Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Italy Beckoned and Blessed

Danny & Rob, SpiritJuice
 During the last two weeks of October a group of four Daughters of St. Paul, eight Pauline Cooperators, two filmmakers, and one chaplain “pilgrimmed” in Italy. We ranged from Milan and Turin, to Alba—where we were founded—and its environs, to Assisi and Orvieto, and then to Rome. Two sisters and the filmmakers comprised a film crew that dedicated most of their waking hours to capturing the spirit of Bl. James Alberione on screen, by tracing the birth of the Pauline Family as well as its growth through some of the key faces and places of that Family today. They’ve put together two lightning charged music videos of their experience at and

We prayed for our friends and donors, especially at the shrine of the Madonna of Graces in Cherasco, our founder’s boyhood town in Piedmont. The story goes that one day young James was anxiously praying to pass a test. Hedging a refusal, he promised Mary he’d light a candle if he passed. Pass he did, then told his mother about the bargain. He had to; he had no money for the candle! She told him something he never forgot: Before you promise anything, make sure you can deliver. Then once you promise, be sure to keep it. With that she gave him what he needed, adding, “And light a big one.”

We lit a big one for you, too, in gratitude for all the promises you’ve made and kept toward us. Thanks to benefactors from years gone by, Sr. Paula Cordero, who established the Daughters of St. Paul in the U.S. in 1932, gave a major donation in their name to repair and maintain this shrine, not far from her own birthplace.

We had our own private Mass with our chaplain, Fr. Paul Aveni, in the Peace Chapel in Assisi on the U.N.’s World Day of Peace, as well as the following day in Orvieto in the Eucharistic chapel that houses the miraculous corporal, (a cloth used on the altar at Mass). For an account of the miracle see

Rome: At the Wednesday General Audience we couldn’t have been positioned better. Pope Benedict passed right behind us. As if that hadn’t been enough, he surprised us all by driving by a second time! The photo you see was taken by Drew and Taryn Moir from Glasgow. This enjoyable young couple was sitting next to me, and managed better snapshots than I did. The topic of Pope Benedict’s talk was St. Brigid of Sweden as an example of married holiness (“conjugal spirituality,” he called it) and dedication to the cultural and political/social milieu in which she and her family lived. A bonus was the Pope’s mention of Mary, Queen of Apostles, Brigid’s forerunner in women’s influence of the Church. It was easy for the Cooperators especially to connect the dots. You can access the entire audience at

And do we have pictures! The initial photos will be available online within the week.

In spite of difficulties here and there, the pilgrimage was blessed. You can read the reflections of Rae Stabosz at Maryann Toth commented, “When we first became Cooperators and studied the history of the Pauline Family, we didn’t even know who Alberione was. This pilgrimage has made it concrete.” Margie Skeels called discovering the Pauline Family’s roots “a rich heritage.  It was great to follow the footsteps of St. Paul and to see the bones of St. Peter in the scavi.  Lovely people, lovely churches, and, equally, great camaraderie. Celebrating All Saints and All Souls is very meaningful considering all those who have gone before us….”


  1. I loved the idea of the music video, but I couldn't make heads or tails of it because the cuts happened too fast. I dug around the Interweb Tubes for a bit and found this excellent set of tips and tricks for making a really good photo montage video.

    I love how we as Catholics are working so hard to reach out to each other and to the rest of the world with these new social media tools. Thanks again for sharing a part of yourself with us.

  2. K T Cat, thank you for your interest and encouragement. I'm very sorry not to have responded to your comments before this, but I tried last week, and it disappeared on me. I'm new to this blog-thing, so keep posting, and sooner or later, I'll get the hang of it.


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