Today, Wednesday, May 11, we arrived in Neunburg Vorm Wald where in 1833 Mother Theresa along with two other women, began the first SSND community. The group spent time with the Sisters, in Mother Theresa's bedroom and visited the kindergarten that was filled with color, art, and child-sized furniture. The group arrives in Vienna this evening.
Today, May 13, was a travel day from Vienna, Austria, to Rome, Italy. Although the scenery is magnificent--green hills, villages, mountains--the images captured from the bus cannot do it justice. The map shows the first part of the journey by bus. Once in Mestre we boarded a high-speed train to Rome.
Melinda Hanlon, president of the Academy of the Holy Angels, remarks on what an extraordinary experience it has been to connect with our SSND sisters in Germany and Austria and to better realize our shared vision of transforming the world through education.
Susan Lescher, board chair of SisterHouse, shared that she is grateful to have a deeper understanding of Blessed Mother Theresa and the history of SSND. Susan said, " I will create a presentation for the board to help them understand where Sr. Anne Mayer received the foresight and commitment to establish SisterHouse."
Leslie Lopez, pre-associate and director of development for the Atlantic-Midwest Province, believes she will be returning a better person than when she arrived--more educated about and connected to SSND. Also, she said, "I take with me Blessed Mother Theresa's spirit of competency, thoroughness, and inclusiveness to share my gifts and knowledge."
Judy Schaum, SSND, quoted Trust and Dare: "unity makes us invincible." These words of Blessed Theresa were evident in our sisters wherever we visited.
Kathy Sylvester, pre-associate and campus minister at the Academy of the Holy Angels, shared that now she has an awareness that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. "The SSNDs we've met," she says, "are living examples of how we can be like them in their progressive approach to education. The spirit of Blessed Mother Theresa is very much alive."
The participants celebrated Pentecost Sunday Mass at the Generalate. After visiting with the sisters at the Generalate, the participants went to St. Peter's Square for the Angelus with Pope Francis. The afternoon included visits to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. They concluded the afternoon with some prayer time at the Sancta Scala (Holy Staircase).
Our travels included prayer, reflection and sharing as we made our pilgrimage journey over these days.