We have posted their journeys before and know you will enjoy this one as well. In the last year Tom was diagnosed with cancer, and having had to go through treatments, and a great deal of suffering, is now well enough to travel. And believe us, this is quite a bit of traveling!
The subject title for my e-mail that I sent out was “CYBERKNIFE & THE HOLY LAND PRE-PILGRIMAGE REPORT”, which was quite a title. The reason for it is that because of the CyberKnife Treatments I recently underwent, we are still able to travel on our 8th “Personal Pilgrimage”.
I can’t thank all of you enough for the love, support, Prayers and Masses that you have offered up for me. Susan and I believe that the path we took treating the liver cancer was a guiding light from above because of you. We won’t have the results of the treatments until the end of June, but everyone at my Oncologist’s Office feels very positive. I recently had another blood test that was also very positive. I feel great, other than old age pains, and I continue to put my life in God’s hands.
The CyberKnife Robotic Radiation Treatments were two hours every other day for five treatments. The machine would shoot laser-guided radiation directly into the tumor from every angle it possibly could. Over 200 beams of radiation at each session. It was amazing that during these sessions, the “robot” would change it own lens from a table with 12 lenses on it. If all goes as it should, there should only be a small scar tissue left after a couple months. We will keep you posted.
Now, as far as the Holy Land, we embark on our “8th Personal Pilgrimage” this Friday, May 27th. This year, two very dear friends of ours are coming along with us. Sam and Johna have never been to Europe (nor on a pilgrimage), so we all look forward to the adventure and spiritual experiences we will hopefully share together. This year’s “personal pilgrimage” will include Spain, The Holy Land (our first trip there!!!!), Rome, Italy and a return to Poland.
Bon Soir: On Friday, we will be traveling to Krakow (Cracow), Poland and I don’t have a clue what my greetings will be yet. But today is Wednesday! After a good night’s sleep, we were still very tired this morning. I think we are wearing out. We showered and loaded the car, had a lite breakfast and headed out to a very special Shrine to Our Blessed Mother in L’Ile Bouchard, France, which we had visited on one of our earlier pilgrimages. It was cold and raining, very difficult driving at times, so we took the back roads and avoided the highways and toll roads. It was a peaceful ride through the countryside except for a few very narrow roads which I could tell Susan wasn’t too happy about (with her “total silence). I kept telling her that there were no cliffs and I could pull on the grass at the shoulder of the road if I had to … but she didn’t hear me or elected not to respond to me. We were running early for Mass so I stopped in the village before L’Ile Bouchard to have a cup of Hot Java to warm us up. There were people around the Cafe’ and I really wanted to show off my Grey Cargo Pants that are now Rust Colored because of the bleach I used as laundry soap when we were at Rosa’s Inn (testing to see if you remember!). I realized today that my cargo’s are now actually “tye-dyed”, but I am wearing them again tomorrow so that we don’t have to do laundry again (left the bleach with Rosa)!
We had changed our aggressive plan for today and decided to make this our only stop and, hopefully, make it with the bad weather in time for the 11:15 Mass. There is a beautiful story below about the apparitions here …but this Shrine had special meaning for me.
It was here that I first started to pray for Karina to Saint John Paul II before he was canonized … a young girl we had met at our Cathedral many, many years ago who was severely challenged in many ways .. and I Prayed to Saint John Paul for the first time, here, for Karina to speak and have a normal life. Six years later it happened…..and Karina speaks!
So, when we entered the Church of St. Giles and Our Lady of Prayer at L’Ile Bouchard Church today, I immediately saw a Side Chapel Shrine in honor of Saint John Paul II and went to his Shrine to thank him. It was a special moment for me and it was emotionally rewarding to thank him. I know that Our Blessed Mother also had a hand in it so I thanked her too.
A group of school children came in to Pray the Rosary with their Religious Instructors as well as for Mass and we figured out that they were going to receive their First Holy Communion this weekend. During the Homily, the young Pastor of the Church instructed them on the how to receive Communion. Several times the adults in the Congregation would laugh at Father’s demonstrations of what not to do … don’t hold both hands over your head … don’t say “Merci” instead of “Amen” … don’t grab the Host and start chewing on it, etc. After Mass we sat in the back to finish our morning prayers and the Father came over to greet us. He was very glad that we had come from America to the Shrine and astonished when we told him that this was our second time. We told him we were going to Krakow to visit with Cardinal Dziwisz and his Episcopal Secretary, Father Tomasz and he asked us to tell him that the Relic of Saint John Paul II that the Cardinal had gifted him with the Shrine of Our Lady of Pray in L’Ile Bouchard was being encased alongside a relic of Mother Theresa in an elorabate setting and would soon be installed in the Parish Church …before the upcoming Synod. We promised to deliver his message. We went for a coffee and hopefully a toilette down the street so we could Pray our Rosary calmly back at the Shrine. The Cafe with Creme was one of the best we have had. We finished and returned to the Parish Church of St. Giles. We were all alone back at the Shrine before the place of the apparition where we had lit candles and entered your intentions and peacefully spent at least another 1/2 hour (if not more, but who is counting) with Our Blessed Mother. When we left we programmed the queen for our B&B and added a stop for a restaurant so we could eat along the way. Didn’t happen, so we stopped in a supermache and purchased today’s lunch, tonight’s snack, and tomorrow whatever. We had food and a bottle of wine of course. The ride to our B&B was 2 hours and I finally got tired of the rain and the sound. I wanted to jump out of the car but managed to make it there. Susan felt the same.
This B&B is lovely and our accommodations are great although, a bit dangerous with the spiral staircase. I’ll bring a bucket up because once I’m up that’s it until the morning. We worked on these reports and after a bite to eat we retired for the evening. Au Revoir;
In complete faith, you received the message of the Archangel Gabriel and became the mother of Jesus, the only Son of God: Teach us to pray, in order to grow in faith. At the Visitation, you exulted with joy in the Magnificat:
Teach us to give thanks to God.
At Cana, you asked Christ to provide wine for the wedding-feast:
Teach us to intercede in favor of our brothers and sisters.
Standing at the foot of the Cross, you suffered with Jesus for the love of
Teach us to welcome the mercy of the Father.
At Pentecost, you prayed with the Apostles when they received the
plenitude of the Holy Spirit:
Teach us to ask the Spirit to help us bear witness to the Gospel.
You are the Mother of the Church and the Protectress of families. May you
watch over each of our families:
Teach us to love each other faithfully.
You are the Mother of humanity and the Patroness of France. Open our
country to the universal love of God:
Teach us to serve with generosity.
Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you !
Our Lady of Prayer, teach us to pray.
December 8, 1999
Archbishop of Tours
Love Susan & Tom
May God bless all of you … Always!
Thank you for sharing our 2015 “Personal Pilgrimage” with us!
Tom & Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)