We now have only eleven more sleeps until our adventure begins! And there’s still so much to do before we leave! Leanna and I are putting the finishing touches on our presentation. A lot of prayer, love, and laughter have been poured into every word and we cannot wait to share our experiences in forming our own Magdala conciliary with the women and men gathered at the international seminar beginning on April 28.
As I type this, Leanna is helping me pare down my overflowing suitcase and offering words of encouragement for the almost nine-hour flight- since she knows that I easily grow restless and that without food and plenty of sleep I get fussy. What are friends for? And, as per our classic Mary and Martha ways, I just know that Leanna will start packing with only two sleeps to go. If something is forgotten, I am convinced that my over-packing will come in handy.
Toiletries? Check. Seven perfectly combinable outfits? Almost check. Laptop and scratchpad so that I can take copious amounts of detailed notes? Check. Euros? Check, check. Travel book? Check. Complete, unbridled enthusiasm for the seminar and for touring a historic, culturally and religiously rich city like Rome? CHECK.
You should all know that for the past week I’ve been practicing some Italian. I have all the basics down, but I can say “cosa mi consiglia” and “era squisito” with plenty of gusto! Luckily for Leanna, this travel companion is organized and loves to eat, so something tells me we’ll never, ever…ever go hungry.
After some research and daydreaming since my youth, I have determined that there are seven places along our travels that I must see: St. Peter’s Bascilica (Vatican Museums yes please!), Bascilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (the first Christian basilica to be built in Rome, consecrated in 324AD!), Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva (Gothic church built on pagan temples), Chiesa del Gesu (beautiful Jesuit church with plenty of stunning baroque art), of course the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain (because it’s just so romantic), and last but certainly not least, Chiesa di San Damiano (to bask in the frescos of St. Clare, my personal patron saint).
But asides from checking these sites off my bucket list, I’m getting very excited for the seminar itself. I’m looking forward to Lucetta Scaraffia’s presentation “Links with the Heart in the History of Feminine Holiness” and Catherine Aubin’s presentation “The Listening Heart: Receptivity, Silence, Solitude, and the Call of God” since I imagine there being many connections to the findings of our Magdala conciliary. However, I also eagerly await vespers and a visit to St. Catherine of Siena’s tomb as a prayerful conclusion to the second day of the conference (and in celebration of St. Catherine’s feast day which was no coincidence!).
Can’t wait to update you all again once we arrive and the great adventure really begins.