Bon Soir one last time from France (for this leg of our “pilgrimage”):
We arose early this morning, knowing that we had an almost a four-hour drive over the Pyrenees Mountains to Zaragoza, Spain. We initially had the hopes of making Mass one more time at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. But it was raining and very cold so we opted to get to Zaragoza to make the 5:00 P.M. Mass there. It was so wonderful to “finally” have options to attend Daily Mass.
We headed out of Lourdes and began the long trek up the Pyrenees Mountain Range. I zigzagged our way up to the top on some very, very narrow mountain roads. I think Susan took over 100 photos of the escalating ride through the mountains, but I think there are less than a dozen that we kept… and several are still a bit blurry because I don’t think she enjoyed the exuberating ride as much as I did …in fact, I’m sure! A lot of “dashboard shots” were sent to the cutting room floor.
When we reached the very top of the Pyrenees … and just before crossing the border into Spain, we stopped to stretch our legs, pull Susan out of the car, have a cup of Café Con Leche, a Toilette and chill her nerves. Having accomplished all, we headed back on the road and the descent down the Pyrenees with the same photo opportunities (or lack there-of) that Susan was in charge of. The drive, to me, was spectacular, stupendous, invigorating and every other word I could possibly use to describe the experience … as it always has been for me as I drive across these incredible mountain ranges. And Susan won’t admit until 2 days later. I think she said to remind her not to talk to me until we got to Florida 2 times.
We made it to Zaragoza around 1:30 P.M. and finally found our hotel in the center of the Town Center (I hate cities … I think we drove down every narrow street). I parked our car in their private garage, we brought our overnight bags to the room and headed out with one rolling suitcase filled with our laundry … it was time! Well, it was at least a 40 minute fiasco since the girl at the front desk had given us directions to a “dry cleaners” which was not open and could have taken 5 days to get our clean clothes. We kept walking back and forth on a thoroughfare … asking at least a dozen different people where the “lavandere” (coin laundry) was. We were answered by each with different directions … in completely different areas of the city! We continued to walk around toting our rolling suitcase for about 10 more minutes before giving up and returning to our hotel. Not a lot of photos when things are not “happy times”. Back at the hotel, I got on to Google Maps and found a local coin laundry nearby … it was only about a 9 minute walk from the hotel … blocks away from it when trying to find our way. Case closed … no laundry in Zaragoza! I checked for a couple of laundries in areas we will be staying in the next few days and found one where we have a two night stay. So laundry will have to wait. Except for the socks & underwear that Susan decided to wash/sanitize in the bathtub at our Zaragoza hotel. Now it was time for what we had come to Zaragoza for … to visit and Pray at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza, Spain … it has been our dream to re-visit this magnificent Shrine to Our Lady which we had been to five years ago. It was just as beautiful and sacred as ever … just as we had both remembered. From the moment you walk through the tremendous huge double doors, your whole being is taken over by the Sanctity of Our Lord, Our Lady, the Saints and the Angels.
This is one of few Shrines where we have been “scolded” when trying to capture photos to share with all of you. This time we got a bit “lucky”! We were only yelled at once for being caught taking photos … but that is “okay” … I managed to get as many photos as possible so that you can experience this majestic and Holy Shrine. On our last pilgrimage, we got caught with Susan taking a photo of me venerating the Pillar of Our Lady. Susan got angry with the priest who yelled at us him because she wanted to share this Sacred Shrine with all of you.
When Father saw us at Mass a little later, we think he was a little shocked and felt guilty because it was apparent we were there to Honor Our Lady …
we were not there as “Tourists”.
Sitting in the front row at Mass … just several feet from Our Lady of the Pillar during the 5:00 P.M. Mass was an incredible experience. The piety, the Prayers, the reverence of the Congregation, the Clergy and those around Our Lady’s Chapel is not able to be described. We do not take photos during a Mass Liturgy, so we hope you feel our inspirations. When Mass concluded, we remained in our pew … in front of the Sacred Statue of Our Lady Holding Jesus and Prayed our Rosary for all of you and your Special Intentions. Having finished our Rosary and almost ready to depart the Shrine, we returned to once again Venerate Our Lord on the Cross to thank him for this day and to petition Him to hear our Prayers for your Intentions.
The story of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza, Spain is here. This
story also encompasses a good part of a Chapter in The Mystical City of God book … for this was the First Apparition of Our Blessed Mother (in 40 A.D.) when she was still alive on this Earth … and the Angels transported Her from Jerusalem to Zaragoza to console and guide Saint James … please be sure to read The Mystical City of God by Venerable Maria de Jesus de Agreda … you won’t ever forget it.
We returned to our hotel room, got out our Trip Report from the previous day, and settled in for the evening after another sang-o-wich to appease our hunger. Lights out at 9:00 P.M. to be ready for an early morning.
Bona Serra (not sure … just arrived in Spain!)
Susan and Tom
Tom & Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)
Mary, Mother of Jesus,
give me your heart
so beautiful, so pure,
that I may be able to receive
Jesus in the Bread of Life,
love Him as you loved Him,
and serve Him as you served Him
in the distressing disguise
of the poorest of the poor.