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In Santiago de Compostela for the Feast of the "Big Flower"

 

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.

Famous statue of Saint James the Apostle behind the main altar in the Santiago CathedralIt 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.

 

An image of a simple room in the hotel, and another of the Santiago Cathedral interior

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.

Local band leading the procession from Santiago Cathedral to the Carmelite Convent

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).

Statue of Saint Teresa of Avila carried through the streets of Santiago of Compostela

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 famous incensor or thurible called "Botafumeiro" 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 July 23, 2019

Behold Jesus Christ crucified, Who is the only foundation of...

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July 23

 

Behold Jesus Christ crucified, Who is the only foundation of our hope;
He is our Mediator and Advocate; the victim and sacrifice for our sins.
He is goodness and patience itself;
His mercy is moved by the tears of sinners, and
He never refuses pardon and grace to those who ask it
with a truly contrite and humbled heart.

St. Charles Borromeo


PLEDGE REPARATION TO OUR LADY HERE!

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Bridget of Sweden

Her favorite son became entangled with Queen Joanna I who wa...

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St. Bridget of Sweden

Bridget was nobly born, her father was Birger, the governor of Upland in Sweden, and her mother, Ingeborg, was the daughter of the governor of East Gothland.

At fourteen she was married to young Ulf Gudmarsson, to whom she was happily married for twenty-eight years and had eight children, four boys and four girls, one of whom was St. Catherine of Sweden.

In 1335, she was appointed lady-in-waiting to King Magnus II’s bride, Blanche of Namur, and she spent years at court trying to reform Magnus’ weak, and at times, wicked ways, and the queen’s often well-meaning, but irresponsible, bend.

Though Bridget’s famous visions were already under way at this time, spanning subjects from personal hygiene to politics, she did not have great success with her royal “charges”, and was often seen as a “dreamer.”

After her husband’s death in 1344, she founded an order of women and another of men to support them spiritually. When her order was established, she traveled to Rome accompanied by her daughter Catherine and some disciples, to seek approval of her Rule. But she was never to return to her native Sweden.

In Rome, she worked to bring back the Papacy, then in the French city of Avignon, to the Eternal City. Her visions and prophecies, dealing with the burning political and religious issues of her time, continued and so increased that, alarmed, she submitted them to the direction of Canon Matthias of Linkoping who pronounced them to be of God. Peter, Prior of Alvastra, recorded these visions in Latin.

Her order was only approved by Pope Urban V in 1370.

In 1373 she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with Catherine and three of her sons. At Naples, Charles, her favorite son, became entangled with Queen Joanna I who wanted to marry him despite both being already married (Joana thrice). Anguished, Bridget stormed heaven, and Charles, struck by a fever, after two weeks died in his mother’s arms.

Returning from Jerusalem, Bridget, already ailing, received the last rites from her faithful friend, Peter of Alvastra, and died on July 23 at the age of seventy-one.

Bridget was canonized in 1391, and is the patron saint of the Kingdom of Sweden. She is also considered one of the patron saints of Europe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

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

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.

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