It has been a week since we arrived here in Pollone. In just that short period of time, I have received news that a friend in Nashville needed a heart valve replacement, our bishop underwent six-bypass surgery, a beloved monsignor passed away, another friend has bleeding in the brain. In addition, I have received many prayer requests via email and the Facebook page. There is always so much to pray for! I can only imagine how Our Lord's heart aches for the billions of people who call upon Him each day with such great needs.
One of the special graces of being here is being able to experience the constant calm that emanates from Pier Giorgio's bedrooms. There are two -- the one he lived in when at this house, and the one he died in at the family home in Turin (moved here many years ago.) I spend the majority of my time in the room where he died. For some reason, it feels like the appropriate place to pray. Literally, prayers are placed at the foot of his bed on little slips of paper. Calling on his intercession, that is also where Wanda and I pray the novena nightly for your intentions. We will be here another few days, just long enough to complete the novena, before returning to Rome.
On Sunday morning, we had the unexpected joy of having Mass in Pier Giorgio's room. When we were in the mountains on Saturday, we attended Mass at the old church in Oropa where the Brown Madonna is enshrined. Afterward, Wanda spoke to one of the priests and he was very much interested in coming to the villa. He is from Poland but is stationed in Switzerland. The majority of the Mass was in Polish, but he made an effort to add a little English for my benefit. He had a voice that reminded me so much of Pope John Paul II and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him, even when I didn't understand a word he was saying! A beautiful thing it is indeed to be Catholic and part of the universal Church.
During the week, I attend evening Mass at the old parish church here where Pier Giorgio often served on the altar. I enjoy making the short walk through town and think of how often he passed by the same houses on the same streets. The other day, I walked down to the cemetery and visited the tomb of Pier Giorgio's beloved sister Luciana and the rest of the family. The house is not the same without her. In fact, I have been sitting in "her chair" for meals and told Wanda that I feel like I am sitting on top of her!
We have had beautiful weather here -- none of the customary rain and a clear view of Mount Mucrone. You can't help but feeling closer to God when you look up at a mountaintop from below and sense His majesty. It is easy to understand how Pier Giorgio was moved to write, "Mountains, mountains, mountains, I love you!"
Even though I have still not loaded all the photos or managed to blog more regularly, be assured of my constant prayers from Pollone. Verso l'alto!