Tuesday, March 16, 2010

La Verna and Debbie

Debbie’s dream came true. I booked the same flight as Debbie and her husband Gareth less than 18 months after her surgery. As thrilled as Debbie was, her husband was a bit lukewarm about traveling.  In the end, he had a wonderful time in Italy.

Leo had become friends with Debbie here in California and planned to show her La Verna. He met us at the airport with a special hug for Debbie.

Later that weekend, the four of us drove to La Verna. We stopped on the way to buy panini (sandwiches) in a small village shop. Gareth bought a bottle of wine. Debbie was fascinated, as the shop keeper hand cut prosciutto and cheese, then carefully placed each slice onto the fresh bread. I remember Gareth wondered out loud about mayonnaise. I told him mayonnaise was nowhere to be found here, thank goodness.

We ate our picnic lunch at the base of the mountain top which hosts La Verna. Everyone agree the sandwiches were delicious. Debbie was glowing.

It was spring, but the ground was wet and we felt the cold dampness. Wispy fog floated across the air, making it hard to see La Verna clearly.

We drove up up, to the top of the mountain, parked and made our way on foot into the main building. Debbie was anxious to see the tiny chapel which I had described to her. We waited for the chapel to empty of a small group and entered by ourselves.

Leo took my hand as my quiet tears flowed. Debbie's tears were silently streaming down her face. Gareth looked startled at his own feelings.

After a few moments, we all joined hands and Leo quietly said the Lord’s Prayer, in Italian. It has the same cadence as the English version. Debbie and Gareth both felt the same specialness which I had sensed during my first visit. Debbie had not been disappointed.

After a short time, we took a stroll outside, toward the rear of the property, which is densely wooded. The trees were alive with the sound of happy birds, enchanted by the spirit of San Francesco. We all agreed the day had been magical.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name;
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Padre Nostro

Padre nostro che sei nei cieli
sia santificato il tuo nome
venga il tuo regno
sia fatta la tua volontà
come in cielo così in terra.

Dacci oggi il nostro pane quotidiano
Rimetti a noi i nostri debiti
Come noi li rimettiamo ai nostri debitori.
E non ci indurre in tentazione
Ma liberaci dal male.


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