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My First Pilgrimage

I would like to share with you a beautiful sign that I received a day before making my first [hitchhiking] pilgrimage.

It was a day that I had troubled thoughts and many worries; I was so anxious. My greatest fear was that I would not be capable of living such radicality or that I might have a crisis in the middle of the pilgrimage. Also, as I have some trouble with my knee, I thought about the pain and not being able to walk much or at all. I thought I would not be able to live out this experience and therefore not live out the charism of this community.

After walking forward and backward a bit, I thought about telling the others that I did not want to go on pilgrimage because I was very afraid, but before saying anything I passed the chapel and said: “Lord, help me. I don’t know how to do this,” and then I went into the cell. I took the “Sacred Passport” (a spiritual document of our community) to give it a glance, and I thought: “Let me see something here.” I opened it up by chance to a page with a picture with the words: “Sacred” Departure! (pag. 1) I try to read what was written and I saw in bold “Therefore take courage, cross the line of departure” (pag X). Then, I began to check out the Bile passage written in the picture, and the first one I saw caught my attention: “For at first she will walk with him on tortuous paths, she will bring fear and cowardice upon him, and will torment him by her discipline until she trusts him, and she will test him with her ordinances. Then she will come straight back to him and gladden him and will reveal her secrets to him.” (Sir. 4:17-18)

My goodness! I felt a fire in my heart, for the Lord had answered my cry for help, giving me certainty through this Biblical passage. The same night, I also received an exhortation and blessing from our founder, Fr. Volantino. The day after, I departed along the street (on foot and hitchhiking with another sister and a brother) with heart calm in abandonment.

In my first experience of pilgrimage of ten days, I crossed Italy. It was all beautiful to strongly live the charism and to experience the Providence of God taking care of every detail. There was no time for useless worries and exaggerated suffering.

I end by sharing the last passage that I found in the morning, the day of the pilgrimage. I took the “Sacred” Passport and when I opened it, I read in the cover: “Blessed is he who finds his strength in God and decides the ‘holy way’ in his heart” (cf. Ps 83:6)

Rita De Cassia – in the six months of experience with the psgm

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