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Llewella's Pilgrimage to Dublin & Rome

Llewella

From Friday 14 July to Thursday 27 July, I was extremely fortunate to participate in the Young Mercy Leaders Pilgrimage 2017. The trip included travelling to Dublin and Rome along with 30 other students and teachers from Mercy schools around Australia.

After a twenty-four hour plane ride we arrived in Dublin, Ireland. We toured around the city for three days sightseeing. We visited places such as O’Connell Street, St Patrick’s Cathedral, The Book of Kells in Trinity College, Glendalough and Malahide Castle and gardens. However, the main focus of our trip was the Young Mercy Leaders Conference which is held every few years at the Mercy International Centre in Dublin. The conference was held to gather young Mercy leaders from around the world to the heart of Mercy and where Catherine McAuley spent her life. During the conference, we met young people from all corners of the globe: Ireland, England, United States and Belize, many of whom I am still in touch with today. As a group we toured the Mercy International Centre, the former school that Catherine built to give education to the poor, and where she is buried today.

We had a walking tour around Dublin to see the houses that Catherine lived in during her early life and where her family grew their business. The two keynote speeches were delivered by two very inspiring speakers. One was Michele O’Kelly, a Mercy Sister who empowered us with her words regarding Mercy Leadership in the 21st century. The other was Angela Reed, a Mercy Sister and Coordinator of Mercy Global Action at the UN, who talked to us about tackling human trafficking. To finish the conference, we gathered in country groups to discuss an action plan to take back home with us, now truly being inspired by the work of Catherine McAuley. We had a final liturgy and said our goodbyes to everyone we met over the short four days.

The next morning we flew to Rome, Italy where over the next three days we visited St Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’Angelo, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Capitoline Museum. We also travelled to Florence where we had a tour of the city and free time at the markets. On our final day we had a private mass in St Peter’s Basilica, toured the Vatican Museums and visited the Sistine Chapel.

Overall, it was an amazing experience that I will keep for the rest of my life. With the influence and encouragement of the people who I met on this trip I will try and promote Catherine McAuley’s mission in my everyday life.

For more information about the Young Mercy Leaders Conference please check out the Mercy World website at www.mercyworld.org.

Llewella