We had a great trip to the shrines of St. Gianna and Padre Pio. And, at the last minute, my friend remembered that there is a little shrine to St. Therese in a parish near her parents' home that contains a relic (we think it was a bone) of St. Therese. I love St. Therese so I was glad to make a stop there as well. After her shrine, we visited Padre Pio's and, in what would be quite a contrast to St. Gianna's shrine, it's a huge complex on a big plot of land. The buildings are just beautiful. When you first walk in, there's a chapel that is a replica of Padre Pio's Our Lady of Grace Church in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.
The chapel contains an actual confessional used by Padre Pio in San Giovanni. Visitors write intentions on pieces of paper, attach them to rosaries, and then hang the rosaries on the fence that surrounds the confessional. We, of course, left rosaries with our intentions. There's also a relic behind glass in the confessional - one of the brown gloves worn by Padre Pio.
We then made our way to St. Gianna's shrine, which is over an hour from Padre Pio's. Last summer when I visited her shrine, I met a woman who had also experienced infertility and who now is a shrine volunteer and board member. After praying to St. Gianna and venerating her gloves, she conceived and now has two children. I emailed her the other day to see if we could visit the shrine when it is usually closed. She was so kind to agree to meet us there. So on that day, we ended up being forty minutes late and we felt terrible. But when we got there, she didn't seem to mind at all! She was just so sweet. We had a wonderful experience at the shrine, and despite that fact that it is so small and unassuming, it is pretty powerful. We were able to hold onto a pair of St. Gianna's black leather gloves and pray with them. We might have felt a little silly at first, but we even held them to our stomachs when we prayed (my friend is also dealing with infertility). I know she heard us.
The volunteer told us that the shrine actually has three pairs of St. Gianna's gloves and there's a retired married couple who travels around the country, visiting parishes with the gloves and giving presentations on St. Gianna.
Here's a picture of the shrine. It's a simple statue in the back of a parish church. The case that contains her gloves is right in front of her feet:
So it was a great trip and I'm so glad we went. And, I'm happy to report, the peaceful feeling that started a couple weeks ago has not lessened, and for that I am very grateful. I just really trust God right now and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
In other news, it is day six of my diet. I know this diet is supposed to make you feel better and more energetic, but I'm not there yet. Right now I'm still feeling lightheaded and tired. The problem is I'm not sure which symptoms are due to the diet and which are due to the T3 I'm taking. I think one of my problems is that I'm not eating enough. You're supposed to eat three meals and three snacks a day, and I maybe eat two meals and one snack, if that. I'm hungry all the time, but I have such a hard time finding things I like that sometimes I just don't eat. Not to mention that for six hours a day, I can't eat (two hours before and one hour after my medication, twice a day). One thing is for sure, though - I am not complaining about any of this because it is all potentially helping me inch closer to a pregnancy. And, as we all know, I will do anything that it takes (well, anything that the Church has deemed licit, of course!). And I am starting to feel a tiny bit thinner. Yay!