Today was one of those days that was very impromptu, but at the same time very needed. I just had to get out. I just had to go on an adventure. I need it. It has been too long since my last adventure and it was much needed for me to go. So I did what I needed to do. I went out and had some fun, and it was much needed. Of course this journey was a solo journey, but I just had to get out. So I wasted no time in getting out.
Last weekend I went to St Rita’s Shrine in Philadelphia with my girl friend, and enjoying the place we visited I opted to return to a similar place as we went to last weekend. Of course I will add I am not a religious person. In fact I do not agree with the church in many of its teachings. They use to much fear, and doom and gloom, and not enough love and compassion for people. Growing up for a few years, I was an altar boy, and even attended Catholic school, per my parents. But I never found any connection or calling to the church. It never really did anything for me. As I grew older I become more spiritual and followed the ways of Spirit, and love. I do still connect with the angels, such as Archangel Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, etc, and with love, that to me, is God. Faith is a personal thing, so what works for you, is what works for you. So it may seem surprising that I would go to a shrine, or a chapel. I will not deny that churches are beautifully designed. As an artist myself I can enjoy places that are beautiful. These shrines are no exception to that.
After last week’s fun, I decided to go to another shrine. This time it was The World Apostolate of Fatima, in Asbury NJ. While I may not connect to the church these days, going to catholic school has given me a basic understanding of such places, and people of interest in that faith. While I may not connect with the church, and religion for that matter, I do connect with Mother Mary. Believe it or not Mother Mary has played a huge role in my life in changing things around. Back before I really had my awakening, and really changed my life around, it was dreams I had of Mother Mary that really woke me up, and started to bring new things into my life. I had not been much of a believer in my life, or even strong in faith, until that time. When I had those dreams. It was only natural that I visit a shrine dedicated to her apparition in Fatima one hundred years ago. It was on the 99th anniversary of that apparition, that I had the dreams about her, so it was even more memorable for me to visit her shrine. It has been this journey that has shown me the world, and living, is so much bigger than I could have ever imagined or fathomed.
This place was incredible. The energy, and atmosphere was lovely. The place was larger than I could have imagined. There is a lot of land, and property, and big open spaces to walk around, and just take it all in. There was a path, or two, or three to take, where you could see statues, and plaques, of the stations of the cross. Where you can sit down, and just pay your respect, or meditate, pray. Whatever the mood struck to you. Each station is replicated with a statue depicting the various stations. After you walk the path, there is also a rosary path. Which, I would only imagine is for praying the rosary, which Mother Mary is associated with… Or, its a path for people named Rose. In all honesty, that wasn’t clear.
After walking the paths for about an hour or so, I kind of lost track of time, as I got engrossed in it all. I headed up towards another little building, which is said to be a replica of the chapel from around where she made her apparition so long ago. Where I lit a candle. I then checked out the gift shop before heading back home. And driving the hour and a half drive back. Where not even Google Maps could figure out where it was going. I did not see the whole place, while there. Even after spending 2 hours there, I did not check out the chapel itself, and another building that was there. I guess I will have to make another trip out there. It was a lovely outing and I had a lot of fun there. Surprisingly. Will I start singing, kumbaya? Doubtful, but you never know. I will say as a child going to church with my family, they used to have live music, and someone would play the acoustic guitar. It was then that I fell in love with the acoustic guitar, and always wanted to learn to play it. I begged and begged my parents to buy me a guitar, and one day they did… Turns out my laziness trumped my desire to play the guitar. True story.
After visiting there, I stopped by some friends at their shop, and hung out with them, and just had some lovely conversation. And now I sit here and smile, thinking how far I have come, and how much I have changed my life for the better. How at one time this was not even possible for me. I am blessed and thankful for every step of it, and those that have come into my life and blessed me even more.
That’s it for this week’s adventure.