A Walk of Gold
If you are reading this, that means you followed from my post for the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary so thank you for joining me in this journey and memory. This story takes place during my Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi Italy. It was in my semester of studying abroad at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Gaming, Austria 2012. We were on the 10-day school pilgrimage. Rome was our first stop which was busy with all of the sites to see and what seemed like so little time. Then came Assisi where peace reigned in the air and over my heart.
Assisi is as most of us know where we are blessed by the two saints Francis and Clare. St. Francis and I have always held a great relationship and he was the one to intercede in my arrival and application to Franciscan University, but that’s another story for a different day perhaps. Back to the pilgrimage and these last few days of the 10 day trip. Tradition is that students hike to St. Francis’ hermitage in Assisi, and some of us did it barefoot myself included. With me, I had a particular rosary: “my rosary.”
This rosary had been to all of my travels, been touched to many relics, and had been prayed on hundreds of times (this is not for exaggeration, but literally hundreds over the years). It had been gifted to me from my aunt blessed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis. This rosary was certainly a favorite of mine for many reasons. Hiking to the hermitage barefoot, I took “my rosary” with me as we prayed a few rosaries on the way up and Divine Mercy chaplets. Once at the hermitage we all began to part our own ways and explore or pray.
I stepped into the first chapel that is at the hermitage, my feet in absolute pain to even walk on from all of the rocks and sticks (and even glass) on the way up. I placed “my rosary” on the ground to prostrate in front of the Blessed Sacrament and whether it was from exhaustion or excitement, I left it right there in that chapel. I walked around the rest of the hermitage, ran into friends exploring other areas and pointing out their discoveries then we began our descent back to the hotels for a large gathering dinner. On the way down, even though we had spent hours in prayer, I reached for “my rosary” about a third of the way descended. Panic came.
I could not find “my rosary”! Then I knew it had been left, or had fallen out of the small hole I found in my coat pocket. Desiring sanctity, I pled interiorly “Detachment. I need detachment. Even though it’s a rosary, I need to be detached. St. Anthony, if you want to bring it back to me, you will.” That’s how I left it. I continued down, focusing my mind towards dinner and what I had packed that would be decent enough for it, and I arrived to my room. I was sharing it with three other girls. One of the girls and I were closest to the door and the other two were on the opposite side.
As we prepared for dinner, one of the girls on the opposite side was brushing her hair while sitting on the floor and her hand kept hitting something on the stand behind her. She reached up and asked me, “Kelsey, why is ‘your rosary’ on our side of the room?” I stopped dead in my tracks. WHAT?! Could it really be? I hadn’t told anyone I had left it. Did St. Anthony really bring it back to me? I jumped over our bed (literally not figuratively) and grabbed it. “Why are you so excited?!” I told them what had happened at the hermitage. They couldn’t believe it either. Upon examining the rosary, “my rosary,” a section where someone who would have grabbed it had turned to gold.
I know in my heart, St. Anthony brought me that rosary that day. It taught me something as well. Throughout this I have been saying “my rosary” because possessions even purchased or gifted to me do not actually belong to me anymore. Through my consecration to Mary, I have entrusted ALL, EVERYTHING, totally and completely to her to bring to her Son, Jesus. This story I hope gives encouragement to those of you who read it to trust that even the little things matter to our Mother and to the saints. Ask for their intercession and ask for their help in the little things.
God bless you!
Founder & Owner of My Little Studio and Artist of Star Lion Designs
© Copyright Kelsey Gunkel & Star Lion Designs 2020
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