Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Rome pilgrimage

I've been telling you that I would post about my trip here and then I came back from Rome to four birthday celebrations - 3 of my kids' and mine too, as well as Thanksgiving to boot! Needless to say, I was very busy. Now, I will finally fill you in a bit.

Let's start at the beginning...

Teresa Tomeo and I were invited to an evangelization summit held in Rome near the Vatican. We both traveled on November 11th and arrived in Rome by separate flights on November 12th. I didn't sleep a wink on my flight because I was surrounded with very loud people who didn't think a night flight was for sleeping. In addition, I can never really get any sleep in a tight little spot anyway. Nevertheless, I was very excited that I would be meeting up with my dear friend Teresa at the airport. We found one another and our gracious driver, Alfredo, who then kindly took us to the apartment where we would be staying.

Here are the two of us - Lucy and Ethel as we are sometimes referred to. Don't look too close at me - this is after no sleep the night before on the plane and I mean zero sleep and then the journey to the apartment.

We were so glad to have the opportunity to be together and experience the upcoming summit together too. Is God good, or what? We felt incredibly blessed and thanked God right there on the spot. Alfredo did the honors of snapping the photo.

This is what we were greeted with when we walked into the very cute living room and dining room of our apartment - goodies for us, lovingly placed there by some sweet person. Cookies, flowers, fruit, wine - how wonderful! Rome, ahh, Rome sweet Rome! What a great start to an amazing trip!

Speaking of cookies...yep - they were delicious! Oh, that's right! Italian candies too!

After we took showers to try and wash away some of the sleepiness with hopes of getting some sort of second-wind, Teresa and I stepped out on the town! We looked all over and relished in the sheer beauty that we see in Rome. Oh, I must pause here and back up a bit to mention that when we got out of the car at our apartment when we first arrived, Teresa looked up at the blue sky and exclaimed out loud with her arms outstretched to the sky, something like, "The sky is even so much prettier in ROME!!!" And as soon as the words were out of her mouth, a voice coming from an apartment window above exclaimed, "Stai zitti!!!" That means, "Shut up!!" We laughed. "We're here!" we mused. "Watch out Rome!!"

First we walked up to a nearby church called St. Cecelia's As I posted a little earlier on this blog on the feast of St. Cecelia, "It was a very beautiful church and we spent some time there. I was most struck by a man who was pushing a broom, cleaning up the courtyard just outside the door. We stopped to talk with him and ask a few questions about St. Cecilia. I had remembered that I had read something about her recently and I wanted a find out more. The man stood there, leaning on his broom - his eyes gleaming as he told us the story he knew. We felt blessed to hear from this seemingly simple man who appeared to us to have a deep faith. The photo here is one I took of the altar in St. Cecilia's church. Her relics are below the altar." I couldn't wait to get to St. Peter's. That wouldn't be soon enough for me.

We came upon a neat little place that Teresa recognized from a previous trip, went in and enjoyed a glass of wine together.

Ah, dear friends together! What another glass of wine at another quaint little place? Well, we were just sipping, and lots of time had passed as we walked around, partly in a sleep deprived daze (at least I was) and partly just in awe of where we were, and we took it all in, thanking God all along the way.

We finally met up with our dear dear friend, Joan Lewis who is EWTN's News Bureau Chief for the Vatican. We sat down at a favorite restaurant and relished in one another's company. Yes, of course, we had to sip at another glass of that fine Italian wine and eat that scrumptious food cooked to perfection, mingled with amazing conversation and topped off with Limoncello. We remarked that if cameras were rolling or recording equipment, we could have had about 5 episodes worth of material based on the many wonderful things we shared about our faith and the Church!

Now, there's something funny about locks, keys and Lucy and me! It all started last year, almost 2 years ago, really in Rome. We seemed to have some trouble and that's why we nick-named ourselves Lucy and Ethel. Here's Teresa AKA Lucy attempting to turn the key in the lock to the outside door of our apartment for about the twentieth time. I was laughing so hard that I could hardly pull out my camera to document it! But, document, I did! I'm still recalling Alfredo's words of direction to us about the keys when we arrived - "this one turn this way and that one turn four times this way" - they are a bit tricky.

Up the stairs and another key for our inside door. We finally get in and can't wait to flop on beds that looked oh, so inviting after no sleep for what seemed like forever. But who cared? We were in Rome.

But, before bed, we had to get our clothes spiffy for our conference which we would be going to very bright and early in the morning. Don't you love the cute little kitchen?

We looked forward to having sweet dreams, thankful for our safe arrival, a wonderful time together and with dear Joan and all that was in store for us at the summit the following day with the great line up of speakers and people that we looked forward to meeting.

To be continued...


  1. How lovely, Donna-Marie. Wish I could have been there. By the way, it's spelled "Stai zitti!" for "shut up." :)

  2. Thanks, Ann. I wish you could have been there too! I fixed my mispelling. :)

    Stay tuned for more soon. :)

  3. Oh I wish I was there with you guys, it is a dream of mine to visit Rome, Vatican City! Even my agnostic hubby wanted to, prior to moving back to the US from Sweden. We never made that trip. Maybe someday.

    God bless! Hugs!
    Heather in Buffalo, NY.

  4. I hope you can go someday, Heather! Thanks for stopping by.

    God bless and hugs to you!

  5. What a wonderful recount of your pilgrimage. I went to Rome and the Vatican City in college and dream of going back. Thank you for sharing these travel details.

    Happy birthday as well!

    God bless.


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