Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Ashley McKinlessOctober 26, 2017
A large crowd is seen as Pope Francis leads the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 22 at the Vatican.A large crowd is seen as Pope Francis leads the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 22 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

A reflection from pilgrim Sharon Carpenter

I was asked to share a reflection of my experiences thus far of this amazing journey.

I was initially quick to respond “yes—tthen my dark side rose to cast a shadow over me and doubt replaced my joy.

“Why?” I asked myself.

I did not hear an answer but I did feel an urge to read my journal from yesterday.

I shall preface this by saying, I am not a theologian or a scripture scholar. I often journal in a stream of consciousness—which may be a tad different from what one is used to. But if I am to offer a true personal reflection, this is mine.


So I sit here in the chapel where St. Ignatius had his vision.

La Storta.

I am struck by the desire of so many of us to make this visit.


Vision of Saint Ignatius at La Storta, Baciccio
Vision of Saint Ignatius at La Storta, Baciccio

Is it hope? is it wishful thinking? is it a call? I am not sure.

I am struck also by the need, the desire—despite the city noise that trap you in this real world—to imagine what was it like for Ignatius.

It is difficult with the sounds from the street—the laughter of children, the honking horns, the screeching tires.

But I must try, for God is everywhere, and He is here.

I think I shall sit outside, against this simple Roman pine. Perhaps Ignatius did the same.

His was a simpler time. But was it? 

He heard God’s call. He faced such adversity and yet he followed, he persevered.

God has called, me too, and I must try to listen.

I must quiet my mind and open my heart and soul.

I shall breathe in the noise, breathe in the world that has been created over this sacred site.

For that is what we, God’s children, have created—right?

We must find the time to find Him in the faces of all those who walk over this land each day.

To see God in each face that walks by

To feel God in the wind that blows my hair and the sunshine that I feel on my face.

To hear God in the laughter and in the engines that roar.

To praise God with my urban prayers.

What is an urban prayer?

Why did I write that?

Perhaps that was a whisper from God.


Updates from the Pilgrimage: 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

Five years after Pope Francis convened a global summit on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, two previously anonymous alleged victims of Father Marko Rupnik decided to go public and tell of the abuses they allege to have suffered at the hands of the prolific priest-artist.
Inside the VaticanFebruary 28, 2024
A Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent, by Father Terrance Klein
Terrance KleinFebruary 28, 2024
While reductive narratives depict priests as perfect heroes or evil villains, said writer and producer Father Stephen Fichter, the truth is more complicated.
“At the root of this vice is a false idea of God: we do not accept that God has His own “math,” different from ours,” Pope Francis said in today’s general audience address, read by an aide.
Pope FrancisFebruary 28, 2024