God blessed us with an opportunity of a lifetime last week. The ITI planned a pilgrimage to visit the Holy Shroud of Turin. We were able to work for the ITI as a way of defraying most of the cost of the trip. Debbie, Felicity, and Cody spent an entire Saturday cleaning out the attic of the castle that the ITI resides in. I am guessing that it has been several decades, at least, since it was last cleaned. It was nasty work.
We left Trumau Wednesday night (May 12 – the vigil of the Ascension) at 5:30 pm. The bus traveled all night. We stopped at a rest stop at 6am so we could brush our teeth and change clothes before we got to Turin. We got to Turin at 7am or so. They estimate there will be two million people see the Shroud in the two months it is displayed. The Shroud has been displayed to the public only five times (that includes this time) in the last 120 years! What a blessing that we were able to stand before the burial shroud of our Lord.
We wound our way through the Cathedral’s complex to get to the Shroud. About the last twenty minutes of the wait was in complete in silence. It was such a blessing to have the time to prepare ourselves for what we were about to see. We were allowed about five minutes in front of the Shroud. I can’t put words to what I experienced. The strongest was the presence of God. I was so grateful and humbled. After our time was up, we could go enter into the back of the cathedral to pray more before the Shroud. I could have stayed there a very long time. (We were not allowed to take pictures so I don’t have any of inside the church.)
The Lee crew in front of the Cathedral. Zeke was asleep. Cody was ill and stayed home.
Zach and an Italian soldier.
It was a special privilege to see the Shroud on the Feast of the Ascension. There is evidence that the Shroud was used as an altar cloth. Some believe that the origin of the corporal (the piece of cloth placed on the altar where the gifts are placed) in the Latin Church and the antimension in the Eastern Church (and the epitaphion) came from the use of the Shroud as an altar cloth.
After we left the Church, we walked to another church for Mass. This church contained the relics of St. Don Bosco, St. Dominic Savio, and St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello. The walk was beautiful.
Inside the dome over the main altar at St. Francis’.
We left Turin and drove up into the Italian mountains to the place where we would spend Thursday night. We were all excited to actually sleep in a bed and not in a bus seat. No one had been to the place we were staying. We were in for a wonderful surprise. We stayed at the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Oropa. It is one of the oldest in Italy. It is a huge basilica nestled in the mountains. We were only a few hundred feet elevation from snow. It was gorgeous. The pictures just won’t do it justice.
The basilica from the middle courtyard.
Our Lady of Oropa.
We left Oropa first thing in the morning on Friday so we would have a little time in the city of Padua. What an amazing day. We saw St. Luke (the one who wrote the Gospel and Acts of the Apostles), St. Matthias (the one who replaced Judas Iscariot Acts 1:15-26), St. Anthony of Padua (his tomb and his incorrupt tongue, voice box, and lower jaw), and letters written by St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, and St. Vincent de Paul. I do not have any pictures from within St. Anthony’s basilica. They weren’t allowed. I will post a few of the others.
Tomb and relics of St. Matthias. We were there on his feast day.
Tomb of St. Luke
The boys in a park across from the basilica.
We left Padua at 7pm on Friday evening and arrived back in Trumau at 2:30am. It was an intense, fully packed pilgrimage. It will take a while to meditate on all that we saw. We saw more saints in two days than all of the American saints combined, I think. It has such an impact on your faith and the reality of these great saints. There really were people who lived in specific places, and they really touched specific people.
Thank you! Thank you so much for the great gift of being over here. There would never be enough time in all eternity to express my gratitude for all that you have given us and allowed us to experience. We can only hope to share it with you.