Here’s the twenty five second video of the event. The two CK Sisters are in the third pew, you can’t miss Sister Marie Amata’s white veil on the aisle. Sister Mary Fidelis is beside her. WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore
Sister returned the next day and shared her story at Mass on Friday. Here’s the text of the sharing in Q and A format:
Sister Michael: As you know, Sister Maria Amata got to go see the Holy Father and so I thought, “What an opportunity for us!” Welcome back, Sister. Thank you for sharing a few details with us. I have a few questions for you. Why were you blessed with the opportunity to go?
Sister Marie Amata: The Holy Father wanted the Basilica to be filled with seminarians and novices to be part of the (canonization) Mass. So many communities sent their novices for the event. We to go to show the Holy Father that consecrated life is alive and well in the United States. We wanted to support him and show him that the Lord is still calling young people to give themselves totally to Him. Young people are hearing that call and they’re responding.
Sister Michael: At one point in the video it looks like the Holy Father is coming in and it’s almost like the Holy Spirit told him, “Turn right and kiss Sister Maria Amata’s hand.” Now I don’t know if that’s what was going on, but can you tell us more about that?
Sister Marie Amata: Sure. He was coming down the aisle and was being led by Monsignor Rossi, who is the rector of the Basilica. Monsignor directed the Holy Father to the elderly woman who was sitting right in front of me. She’s the mother of a bishop from that area, so he came directly over to her and right away she gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Sister Michael: You were in the third row. How did you get those seats?
Sister Marie Amata: That was completely providential! We were there at 10:00 in the morning and the Holy Father didn’t come until 4 o’clock. So when Sister Mary Fidelis and I got there, we were trying to figure out where to sit…we were plotting and scheming about what would be the closest place to where he would go. There were a number of men in blue who were volunteers; they were helping direct people to the seats. So one volunteer came over to us and said, “Sisters, are you looking for a seat?” We said that we were and he motioned with his finger and said “Come with me.” He walked over to the set of pews on the right, directly in front of the sanctuary space, and he pulled up the rope that was blocking it off, and he let us right in. Why that happened…it was a total gift from the Lord. It was incredible.
Sister Michael: So the Holy Father was right there in front of you did you touch him?
Sister Marie Amata: I did not touch him though he was close enough to touch. If he would’ve put out his hand and I would’ve put out mine, we would not even have had to stretch to shake hands. But he was so intent on the woman in front of me and she was so loving to him…she just wanted to embrace him, wanted to give him a kiss. So that was their time. That was a grace that God had given to that woman to be able to show her affection and show her love for him. It felt that there were a lot of emotions happening in all of us, I’m sure, but there was something in me that said, “This grace, this time is for her.” and it would break it up if anyone reached over to grab him and so that was a gift. When you’re with the Holy Father, when you’re that close to him, everyone wants to touch him. But that grace and that gift are given to some and it felt wrong to grab at it, to take it. To receive it when it’s given is one thing, but to take it when it’s not given is something else. So that gift was given to that woman. How I was able to get a picture of that (moment) is pretty much a miracle in itself because I was shaking so much. There was so much emotion but it was just an incredible picture of her and the Holy Father right there. That picture has already been sent to her so she has that picture forever.
Sister Michael: And so you didn’t touch him physically but did you sense something when he was right there?
Sister Marie Amata: Yes, there was so much going on, with heightened emotion and time seems to change, it’s incredible because something happens to time. It’s almost like things are going so fast and they’re going in slow motion, too. It’s really an incredible feeling. What was happening at that time was this very strong feeling of gratefulness and awe at the power of the chair of Peter and really knowing that that is the successor of Peter…Peter who knew Jesus intimately. You feel that when you’re with the Holy Father and when he’s right there, it’s really experienced. It’s a great gift.
Sister Michael: We could kind of see that from behind, we had the aerial view, and after he left, your head turned back and forth and seemed to say, “Did you see that?!” and you put your hand on your head. And so there was grace in it, for not only everyone who was present, but thank you for coming back to us and sharing the experience with us so that we can benefit and receive grace from His visit also.
Sister Marie Amata: I brought all of you there in my prayer and so you were definitely there in spirit and this is the power of the communion of the Church. So you were there in my heart and in my prayers, each one of you.
Sister Michael: One last question, Sister. I’d like you to comment on the spirit in the Basilica. You were there for six hours waiting. What was that like?
Well, there was a lot of energy that was just building throughout the day. I guess I can only speak for myself and Sister Mary Fidelis, but even though we were there for so long waiting, we were not tired. There was so much energy. What was really incredible about it is that the Basilica was packed; it was shoulder to shoulder; all the pews were filled. And so right in front of where we were sitting, there was a big screen set up where we could see the Mass that was happening outside to our right. And so when the Holy Father was driving up in the Popemobile, we all started cheering; the whole Basilica was cheering. It was just filled with cheering and what was really neat about it is that we could tell from where he was driving outside where he would come up into the church. So he was driving toward the back and he got out and we saw the door that he went into and everyone knew he was going to be coming from the back left corner of the church. So when he was driving up, we were all cheering, but as soon as he entered the building, the whole basilica was silent and we just looked to the back in anticipation of seeing him, finally there with us. The whole place was totally silent. Then when we saw the white of his vestments, we started cheering again. The other incredible thing was that after he came all the way down the main aisle, he went up to the sanctuary space. People were still cheering and then he raised his hand to his forehead in order to begin to make the sign of the cross and his lips were moving so you knew he was talking. As soon as his hand went up, there was complete silence again throughout the whole Basilica. He has such a powerful presence. After that, he made a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and when he was praying there, again, it was totally silent. I don’t know how many people the Basilica seats, but it’s very large, so for such a large crowd to become silent within just a couple seconds was remarkable to experience.
Sister Michael: That’s a truly Catholic crowd that knew when to rejoice…when to cheer and when to be silent. Thank you for sharing, Sister!
We also had five Sisters attending the World Meeting of Families. Here are three pictures they sent back.
They will be sharing some of the choicest parts of the World Meeting of Families at the SFA meeting on Oct. 20th. Hope to see you there! I am excited to hear their stories when we get home to the Motherhouse this weekend! God bless.