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Leadership's Trip to Rome

Trip to Rome

by Sister Jean Louise Bachetti, IHM

In May, Sister Rosemary Goulet and I accompanied Sister Ellen Maroney to Rome, Italy, for the International Union of Superi­ors General (UISG) gathering. During our time there we had the opportunity to see Pope Francis on three occasions. On one of those occasions at a Prayer of Mercy in St. Pe­ter’s Basilica we passed through the Holy Door which is opened every twenty-five years. It is impressive to see the thousands of people who come to Rome to see Pope Francis and hope to get close to him. His friendliness and holiness encourage enthusiasm and awe.

Of all the sites we saw, I personally was moved by my visit to St. Alphonso Church. Perhaps it was my Alphonisan roots that stirred a sense of belonging within me. It is not a large church and there were no metal detectors to pass through as was the case in the larger basili­cas. On entering, I immediately felt a warmth and familiarity that is difficult to describe. In the shadows there were some people in quiet prayer and the aroma of incense lingered in the air. Directly ahead I could see the original icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help suspended above the main altar. To my surprise it was smaller than I imagined, measuring 16"x20". On that memo­rable day she dominated the sacred space above the altar, but not for long. In June she began her tour of the United States in celebration of the 150th anniversary of being entrusted to the care of the Redemptor­ists. On June 27, 2016, in St. Alphonsus Lig­uori “Rock” Church, St. Louis, Missouri Bishop Tobin, along with other Redemptorists, renewed their commitment and promise to Pope Pius IX to go out to all the world and spread devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

In that hallowed church of St. Alfonso in Rome, Italy, I lit a candle and in prayer placed us all in the loving care of our mother who promises us perpetual help.

San Alfonso Church OLP-sm