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Boots on the Ground

The flight to London was wonderful. I have the temperament of a child in a car seat, the moment the flight gets in the air I fall asleep. I woke up a few times but it was for a minute or two. I fully woke up flying over London ready to land. I arrived at 8:00 am GMT feeling refreshed and filled with wonder.

”Trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be” ―Saint Teresa of Avila

I did have a few moments before the flight to speak with the flight attendant. Her main curiosity was the bread. I explained to her, like I did the woman in San Francisco, about fasting and the Blessed Virgin. She was not Catholic and did not have a particular faith. She was very interested in knowing more. We had a lovely little chat and then it was bed time. Upon arrival she came up to me and asked if she could give me a hug and if I would pray for her. It reminded me to never be afraid of telling people about God and the wisdom of our faith. Always do it with a smile on my face and love in my heart. While I am not always met with a kind response, I do know because I approached it with love I planted mustard seeds.

Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. Proverbs 2:11

Entry into the UK was no harder than boarding the flight from San Diego to San Francisco. I had to book my next flight before passing through immigration. Our Lord made the choice easy as the only flight with a shrine close by available was Lisbon. I have a few hours here in London so I am feeding the birds in the airport, having a cup of tea (that’s water right?), and reading proverbs. I am waiting to do the rosary until I arrive in Fatima. I have never been there and am giddy like a 5 year old girl waiting to enter Disneyland.

"He who loves the Immaculata with sacrificial dedication will be saved, become holy, and help others [on the way] to holiness." Maximilian Kolbe


Like clockwork I got on the plane to Lisbon and fell asleep. I woke up in enough time to see the landscape on our descent. Beautiful is the word that came to mind. Upon arrival I asked about ways to get to Fatima and was directed to the Sete Rios bus station. Grace would have it a bus was leaving within the hour.

Now onboard I am so deliriously giddy about seeing our Mother soon. I am still carrying the bread around, which seems silly. It has become something special to me and it doesn’t seem to get in the way.


I got off the bus and saw on Google maps my hotel was across the street from the Sanctuary. I decided to walk from the bus station to the hotel so I could arrive at the Sanctuary tired, burdened with a backpack and disheveled from the journey. It does not matter how many movies/ documentaries/ books you read about a place, the moment you stand on holy ground your heart is at peace.

At the sight of the cross on top of the Basilica the tears began. Walking on the stones leading to the site of the apparition I imagined the footsteps of the penitents that came before me I was following. How many prayers have been prayed by earnest and contrite hearts?

I quickly checked into my hotel and set out to see all I could see before the travel fatigue set in. Rosary in hand I sat down in the chapel of the apparitions and proceeded to pray every prayer request by name.

At 9pm GMT the rosary was prayed with about 200 faithful finished with a procession of the cross and Our Lady of Fatima. My heart was filled with gratitude.


Today I have mass, the rosary, stations of the cross and prayer. I plan to soak in the place that Mary chose to reveal her secrets to us. My rosary beads will be wrapped around my hand at every step. I love the idea of holding our Blessed Mothers hand on a journey.

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