Our Trip to Rome from October 15th through 28th, 2023
We were eight sisters who were able to travel to the heart of the Church: Sr. M. Agnes, Sr. Regina Maria and Sr. Maria Anselma from Heede; Sr. M. Claire and Sr. M. Elisabeth from Niendorf; Sr. Maria Clara from Thuine, St. Elizabeth House; Sr. M. Deodata from Bremen and Sr. Miriam from Bad Soden.
We began on October 15th with an afternoon coffee in the Motherhouse to which Sister M. Maximilia had invited us all. Next the Eurowings boarding passes for each of us were printed out. After spending the night at the Motherhouse, we set out the next day.os.
Mr. Schlütken brought us safely to Düsseldorf and accompanied us through the check-in process. Since none of us had much experience flying, we were all rather anxious, as the next thing we had to do was go through security, where both we and our carry-on luggage would be checked. After surviving all that, the flight itself was the next excitement. But this too went smoothly. At the airport in Rome, we were picked up and after an adventurous journey, we finally arrived at the Domus Sancta Mariae Guadalupe, where we would be staying. Sister M. Regina Pacis welcomed us very warmly and after supper she gave us an introduction to the program.
It is a great gift for us all! Twelve days in Rome with an amazing guided tour from Sister M. Regina Pacis. We visited about 40 churches, among which were naturally the four major basilicas of Rome: St. Peter’s, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. We were able to see numerous other churches where the relics of many apostles, martyrs and other saints are preserved. A few saints were buried in the various churches. It was also moving for all of us to be able to visit the places where some of the saints of the early Church had lived, worked and suffered for their faith. Their witness is ultimately the seed of our own faith.
In addition, we also went to the Catacombs of St. Callixtus and the Catacombs of Domitilla. The Vatican Museum is another place that we visited. The works of art which one can see there are like a painted catechism, the only one for a person of earlier times who was unable to read. Of course, this also included the Sistine Chapel, which Michelangelo had beautifully designed over the course of nine years. We also saw the Trevi Fountain, numerous temples and the ancient forums of the Roman emperors. Sister M. Regina Pacis had much to tell and to explain about each of these places. Naturally, the Colosseum was also a part of the tour.
In my opinion, however, the most important part was the Papal Audience on Wednesday. We stood in line early to be able to get a good spot. We did indeed get a good place, as we were right by the barricade where the Holy Father would be passing by. The Popemobile even stopped right in front us, as a mother was having her child blessed. That was a unique experience that we will never forget. Also not to be forgotten is the gelato shop with 150 different flavors. For some, it was a very difficult decision.
Unfortunately, not everything that we experienced can be included in this short report. But perhaps you’ll get a small sense of how richly we were blessed. The experience that the Church is alive and is universal will remain a unique memory for us. The closeness of the apostles and so many martyrs and other saints is an experience that profoundly strengthens our faith and our religious vocation. We are very grateful that we were able to experience this time.
Heede, October 2023, on behalf of the eight “Romans,” Sister Maria Anselma