“At the end of the road, there is Someone waiting for you”

Natalie shares her experience partaking in the pilgrimage to the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Chicago. "The most striking event for me was to see how Christ takes our desire seriously and does so not only for the one desirer but for the whole world."

On Saturday June 1, ten friends from Chicago, Champaign, Rochester, Baltimore, and Houston set out on foot to walk twelve miles to the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Chicago. The invitation and origin of the pilgrimage came from my friend Ula who, a few years prior, shared with a friend her desire to go on pilgrimage, as she was accustomed to in Poland to Our Lady of Częstochowa. Her friend said, “I want to walk with you,” and so the Chicago pilgrimage to Mother Cabrini began and is now a sister pilgrimage to the Macerata-Loreto pilgrimage in Italy.

The morning of our pilgrimage I was struck by many things: the beauty of the lake, the beach, the parks, and the city architecture. I was struck also by the eagerness of those wanting to stay together in silence, in prayer, and in step. Ula and Paolo were attentive in helping us walk at a unified pace to aid our understanding that we were on this path together. Yet, the most striking event for me was to see how Christ takes our desire seriously and does so not only for the one desirer but intends it for the whole world.

Personally, I did not have a particular knowledge of or affection for Mother Cabrini. However, this Saint has shown up several times for me during the past year through friends who shared their encounters with her. A few months ago, Ula told some friends that her work on the historic preservation of Mother Cabrini’s articles was for her an awareness of the Word becoming flesh. “Mother Cabrini invaded my life,” Ula explained. We were so moved by her being moved that immediately two of us purchased our plane tickets to Chicago to join her on the pilgrimage to Mother Cabrini!

The twelve miles of walking together included morning prayer, silence, songs, the rosary, and time to rest and talk. Fifty feet from our destination, Ula encouraged us to be silent as we walked together to the altar rail to meet the Saint and thank her for her intercession in bringing us safely there. Upon entering the Shrine, I wondered what Mother Cabrini could have in store for me or want from me. I remembered meeting her first last summer in New York during a time of excitement in my life, then meeting her again in Denver in November during a time of sorrow and confusion. Now, I met her in Chicago during a time of joy and gratitude and discovered simply she is a friend given as a companion in my life.

Every day I will contemplate the faces of the saints.
Book of Hours

Natalie, Texas, USA