Spain Pilgrimage 2016-11-11T16:39:17+00:00

The Carmelite Pilgrims, November 2015

PILGRIMAGE IN SPAIN

Day One

WE FINALLY ARRIVED IN AVILA AND AFTER CHECKING INTO OUR HOTEL, WE WENT TO LA SANTA FOR CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST WITH FR. STEVEN PAYNE, OCD. THIS CHURCH WAS BUILT ON THE SITE OF ST. TERESA’S FAMILY HOME AND WHERE SHE WAS BORN.


 

AFTER A MUCH NEEDED NIGHT OF REST, WE RETURNED TO LA SANTA FOR MASS CELEBRATED BY FR. LEOPOLD GLUECKERT, O.CARM. WE SET OUT FOR A TOUR OF ST. TERESA’S FIRST FOUNDATION, MONASTERY OF SAN JOSE (ST. JOSEPH). HERE IN THE KITCHEN OF SAN JOSE IS WHERE ST. TERESA SAID LET’S NOT FORGET THAT GOD IS AS PRESENT “AMONG THE POTS AND PANS” AS HE IS ANYWHERE ELSE.
AFTER A VISIT THERE, WE WENT ON TO THE INCARNATION CONVENT WHICH WAS WHERE ST. TERESA ENTERED THE ORDER AND LIVED THERE FOR APPROXIMATELY 27 YEARS BEFORE BEGINNING THE REFORM AND MOVING TO THE MONASTERY OF ST JOSEPH. IT IS SAID THAT AT INCARNATION CONVENT SHE BEGAN HER VISIONS AND IN ONE VISION MET A LITTLE BOY WHO ASKED WHO SHE WAS AND SHE ANSWERED, I AM TERESA OF JESUS AND HE SAID AND I AM JESUS OF TERESA!!

THIS DAY BELONGED TO ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS. WE TRAVELED TO THE WONDERFUL CITY OF SEGOVIA ( A WORLD HERITAGE UNESCO SITE). MASS WAS CELEBRATED BY FR. STEPHEN AT THE CHURCH OF THE MONASTERY OF ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS. THIS IS WHERE ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS IS BURIED.
AFTER A TOUR WITH THE LOCAL GUIDE OF THE CITY, WE HAD A RELAXING LUNCH DINING AL FRESCO AS THE WEATHER WAS BEAUTIFUL IN A SQUARE CROWDED WITH FAMILIES AND LOCALS (AS IT WAS SUNDAY). THIS CITY ALSO BOASTS AN AQUEDUCT BUILT BY THE ROMANS AND ALCAZAR (THE 11TH CENTURY PALACE WHERE QUEEN ISABEL AGREED TO FUND CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS’ JOURNEY TO THE NEW WORLD). ITS WINDING COBBLE-STONED STREETS HOUSED MANY CHARMING SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS AND WE WITNESSED SOME LOCAL MARIONETTE TALENT AND EVEN A TALENTED JAZZ ARTIST.
AS IS AVILA, SEGOVIA IS TRULY A MEMORABLE CITY!
THIS MORNING WE SAID GOODBYE TO AVILA AND TRAVELLED TO FONTIVEROS, THE BIRTHPLACE OF SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS. THIS CHURCH IN WHICH WE CELEBRATED EUCHARIST IS BUILT OVER THE HOME OF ST. JOHN AND THIS IS WHERE HE WAS BAPTIZED. AFTER VISITING THE CHURCH, IT WAS ON TO SALAMANCA.

