First, a little laugh at my expense.
I used to do conference and event planning. Our guests were accustomed to finer things, and so we set out to give them “the best”—whatever that was. Perhaps it meant that we had a special treat delivered to their rooms each day, when they were at the conference events. One day it might be a chocolate bar in the shape of the corporate logo. Next day, a crystal picture frame. Then, an autographed book….
So I talked, as I packed for my Rome trip, about whether I would need to take a larger suitcase for all the things I’d bring home from the Blogfest.
- A binder of important documents?
- A just-released encyclical?
- A precious reproduction from the Vatican Library?
Well, no. Actually, my “souvenirs” from the Blogfest are right here:
A nametag in a plastic holder. And a napkin which once held a cookie.
I will treasure them always. I will also treasure the day, and the photos, and the new friends I made, and the great ideas that were whirling around.
I have another precious reminder of my trip there: a rosary which was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI at the Beatification of Pope John Paul II. Here it is:
You’ll note that I arranged it neatly, so that you can see the major basilicas on the medals. I also arranged it so that you can, if you want, print it, clip it out, and pray with a picture of a rosary that’s been blessed by the pope.
One friend of mine posted a “gravel rosary” on his Facebook page, because he got to the prayer vigil and had forgotten to carry his rosary in his pocket. My humble “Flat Stanley Rosary” is better than that, isn’t it?
There are so darned many good things to show you. I’ll get to it—little by little.
Before I go, here’s my favorite photo of all time: the “Backpack Nuns.” These sisters, it turned out, were sleeping on the sidewalk just a few blocks from our villa. People, especially young people, came from everywhere—happy to be present at the beatification of their beloved pope, even if there was no room at the inn.