After journeying with Sister Carol Ann Gambsky, Sister Caritas Marie Le Claire and other pilgrims to Assisi and Rome June 4-16, 2012 with Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs, Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Maria Goretti Scandalioto shares her heart-felt reflections on the meaning of pilgrimage. Be sure to click on the link below to read all of Sister Maria Goretti’s inspired thoughts. As a Community, we are invited to make a pilgrimage to the holy places of St. Francis and St. Clare as part of our continuing formation as Franciscan women religious.
As I sit here on the Alitalia flight heading back to the U.S.A., I hear and experience a great variety of fellow travelers around me. To my left are two Italian young men enjoying a lively conversation, while to my right is another young man quietly reading. Behind me are youthful voices talking, laughing, shuffling cards, and watching a science fiction movie being shown on the television screen just in front of us. Somewhere behind me a baby’s voice can be heard, and quietly nestled in between are some pilgrims—friends who have journeyed with Sister Carol Ann Gambsky, Sister Caritas Marie Le Claire, and me to the holy places of Assisi and Rome.
Prior to June 4th, the Assisi Pilgrimage was only a dream, a goal, a longing of the heart. Today, as we travel home, it is a memory — a deeply contemplative experience to be cherished, savored, and brought to fruition in the daily living out of our Franciscan vocation. Until now, I had not fully understood the meaning of pilgrimage, my only expectation being to see the land where Francis and Clare began their walk with God. I quickly came to realize, however, that Pilgrimage is not only to see; it is to experience the life and journey of Francis at the deepest level of one’s being, and to do this within a community of pilgrims who get to know one another as companions on a wonderful journey. Continue here.