AWAKING TODAY IN SALAMANCA, THE LARGEST CITY WE HAVE BEEN TO SO FAR. THIS IS HOME TO THE FAMED UNIVERSITY OF SALAMANCA. ST. TERESA ESTABLISHED ANOTHER FOUNDATION AND IT WAS HERE IN SALAMANCA WHERE SHE BEGAN WRITING THE BOOK OF THE FOUNDATIONS. THE ORIGINAL FOUNDATION IN SALAMANCA WAS CLOSED AND IS USED BY SISTERS OF ANOTHER ORDER. WE WENT A SHORT DRIVE TO ALBA DE TORMES WHERE ST. TERESA ESTABLISHED A FOUNDATION (STILL AN ACTIVE DISCALCED MONASTERY) AND ST. JOHN ATTENDED THE DEDICATION. THIS IS THE SITE OF ST. TERESA’S DEATH. IN THE AFTERNOON WE TOOK A WALKING TOUR OF THE CITY OF SALAMANCA VISITING THE UNIVERSITY AND CATHEDRAL.
THIS MORNING WE LEFT SALAMANCA AND TRAVELLED FIRST TO MEDINA DEL CAMPO WHERE ST. TERESA MADE HER SECOND FOUNDATION IN 1567 AND MET SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS FOR THE FIRST TIME. ST. JOHN’S FAMILY MOVED FROM FONTIVEROS TO MEDINA DEL CAMPO WHICH IS WHERE HE GREW UP. THIS IS THE PLACE ST. TERESA CONVINCED ST. JOHN NOT TO LEAVE THE CARMELITE ORDER WHICH HE WANTED TO DO TO JOIN THE CARTHUSIANS FOR A MORE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE. SHE ASKED HIM TO HELP HER IN THE REFORM OF THE ORDER AND HE AGREED. WE THEN TRAVELLED TO VALLADOLID, THE SITE OF ST. TERESA’S FOURTH FOUNDATION AND WHERE ST JOHN SERVED AS CONFESSOR TO ST. TERESA’S NUNS. HERE IN VALLADOLID THERE LIVE 11 CLOISTERED DISCALCED NUNS. THEY WERE KIND ENOUGH TO OPEN THE CLOISTER FOR US TO GATHER IN THEIR RECEIVING HALL TO GREET US, HOWEVER, NO PICTURES COULD BE TAKEN. WE TOURED THE MONASTERY AND THEIR CHAPEL.

WE DROVE SOUTH THIS MORNING TO THE MEDIEVAL CITY OF TOLEDO, RICH IN DIVERSITY, AND INSPIRATION TO MANY OF EL GRECO’S PAINTINGS. TOLEDO BECAME THE HOME OF EL GRECO LATER IN HIS LIFE. HERE WE VISITED THE MONASTERY OF ST. JOSEPH OPENED BY ST. TERESA IN 1569,HER FIFTH FOUNDATION. WE THEN TRAVELLED TO THE CATHEDRAL OF SAINT MARY OF TOLEDO AND CELEBRATED MASS.
WE ARE HEADED BACK TO MADRID TODAY FOR A VISIT TO LOCAL MUSEUMS A VISIT AROUND THE CITY AND MASS AT THE ALMUDENA CATHEDRAL (WHICH WAS DEDICATED BY ST. JOHN PAUL II). WE STOPPED FOR LUNCH IN A BEAUTIFUL SQUARE SURROUNDED BY OUTDOOR RESTAURANTS AND LOVELY SHOPS.

Day Nine

TODAY WE TOOK THE FAST TRAIN FROM MADRID TO SUNNY SEVILLE – TEMPERATURE ABOUT 78 DEGREES. THE TRAIN WAS QUITE COMFORTABLE AND EFFICIENT – TOOK ABOUT 2 1/2 HOURS. THE DAY WAS OURS TO WALK THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY AND HAVE SOME FREE TIME. SOME PILGRIMS WENT ON A RIVER CRUISE – SOME TOURED THE PARKS AND GARDENS. ENDED THE DAY WITH CELEBRATION OF MASS AT ST. BERNARD’S CHURCH AND A DELICIOUS DINNER.

OUR FULL DAY IN SEVILLE, THE CITY OF OPERAS. SEVILLE HAS INSPIRED MANY OPERAS INCLUDING CARMEN, THE BARBER OF SEVILLE AND MANY OPERAS ABOUT THE CHARACTER DON JUAN! IT WAS ALSO THE PLACE WHERE SCENES FROM THE MOVIES LAWRENCE OF ARABIA AND STAR WARS (PART 7) WERE SHOT. WE BEGAN OUR DAY IN THE PARQUE OF MARIA LUISA (SISTER OF QUEEN ISABELLA). SHE ESTABLISHED PLAZAS SURROUNDED BY BEAUTIFUL GARDENS.

