract the iron.

After four years of suffering in this way, the afflicted man could endure the pain no longer. His affliction had made him very ill, a shadow of his former robust self. He thought he would again try to have the iron extracted. But before doing so, this time he decided to make a bargain with the Blessed Virgin.

From his sick bed, Ansaldo implored the Mother of God to heal his jaw and restore his health to him. In exchange for this great grace, he vowed to visit a sacred image of her in the city of Doul every year, and make an offering of a certain sum of money upon her altar if she granted this request.

He had no sooner made the vow than the iron, without being touched, fell out of his jaw and into his mouth.

The next day, ill as he was, he went to visit the sacred image. With a great deal of effort, the weakened, but hopeful man placed the promised gift upon the altar.

Immediately, he felt himself entirely restored to health.

Amazed by the quick maternal response of Mary Most Holy, Andsaldo never forgot his vow and returned every year to honor his part of their bargain.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

From his sick bed, Ansaldo implored the Mother of God to heal him and restore his health to him. In exchange for this great grace,

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