I knew for a few weeks that my friends were planning a trip to Turin, but I was reluctant to jump on board. It’s a 7 hour train ride, and the Shroud of Turin was about all we would see before leaving the next morning. I was telling my uncle these excuses when he helped me realize that trips like this are the whole reason that I am spending a semester in Rome. This is a pilgrimage to see something that I will likely never have the opportunity to see ever again. The Shroud of Turin is only open for viewing for a few months every five years. It is a huge coincidence that I happen to be in Italy right now, when it is open to the public. I had to do it!
Yes, it was a long train ride. Yes, we skimped on tickets, so we got a train that stops at every small city. Yes, I haven’t slept a full night in about a week. But, it was worth it!
When we got to Turin, we immediately followed the crowds to find the shroud. We thought that since we had advanced tickets for 4:00 pm that we would be able to skip the line, but that would be just too easy for Italy. Instead, we tried asking several police officers where to go. None of them spoke English. They just waved their hands at the back of the line. We were pointing to our tickets wondering what kind of chaos we got into this time. That’s when we noticed that everyone had tickets. The time on the ticket was irrelevant. Everyone had to wait in the three hour line regardless. At least they had food vendors along the route.
Here we are standing in line to see the Shroud of Turin…
Obviously, we were more calm and prayerful when we got closer to the Shroud. I said a rosary for my family back home and another one so that I could fully appreciate what I was about to see.
There was so much suspense! We entered the Cathedral of Turin with over a hundred other pilgrims. I was impressed by how silent the room was. Then, we got to stand in front of the Shroud for 15 minutes. It went by very fast.
I wasn’t sure what I would feel when I stood in front of the Shroud. Maybe sadness or sorrow? Instead, I felt a deep sense of longing. I discovered a need inside me that can’t be filled by anything in this world. It hit me that this is the closest that i will ever get to seeing Jesus’ face on Earth.
Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.
We didn’t know what to say or do when we came out of the cathedral. We were in shock. WOW. When we came to our senses, we spent a little time wandering around the city, which is a little like a classier Bologna. Then we had a celebratory dinner and went to our bed and breakfast.
Probably the second best part of the trip (after seeing the shroud) was making friends with our host at our bed and breakfast. She was about our age, an artsy girl, and she had a rescue dog named Mugi. She spoke English very well, and we stayed up late drinking tea and talking to her about traveling, Italy, and studies. She texted me when I got back to Rome and said, “I hope you got back safely. I liked your aura’s.” So sweet!
Just for fun, we stopped in Pisa for a few hours on our way back to Rome. If Turin is a classier Bologna, Pisa is a dirtier Florence. The leaning tower and the cathedral about all there is to see, so we had the perfect amount of time. I gave up on trying to get the most out of every experience because Pisa is such a snooze. However, I did have some fun disobeying orders to stay off the grass…
Overall, it was a successful weekend. Now, back to classes.