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– SAID TO BE THE 3RD LARGEST IN CHRISTENDOM. TONIGHT WE WILL HAVE A TALK FROM FR. DANIEL CHOWNING, OCD AND FR. LEOPOLD GLUECKERT, O.CARM. ON THE INTERIOR CASTLE. TOMORROW WE WILL ARRIVE IN CORDOBA…..
ARRIVED IN CORDOBA FOR A TOUR OF THE CITY ON OUR WAY TO GRENADA. THIS CITY WAS CONQUERED BY THE ROMANS ABOUT 200 B.C. THEN IN 711 WAS CAPTURED BY THE MUSLIMS AND IN 1236 WAS CAPTURED BY THE CHRISTIANS. IT IS THE CITY OF GREAT THINKERS SUCH AS THE ROMAN SENECA AND WAS THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE JEWISH PHILOSOPHER MAIMONIDES. AFTER A WALK AROUND THE CENTRAL PART OF THE CITY AND THE OLD JEWISH QUARTER, WE VISITED THE GREAT MOSQUE/CATHEDRAL OF MEZQUITA. THE FULL CATHOLIC NAME IS THE CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY OF THE ASSUMPTION. THIS SITE WAS FIRST A MOSQUE, THEN A CATHEDRAL. AFTER A WONDERFUL LUNCH WE BEGAN OUR JOURNEY TO GRENADA…….

WE ARRIVE IN GRANADA IN TIME FOR A WELCOMED DINNER AND A GOOD NIGHT’S REST. TODAY WE TOUR ALHAMBRA – THE PALACE OF THE MUSLIM EMIRS IN SPAIN. WE ALSO HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WALK ABOUT THE CITY CENTER OF GRANADA. ST. TERESA ESTABLISHED ONE OF HER LAST FOUNDATIONS HERE, ALTHOUGH SHE NEVER VISITED THIS CARMEL. SHE SENT ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS AND TWO NUNS TO HANDLE THE OPENING OF THIS MONASTERY OF ST. JOSEPH IN 1582. THIS IS THE ONLY FOUNDATION NOT MENTIONED IN FOUNDATIONS. WHEN WE VISITED THE ST. JOSEPH MONASTERY, THE NUNS CAME TO GREET US. THERE ARE NINE NUNS IN THAT COMMUNITY. WE NEED TO PRAY FOR VOCATIONS FOR THE GRENADA CARMEL.
TOMORROW MORNING WE LEAVE TO RETURN TO MADRID TO PREPARE FOR OUR DEPARTURE.

WE LEFT GRANADA ON THE “FAST TRAIN” BACK TO MADRID. ARRIVING IN MADRID, WE VISITED THE CARMELITE CHURCH OF SAINTS TERESA AND JOHN OF THE CROSS. THIS IS A PARISH CHURCH RUN BY THE CARMELITES. WE THEN CELEBRATED EUCHARIST AT THE CATHEDRAL AND ARRIVED TO OUR HOTEL FOR OUR LAST NIGHT IN SPAIN. THE GROUP MET WITH FATHERS DANIEL AND LEOPOLD TO DISCUSS OUR EXPERIENCES ON THIS PILGRIMAGE AND HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FOUNDATION OF ST. TERESA. FROM THIS EXPERIENCE WE LEARNED THAT AFTER 500 YEARS, ST. TERESA’S FOUNDATIONS AND TEACHINGS ARE VERY VIBRANT AND RELATIVE. WE EXPERIENCED THE JOY FROM HER NUNS LIVING THE CARMELITE WAY LEFT TO THEM BY THEIR “MOTHER”, ST. TERESA, AND WE WILL BE FOREVER CHANGED HAVING WITNESSED THIS. MANY BONDS AND NEW FRIENDSHIPS WERE FORGED ON THIS TRIP AND WE ARE VERY BLESSED TO HAVE SHARED THIS TOGETHER.

WE LEFT OUR HOTEL VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING TO HEAD BACK TO THE AIRPORT FOR OUR JOURNEY BACK HOME. WE SAID GOODBYE TO SPAIN AND TO EACH OTHER – BRINGING WITH US ALL THE MEMORIES AND EXPERIENCES AND NEW FRIENDSHIPS…..