So at long last, I’m about to spill how the title of this column, Adventures of a Rosary Family, came to be. I mean, sure, daily living in any family is some kind of an adventure, right? But even a year ago, when I first pitched the idea, our family was already in planning mode — planning an adventure I have to believe is born of the Rosary.
Technically, the planning had begun during our trip to the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. When they announced that the 2018 WMOF would be held in Dublin, Ireland, my husband and I looked at each other and chuckled. “Ha. We could go to Dublin.”
Then we paused and looked at each other. “Wait. We could go to Dublin!”
And then somewhere in the saving of the money and the searching for places to stay, the wish list grew.
“Well, if we’re going to Ireland in the first place, we should really make the most of our time and tour the whole island.”
“Maybe some day we can take a trip to London, too.”
“And I kind of want to go to Lourdes.”
Finally, my husband said, “You know, the most expensive part of getting to Europe is the airfare, right?”
So, if you subscribe to my newsletter or follow my blog, you’re already in the know: our family is going to make a three-week pilgrimage during the month of August, with stops in Tyburn, Walsingham, Lourdes and Knock before finishing up at WMOF.
Our pilgrimage preparations have included:
Self-denial: Money doesn’t save itself. We’ve had fewer meals out (which is something we do too much of anyway); grocery-store ice pops rather than a trip to the ice-cream stand; fewer stays at hotels for weekend trips; and other than one weekend away each year since 2015, we haven’t gone on an actual vacation.
Making Good Time: Three weeks sounds like a lot of time, but when you’re visiting four different countries, time is at a premium like never before.
Leaving Behind: Who will take care of our house while we’re gone? Our dogs? Our guinea pigs? We’ve had to humble ourselves and ask people to help us make this trip.
Toughening Up: We’re going to be doing a lot of walking. I mean, a lot of walking. I started a couch-to-walking-race plan in May, and I’m finally at the point where I can walk three solid miles over hilly terrain without curling up in a ball on the side of the road.
Understanding … and Being Understood: I used to be proficient in French. See the emphasis on “used to”? I’ve been using DuoLingo since December to brush up, and I’ve since added listening practice to a French 24/7 news channel. I’m still not confident I’ll be able to argue with the car rental agent in Marseille, but what is a pilgrimage if not equal helpings of planning and trusting God’s providence?
Praying: At the end of our Family Rosary each night, we now close with “Pray for us,” after invoking, “Our Lady of Walsingham,” “Our Lady of Lourdes,” and “Our Lady of Knock.” We are totally in her hands — car rentals and all.
Pilgrimages have long been part of our faith heritage, in no small part because they are large metaphors for our earthly exile: we must deny ourselves, not waste our time, be willing to let go of our everyday comforts. We must both plan and trust. And all our preparations have really made me experience a kind of one-ness with our ancestors who did this sort of thing without air travel or AirBnB.It’s all a journey of faith.
Would you like to come along with us? I hope to do some vlogging and ‘gramming of the experience. We’re taking a list of prayer intentions along with us. If you want to add yours to our list, please add it here.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
What are some adventures you dream of taking on your faith journey? Do you have any advice for Erin and her family from your own past travels?
Copyright 2018 Erin McCole Cupp