ITALY, Gisela Ciola •
On 4 September, my husband and I left Trento on a pilgrimage to the Belmonte Rome Shrine for the national meeting, where we were participating for the first time.
I would like to tell you about my personal experience.
I became very emotional when I saw the arrival of people from the Tuscan region. En masse they alighted from the small bus wearing beautiful yellow scarves and carrying a large banner that read “Schoenstatt Tuscany,” proceeding straight away in procession on their pilgrimage, all carrying their Pilgrim Mothers to the Shrine. How beautiful everything was!
At that moment, I thought of my Pilgrim Mothers and of our whole prayer group from Trento to Milan … we are taking the first steps with the Campaign; we are small but committed, and this gives me encouragement in my desire to one day find ourselves all together on a pilgrimage to the Shrine!
I took this opportunity to greet all my Tuscan Schoenstatt brothers and sisters and thank them for this wonderful inspiration!
I also thanked our Blessed Mother for letting me experience so much beauty: my thoughts, my desires, for all the people in our regions that have received it, and for letting me arrive on pilgrimage here with my husband.
So I began the day by thanking her!
The Blessed Mother unites us and gives us to each other: The Meeting.
That day, a Brazilian couple gave witness about their life experiences. They were the ones who looked after the Belmonte area even before the construction of the Shrine had begun.
They told us (among other things) about the blessing and the laying of the Foundation Stone.
That reminded me at that time my mom was also present, and I thought:
“Then they know each other!!! Maybe they do not remember her, but surely they will remember the picture of the Mother of the Blind that led the procession for the big occasion!!!”
I got lost a bit in my thoughts, thinking about how the Blessed Mother had “Connected everyone” in her sanctuary. They that had come from Brazil to guard Belmonte; my mom who took the picture of the Auxiliary from Argentina, and I, who came from Trento, to get to know them through a beautiful testimony that I had not previously known….
Although we are not aware of all of your work, we are “Incredibly Connected Through You.” I focused on this thought a bit, and found yet another wonder, that until that moment I had missed: The Milan Pilgrim image began her missionary work in August, yes Milan, the last city that was lacking an image of the Pilgrim Mother.
The Blessed Mother ended the first month of pilgrimage to Milan just four days before Rome Belmonte national meeting!
Coincidence? … No! … Never!
She “has connected an entire nation” before you welcomed us in her house, our house!
Let us imagine a map, where yellow dots highlight all the Pilgrim Rosary Campaigns in Italy.
There would be many yellow dots in many regions, so many that in some it would not be easy to distinguish the cities, and then only two dots to the north, but those two dots were needed to close our “Circle of Love.”
She has united us, and then brought us to meet one another, to let us know her work!
Three thoughts: “Connection, Union, Encounter”
I wanted to finish my reflections underlining three aspects that impressed me on that beautiful day, experienced as “Connection, Union, and Meeting”:
When at the time of the laying of the first stone she prayed:
“That Belmonte may be filled with pilgrims and missionaries.”
Who put himself at the complete disposal of our Mother as her instrument, with total fidelity and humility, thus becoming a great example for all of us, and an inspiration for the whole Rosary Campaign.
When he said: “She is the great missionary, she will do wonders… “… And then here we are … all of us, from all regions of Italy and many other countries, all united under the banner of Schoenstatt! Thank you, Mother, Queen, Thrice Admirable!
I take this opportunity to greet all the wonderful people I met in our meeting in Rome Belmonte, and I wish all a fruitful work.
Original: Italian. Translation: Valerio Salvador, Johannesburg, South Africa. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA