Praised be Jesus Christ! During the time of our stay here in Australia (before, during and after World Youth Day), we wanted to share our experiences with you since you are with us in spirit. Here we go…Day 1.
We arrived at LAX and found 75 sisters from different communities from all over the country converging at Quantas airlines waiting to board for Australia. It was a beautiful sight, quite overwhelming. Everyone was excited. We had about an hour and a half to get to know one another before actually boarding the plane. We had a smooth and uneventful 13 1/2 hour plane trip over – we arrived a half an hour ahead of schedule according to experts here down under – it’s usually a 14 hour trip. When we flew over the international time line we actually lost all of Saturday and arrived on Sunday. Our arrival time was around 7:00 AM and we had a very warm reception from the parents of an RSM sister, who are Australian. We are also enjoying the 70 degree winter weather(!)…we are told that two days earlier it was very cold and windy – “blustry”, that is. A Greyhound bus was waiting for us to board and by 8:00 am we were on our way to The Women’s College Campus at the University of Sydney. The welcome, here, was just as warm.
By 9:45 am we were all congregated on on the front lawn of the dorm to walk to Saint Benedict Church for 10:15 Mass. The church is located in downtown Sydney, a 20 minute walk from the campus. It stands right next to Notre Dame of Australia University. This church is the oldest standing Catholic Church in Sydney, it’s construction began in 1838 and was completed in 1852. The church is beautiful – the stained glass windows are magnificent! The trip thus far had been so smooth and blessed with such peace (all the sisters were commenting on this) that we were simply thanking God for all the blessings..then, we received a surprise we had not expected. In this little church,quietly tucked in a side alcove, were the remains of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, the patron of this World Youth Day. The church has displays of him – beautiful posters with his maxims and pictures of him – lovely and inspirational. We had plenty of time after Mass to pray by the casket that holds his remains. The church was permeated with such peace.
After Mass we went to lunch and are now waiting for bedtime…
You are all in our heart and prayers!
Sister Grace Helena and Sister Mary Scholastica