This is my Camino. Welcome.

Beebee sheeps, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and a coloring “contest”

Mt 18:12-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

Last time I took a group to World Youth Day/ the Camino, I kept hearing the story of Peter walking on water, walking on water, walking on water. Honestly, by some magic in the liturgical calendar that reading was read THREE TIMES in the week before I left. The way I saw it was: there are fears, as large as the waves, but staying focused on Jesus was the most important thing. Also, God can call us to things we CANNOT do (i.e. walk on water, take a group to Europe) but He equips us with the grace as He calls. Whew!

I think I know the reading for the trip this time around, and it’s that one in the yellow box. I’ve already heard it twice, today included. It’s the story of the shephard leaving ninety-nine sheep for one sheep who has strayed.

I originally thought of it when I was in the shower, thinking/ praying/ bargaining with God for things to come together for this year’s Camino, “All I want,” I prayed, “is for my group to come together in a reasonable matter. Twenty people by the end of November.”

(Or something like that)

And I felt God say, “Is that what you want? Do you want things your way?”

And I remembered all the beyond-my-dreams adventures God has taken me on, the God who “doesn’t care about numbers” and I thought about my friend Fr. Steve telling me, “The hardest prayer to pray is: ‘Thy will be done’,” and I said, “No, no. You’re right. Do it your way.”

And then I thought about the people who had signed up already, and how God was willing to drag us all across Europe even if it was just for one of the people attending. Because He loves each of us like that.

This picture was taken by this guy.

Tomorrow (12-12-12!) is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. πŸ˜€ (There is more info below about her, for those who are wondering.)

One December 12th I went to mass and the priest was talking about Our Lady of Guadalupe.

He said, “The thing is, when you start studying the apparitions, they become intensely personal. They become yours.”

And you know what? They do.

My camera died. I drew you a picture.
My camera died. So I drew you a picture instead.
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in the 1530’s. I was born in the 1980’s. But, she’s the patroness of the Americas, inspiring the faith of hundreds of thousands of my nation’s people through the ages. So, in my mind, OF COURSE SHE APPEARED FOR ME. Of course she is my apparition! I’m her child, am I not?! She wanted me to know her son, right?? Therefore: she appeared for me.

In the same way (well, not an apparition, though) we have Our Lady of Czestochowa from my Polish heritage. And YOU BET YOUR BOOTS she’s mine, too. She gave my ancestors hope for YEARS! She reminded them of the power of faith and God! Maybe she helped them keep their faith. SHE IS MINE, TOO.

What I’m saying is: I serve this God who cares so intensely about we little individuals, He would do anything. And, watch out, His mom is in on it, too.

Today is a celebration for me because God sought me and I found Him…and His mom helped guide His people to him.

So, if you want you can eat some Mexican food and toast me.


Oh, and I drew a picture that you can print and color. It’s because I felt guilty stealing images from the internet. Anyway, if you send me a picture of your work of art (seashell.nell (at), I’ll put it on my blog. Honest, I will.


For those wondering about Marian Apparitions

It should be noted that people will sometimes claim that Mary has appeared to them. When this happens, the church waits until Mary stops appearing and then evaluates the claim. There are a few instances, the apparitions at Guadalupe being an example, where the church declares that the visions are “worthy of belief.” When this happens, the church isn’t saying that everyone MUST believe the story but, rather, that they MAY believe, if they so choose.

So, the Virgin of Guadalupe isn’t a required belief like, say, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Just for those who were wondering.

For those who were wondering if I am currently listening to Hugh Jackman singing

Yes, yes I am.



For those wondering a little about the story behind this image

First, I invite you to think back to the early 1500’s. America was “discovered” in 1492, with Europeans soon following…some seeking fortune, others to bring the stories of Jesus to the people of this “New World.” One of the people baptized was a native man who took the name “Juan Diego.”

In 1531 Juan Diego was walking to mass when a beautiful lady appeared to him, asking him to go to the local bishop and request that a church be built in the location where they were conversing. The woman spoke to him in the native dialect, and wore clothes and features of the indigenous people.

Juan Diego went to the bishop, who dismissed Juan Diego by asking for a sign. There were a few more complications, but the lady appeared to Juan Diego again and instructed him to return to the bishop. But first, she sent him back to the original hill which was blooming with out-of-season roses. She helped him organize these in his coat or tilma and sent him back to the bishop. When Juan Diego stood in front of the bishop, he opened his tilma and the roses fell out. He was surprised to see the bishop and those around weren’t as struck by the miracle of out-of-season roses as he was…until he, too, realized that there, upon his tilma, was an image of the lady, exactly as he had described her.

The church was built. πŸ™‚

More interesting, though, was that people began converting to Christianity by the thousands. Our Lady inspired thousands of people to be baptized and begin their journey with Christ.

Cool story, eh? Now you know!

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