those worn out shoes of Pallotti!
If you ask me what most was striking for me during the annual course on Pallottine spirituality here in Rome I would say that it was the experience of walking in the footsteps of St Vincent Pallotti that touched me most.
Visiting his place of birth, the church in which he was baptised, the elementary school in which he studied, the seminary in which he did his formation, the church in which he celebrated his first Mass, the numerous places of his pastoral works, the simple room in which he lived, the kneeler on which he prayed for hours through the night, the bed on which he breathed his last and his final resting place in our church of SS. Salvatore in Onda…all these images remain vivid memories in my mind and heart!
I return to India with all these photographs both in my heart and in my computer! I will share them with our candidates in formation and my sisters. While they will see the photos regrettably they will not have the same experiences that I had. It is one thing to see an image but it is something else to experience something personally. I thank God for giving me this unique opportunity.
There is yet another place that will not be forgotten by me – the museum of St Vincent Pallotti at the Generalate in Rome. I have visited this place numerous times. All those articles used by St Vincent: the vestments, the huge Franciscan habit which he used to wear privately, the old umbrella, the worn out shoes, the rusty spoons and forks, the instruments that he used for self-punishment…the humble belongings of a saint! I was reminded of the words of the Lord: “Try to enter through the narrow door”! These articles teach me more about holiness of life and sainthood than many books! This is the way the saints have followed the Lord who made himself obedient until death!
Let those worn out shoes of Pallotti remind me of my vocation to be on the road always as a pilgrim, as a humble servant in search of God’s people. Let me walk and walk until the shoes are worn out and until it hurts. Let me not exchange those old shoes for better and more comfortable ones because there are too many fellow travellers who are walking bare-footed. I will never understand them if I do not get into their shoes.
So I go back not only with many notes on the spirituality of St Vincent Pallotti but, more importantly, the images imprinted in my mind and heart. These photos are real and not just fantasies. We can still trace the footprints of this Roman saint on Via Giulia. What is important for me now is to walk in his footsteps, following always his footprints.
Asian bulletin #127