During our trip last week, we got to meet a lot of new and interesting people. On Sunday evening, some of the "locals" we met last time we were down gathered together for a game of baseball and a pot luck (yes, they're mostly homeschoolers, can you tell? I bet the pot luck gave it away!). We had a very nice time and I found it funny that the only two people out of the whole crowd that had southern accents were Deacon Bill and his lovely wife Ramona. People have moved down to that town from all over the country, so we had a variety of accents, but none that were truly southern. There was even a lady with a good old British accent and a woman from Italy. When the lady from Michigan spoke, I immediately recognized her non-accent (of course you know that people from the Midwest don't really have accents :) because she sounded just like us!
We also had the privilege of meeting two sisters from a small order (there's only three of them) from Covington, Kentucky. A quick google search and I remembered that they are the Fransiscan Daughters of Mary. They were two wonderful sisters on fire for the Lord who help the poor in their town. They said if it wasn't for the homeschooling families and other volunteers that God has sent them, they wouldn't be able to accomplish all that they do. They had some wonderful stories to tell about God's Providence and they exhorted all families to pray the family rosary.
On Monday, we happened upon the Mass of a newly ordained priest from Atlanta. He had just been ordained that past Saturday and had come to the Shrine in thanksgiving. Apparently one of the priests from the Shrine had been instrumental in his vocation. God is good, because after Mass he gave everyone his New Priest Blessing (if you'll remember, we missed out on that at the ordination in June!). As he came to each person, he asked them if they would like their blessing in English or Latin. He asked Mr. 4 yo, who replied, "Yes!" The good priest then proceeded to give Mr. 4 yo a blessing in both Latin and English :)
We also met Pilgrim George who had arrived a day or two before we did. He had a much longer trip than us since he walked to Alabama from Pennsylvania. He said that it took him 7 weeks to do it, averaging about 15 miles per day. If I remember correctly, he said that he has walked all over 43 different countries for a total of over 32,000 miles.
What fun to be in a place visited by people from all over with such interesting stories to tell. If you're willing to go out on a limb and talk to people, you can learn so many new and interesting things. Fortunately for us, we were with someone who isn't afraid to meet new people, so we got to benefit from her outgoing and friendly personality! Thanks Do, for being such a great witness.