Pilgrimage: Reflection from a Retreatant

This reflection was written by Kathy, a participant in the first Denver LOL Retreat:

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
~ Luke 1:39

World Youth Day ended today in Madrid. Millions of young and old people from around the world traveled to see the Pope in Madrid and experience the exhilaration of praying with millions of other faithful Catholics. Pilgrims travel a distance to be in a holy place and they seek holiness. There is something about the traveling towards a place of holiness that opens the heart to God. Leaving the Everyday behind and moving towards the Holy. Other pilgrims also sustain and reaffirm this effort. The physical journey represents the spiritual journey taking place in the pilgrim’s heart.

In a few weeks, thousands will travel to the University of Notre Dame for the first football game of the season. Notre Dame is holy ground for those who love the University and its football team. Many of us fell in love at first sight with the Notre Dame campus – the natural beauty of the trees, lakes and quads, the quiet serenity of the Grotto, and the shining Golden Dome. The pilgrims who travel to Notre Dame usually have an exhilarating experience there and they long to return again and again.

Last week, another Notre Dame pilgrimage took place for a group of women who participated in the 1st Annual Ladies of Our Lady Retreat in Denver, Colorado. Women came from Maryland, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. They congregated at the Shrine of St. Francis Cabrini, in the foothills overlooking Denver. Like Notre Dame, this place is both holy and beautiful. The high altitude air is breathtaking and refreshing. Coming together, these women were conducted on a spiritual journey in which they would come to make God known, loved, and served.

In Luke’s gospel, after the annunciation, Mary decided to take a road trip. We may reflect on the pilgrimage that Mary made to her cousin Elizabeth’s side. We pray that we may strive to make God known, loved and served by accepting God’s will for us. May our hearts be open to the holiness of places of pilgrimage. May we carry that holiness back into our homes and everyday lives.

And our hearts forever, love thee Notre Dame!

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