Notes from a pilgrimage.


Praying woman, Chichester Cathedral. MMB.

Sister Frances Teresa Downing is sending us news from her pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi.  Let’s follow her and see how she gets on. WT.

Day One. After a good flight, more or less on time and not at all bumpy, I arrived in Rome where I was met by Fr Murray and Fr Andre. We set off back to the centre of Rome, stopping a the autogrill for a snack on the way. It was 1.30 by then and my spoon or two of Muesli was a distant memory. Easyjet do not pamper you with meals and anything you have you need to buy. Desperate, I had a mug of coffee which was, fortunately, quite nice since it cost me £2.20!

Shown my room which is on the seventh floor, a sort of very mini penthouse suite, I peeled my anti thrombosis stockings off with great difficulty and had a shower. The temperature must have been in the upper eighties and very soon there was a massive crack of thunder which rumbled on for nearly 15 minutes before the rain began. There are two parakeets nearby making their unmistakeable call and almost invisible in the tips of the acacia tree outside. The room has a splendid view onto, of all the surprises in central Rome, a field! It might be a park and if there is a chance I will try to find my way to it along a road I can see round the back.. Also if I can solve the technology, I will try to send a picture of the view.

I gather John Cella ofm is in town tonight and we are going to join him for supper. John is the director of the Franciscan Pilgrimage Programme so in a real sense, our boss! He does the hiring and firing too! However he can always be counted on for a good and generous meal, so that will be nice. I shall be starving by then, muesli and salad having vanished over the horizon!

Tomorrow we shall work at the papers, medical snags, bookings etc etc, have our own post mortem on last year and get everything as ready as possible. The next day will probably be shopping for the Christmas pranzo and going to Assisi to collect things like the pilgrim´s handbook which is distributed at the start of the pilgrimage here in Rome. Tuesday is a rest day and Wednesday the pilgrims arrive and the show starts.

Love to one and all


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