Updated: Jul 13
First let me begin by saying, after several requests for me to tell this story and with much deliberation, I have finally decided to write it down. For me it began in the 1990s, my first trip to Italy, precisely to Rome in 1995. My dear spiritual father, Monsignor Stephen Hrynuck was a very holy priest known and loved by many, who passed away in 2014, gave me a list of churches to see while in Rome which I went in search of. I felt an immediate connection which I could not explain at the time. As I walked the streets of Rome viewing some of the most precious relics connected to our Lord Jesus Christ and his saints I often asked, "Why don't we know of this?" or "Why does no one ever talk about this?". My answer would come several years later after so many "coincidences". I learned from my Monsignor Hrynuck since that time as he had said, "There are no such things as a coincidence!" Believe me if he ever corrected you, one did not ever forget it, and he was correct in saying so.
As my son Joseph was very young, I would share with him the pictures and the stories of our Lord's passion, the relics left behind and the saints who stood strong in their faith, suffering and with courage. To me, I wanted to bring the Bible to life for him. Excited, Joseph would ask me over and over to take him one day so he could see everything in the pictures. So in 2006, I took my young son on his first plane ride - to Italy. I must say, and not because I am his mother, he handled the long flight amazingly, better than I did. Part of the itinerary was a visit to the Sanctuary of the Volto Santo in Manoppello, Italy. We arrived there one month after the visit of Pope Benedict XVI.