Heather in Rome

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. - St. Augustine

Tuesday, February 21


I have now been to the Emmanuel-famous pilgrimage site in France called Paray-le-Monial. It is a small town where Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary in the 1600's and focused on the image of His Sacred Heart that loved the world so much. I've been hearing about it for 4 1/2 months now so to finally experience this place with the school was a treat. The first two days were a retreat for the four Emmanuel schools and the last two days were part of a youth forum where 700 young people from France and other places came together to praise and learn more about the faith.

It was a good experience. I was hoping for a big encounter with God, but He chose a more subtle path, leading me to deeper prayer in the St. Claude Chapel and a bigger desire than normal to praise. Odds are, when there are 800 people singing the same song, even if it is in French, it is probably going to be easier to get into the praise than normal. So that was good, celebratory. We had a great time of praise, testimony, and adoration on Saturday night and I got to help lead the prayer during that night, which I liked. In the early evening on Saturday, I gave a little testimony, on how this year has transformed us so far in the school, to present the ESM. Other schools sang, danced, or gave a testimony too. It was fun because I would talk and then Carole would translate and people laughed at the funny parts, even before Carole translated. And I'm probably known as the girl from CA: when I said that I was from there people started cheering and then later at meals, people would say, "Are you the girl from CA?" You got to love being a California girl, the Beach Boys made us famous.

The rides to and from Paray were actually quite fun. On the way there, it was a 15 1/2 hour bus ride and on the way back it was only 13 1/2 hours. You would think I got to read a lot or sleep a lot, but actually not. Instead the group talked a lot, played a movie trivia game, prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, sang praise. It was great. I got to talk to people I don't talk to very much during the average school day. Best of all, there seems to be a greater sense of unity between everyone. It's amazing what 29 hours on a bus and 4 days in Paray can do for a community.

Now I'm back in Rome. Sick again. I feel like I've been sick in one way or another since I got back from Christmas vacation. My theory is that not only do I live in very close quarters with 18 people, but my pillow is rock hard so I sleep poorly most of the time. So my body is not getting uninterrupted sleep each night and that makes me more susceptible to the germs that go through the school. I did manage to avoid the stomach flu that went through here a week and a half ago and hit about 7 people. Ughhh, I just want to be better, healthy.

On a happy note, Camp Gray accepted me (www.campgray.com). Now I have to pray about it and let them know by March 3rd. I'll probably say yes, but I want to make sure to think it over. No matter what I do, it won't be easy transitioning out of the ESM.


  • At 3:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Heather, I hadn't read your blog for a bit, so I am happy to hear you were accepted to the camp program. You have a good listening heart, so I am sure you will know if it is the right thing for you. On another note, thanks for the quote in your last blog entry. It was just what I needed to hear today!

    Big hugs,


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