Sunday, July 10, 2011

Florida Or Bust!

As I have mentioned before, I just got back from my trip around Florida. It is kind of an interesting crazy ride. What started out as a trip with just my sisters and my baby nephew ended up, literally the last minute, to be a vacation with my mother and younger sister. I had been in charge of our Florida half of the trip, which included reserving our hotel, and when my older sister backed out I realized I was going to make this trip happen no matter what, and so I asked my mother to come along. They say everything happens for a reason, which I am a complete believer of... Especially with this trip, because as we were pulling out to leave in my mom's van, my dad was trying to start my car (which is what my sisters and I were initially going to drive in), and it wouldn't start... It turned out something got loose under the hood and my dad had to put it back in, but he didn't figure that out till we had left.

I must say this Florida trip was exactly what us three women needed. I know my sister and I hadn't taken a decent vacation trip in years and my mom loves the beach so she was a happy camper. I miss waking up to the sound of the waves already, but I was also ready to get back to the normalcy of my life and daily routine... It's funny what being on vacation does to a person. After a few days I kept getting the days mixed up and since I did not have to be anywhere at any specific time, I didn't worry about what time it was either. It was nice relaxing and playing in the water in Daytona Beach, site seeing around St. Augustine, and watching the sun go down while watching the ocean in Destin. On the way back we also made a quick stop in Memphis for a night with my mom's friend and had some great b-b-q and for breakfast I had the best pancake concoction ever made... Banana pancakes with crunchy peanut butter syrup... Now I am not normally one to like crunchy peanut butter, but it was so good that it didn't matter to me. I can't wait to make that here at home now... :)

While in Florida my sister and I climbed two lighthouses... the second and third tallest lighthouses in the country... which after climbing the tallest on in North Carolina when I was eight or so, means that I have now climbed the three tallest lighthouses in the country. I can honestly say the lighthouse keepers did not need to work-out much as climbing up and down those stairs so many times a day must have been a work-out in itself. Each one had over 200 stairs to climb. My mom tried to climb one of them, but could not make it up very high and had to go back down. As tiring as it was climbing up, the view from the top of each was spectacular! :)

St. Maria Goretti Moment.

As I mentioned in my quick little post I was on vacation last week. While gone, my confirmation saint's, Maria, feast day happened. I was having such a great time while on my vacation and site seeing in St. Augustine that I totally forgot it was her feast day... until I was walking through the gift shop for the Our Lade de la Leche pilgrimage site. As I was walking around I stumbled upon this little display and as I looked at it I realized that it was her feast day. It was her way of saying "Hey there, Teresa, don't forget about me. It's my day today." It made my day!

For those of you who have never heard of St. Maria Goretti, let me tell you a little bit about her....

Early life

Goretti was born Maria Teresa Goretti on October 16, 1890 in Corinaldo, to Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. She was the third out of six children.

Before the age of seven, her family had become so poor that they were forced to give up their farm, move, and work for other farmers. They ended up sharing a house with another family which included Giovanni Serenelli and his son Alessandro. Soon, Maria's father Luigi became very sick with malaria, and died when Maria was just nine years old.

Maria's martyrdom

On July 5, 1902, finding eleven-year old Maria alone sewing, Alessandro Serenelli came in and threatened her with death if she did not do as he said; he was intending to rape her. She would not submit, however, protesting that what he wanted to do was a mortal sin and warning Alessandro that he would go to Hell. She desperately fought to stop Alessandro from abusing her. She kept screaming, "No! It is a sin! God does not want it!" Alessandro at first choked Maria, but when she insisted she would rather die than submit to him, he stabbed her eleven times. The injured Maria tried to reach for the door, but Alessandro stopped her by stabbing her three more times before running away.

Maria's little sister Teresa awoke with the noise and started crying, and when Serenelli's father and Maria's mother came to check on the little girl, they found the bleeding Maria and took her to the nearest hospital in Nettuno. She underwent surgery without anesthesia, but her injuries were beyond the doctors' help. Halfway throughout the surgery, Maria woke up. She insisted that it stay that way. The pharmacist of the hospital in which she died said to her, "Maria, think of me in Paradise." She looked to the old man: "Well, who knows, which of us is going to be there first?" "You, Maria," he replied. "Then I will gladly think of you," said Maria. The following day, twenty hours after the attack, having expressed forgiveness for her murderer and stating that she wanted to have him in Heaven with her, Maria died of her injuries, while looking at a very beautiful picture of the Blessed Mother.

Serenelli's imprisonment and repentance

Alessandro Serenelli was captured shortly after Maria's death. Originally, he was going to be sentenced to life, but since he was a minor at that time the sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison. He remained unrepentant and uncommunicative from the world for three years, until a local bishop, Monsignor Giovanni Blandini visited him in jail. Serenelli wrote a thank you note to the Bishop asking for his prayers and telling him about a dream, "in which Maria Goretti gave him lilies, which burned immediately in his hands."

After his release, Alessandro Serenelli visited Maria's still-living mother, Assunta, and begged her forgiveness. She forgave him, saying that if Maria had forgiven him on her deathbed then she couldn't do less, and they attended Mass together the next day, receiving Holy Communion side by side. Alessandro reportedly prayed every day to Maria Goretti and referred to her as "my little saint." He attended her canonization in 1950.

Serenelli later became a lay brother living in a monastery and working as its receptionist and gardener until dying peacefully in 1970.

Maria's Cannonization

On June 24, 1950, Pius XII canonized Goretti as a saint, the "Saint Agnes" of the 20th century." Owing to the huge crowd present, the ceremonies associated with the canonization were held outside of Saint Peter's Basilica. Pius XII spoke, not as before in Latin, but in Italian. "We order and declare, that the blessed Maria Goretti can be venerated as a Saint and We introduce her into the Canon of Saints". Some 500,000 people, among them a majority of youth, had come from around the world. Pius asked them: "Young people, pleasure of the eyes of Jesus, are you determined to resist any attack on your chastity with the help of grace of God?" A resounding "yes" was the answer.

Wow! It's Been Awhile

Man, I feel like I have been in a bit of a funk for the past month or so... Not really a funk as in my life stinks, but more of a "I have nothing to exciting to write about so I just won't write at all kind of feeling." In reality I am sure if I sat down to write something I would have been able to get some great stuff out, but I just didn't have the urge to bother with it. That happens to me every few years. I get addicted to writing, and then I feel as though I have said all I want to say for awhile, so I take a bit of a break.

This past week I wanted to blog a lot, but I was not able to really do it justice as I was away on vacation all week. I went down to Florida where I hung-out on Daytona and Destin Beaches along with spending some time in St. Augustine site seeing.

While in St. Augustine I had so much fun learning about all the Catholic history that is there.... Where the first Catholic missionary nuns were buried, the place where the first Mass was said on American soil, the first Catholic parish in America, , and the place where the first cross was erected, the burial grounds of the first christian native Americans were all just a few of the interesting things I learned about. There is so much history in that town and I only was able to get only a little bit of it.