Saturday, April 23, 2011
I saw one of our fellow pilgrims to Fatima and Lourdes last night at mass. She and her husband were our favorite people on the trip to hang out with and eat meals with. They are originally from Sri Lanka and in their 70's, but you would never know it by their up and go. They seem more like 40 :) I told her I was pregnant and she was so excited and said she already knew because she had a vision of me and our baby walking together the other day and she thought I must be pregnant. She reminded me of one of our times spent together on the trip, and I realized I haven't even shared much of the pilgrimage especially anything about Fatima!
I think I mentioned before that Fatima totally made our trip. My friend and I were so stoked about going to Lourdes and that was the highlight of our trip, but once we were in Fatima, we felt like we were in absolute presence of Our Lady - more so than any other place on earth. We didn't want to leave there and I will definitely go back one day I hope - I owe a promise to Our Lady!!
While we were there, our saintly tour guide, Javier, told us about the "knee walk" on the marble walkway from the end of the basilica to the small chapel of apparitions. There is a local legend in Fatima that whoever prays the rosary while walking on their knees from the high point around the chapel (or inside the chapel three times if there is not a mass being said) will have their special intention and prayer answered by Our Lady. After the prayer is answered, you must come back and pray the rosary again walking on your knees in thanksgiving at some point. He had done it, and each time his prayers were answered (his son's request of meeting the pope, his mother's cancer cured). We asked Javier the best time and way to do the knee walk, and he told us to come find him after we completed our rosary. My friend and I decided to make the knee walk, but the only problem was that the marble walkway was constantly covered with people or all ages especially small older women, many of them crying their way through the prayers. We decided to get up very early on our last day. We were out there before the sunrise, and there were still many people on the walk. It took about 30 minutes or so and about halfway through it, we experienced searing pain. We prayed through the pain, and when we returned to our hotel room, our knees were blistered up with hanging skin and open flesh. We put some bandaids on our knees, but later Javier doctored us up with some ointment and told us to leave the skin open to heal. Kneeling at daily mass was not the most comfortable experience after that, the skin rebroke and rehealed daily. Well, needless to say my prayer was for a healthy pregnancy and baby, and if this pregnancy continues I will be heading back to Fatima to make the knee walk rosary in thanksgiving!
Another great memory which was brought back to me after seeing our Sri Lankan friends last night was when we burned our wax body parts. My friend thought this was kinda archaic and strange, but I was all over it!! We saw wax babies, heads, arms, legs, eyes, ears, feet - you name it - at every little tourist shop in Fatima. I decided to look for a uterus, although my friend thought I was kinda nuts. I went into a shop and explained to the lady about my history and what I was looking for and she handed me stomach and uterus/fallopian tubes. She said to pray to Blessed Jacinta for our baby and gave me a small paper laminated medal of my favorite picture of Jacinta. That night after the rosary my Sri Lankan friend, who suffered from a near death aneurism in her brain, came with her wax head and we walked to the fire pit near the chapel of apparitions. We prayed together and threw in our uterus, stomach, and brain. She told me last night at her last appointment her doctor told her the aneurism is gone and there is no need to come back to see him!!
This picture is of Saint Lucia's neice. Our guide said it was a rare treat that we got to see her, she comes every so often to the family home and sits under this shade tree near where the angel appeared to the children to say her rosary.
My friend made me a scrapbook (since my wallet was stolen out of my basket at kroger the day I returned with my camera picture card of Fatima) so I apologize for the smudginess of the photos taken with my phone from the book.