On Wednesday, we had breakfast, said goodbye to all the Polish relatives, and took a three hour car drive back to Chicago.
That was when the bad weather struck.
I thought it was pretty crazy. After all, the newest Nancy Drew game is about storms in the midwest, and I was actually in the midwest at the time, being attacked by storms.
Thunderstorms were there in full force, and even though thunder and lightning aren't so frightening, it was pretty bad. You couldn't play the "count the number of seconds in between the lightning and thunder" game because they occurred simultaneously.
There was also, believe it or not, a tornado alert for the county next to us. It turns out the sound effects they used for the tornado alert in Trail of the Twister are 100% accurate.
There was even a report of an earthquake in Canada, although I'm not so sure about that one.
Naturally, our flight out of O'Hare Airport was cancelled. They cancelled over 500 flights, so we got to stay in Illinois another day. Dad was happy because it gave him time to buy some Chicago Blackhawks gear, because the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the first time in over forty years. Good for them!
I was happy, because I found out that we were fifteen minutes away from the National Shrine of St. Therese of Lisieux. St. Therese is more commonly known as The Little Flower, and she's a Doctor of the Church.
I accidentally came a half-hour early, but Fr. Bob, the Carmelite who is in charge of the area, let us in ahead of time. He last assignment was in California, and he was a really friendly person.
They had a lot of great things there, like statues and the largest wood carving in the United States, which took up an entire wall. There was an antique rosary collection (going back to the 1400's) and statues of Our Lady of Mount Carmel from all over the world.
Most of all, they had relics from St. Therese, like her childhood toys, letters she wrote, and so on. There were also a ton of photographs of her, because she lived in the late 1800's, and her sister was a bit of a shutterbug. Just like how the Lincoln Museum had a different picture of Lincoln for every year he spent as the President, they had a different picture for every year she spent as a nun.
The best relic, I'd say, is the chair they had from her convent. THE chair she used while writing her autobiography.
I got to make a relic card from the chair, which means I touched my relic card to the chair for a second or two. It was, I imagine, like being in the center of a hurricane or tornado: a tremendous effusion of wind concentating on a single point. At least, that's what it felt like.
The whole pilgrimage was a very moving experience. St. Therese was such a good person; I wish I could have met her. She was only 24 when she died. That's my age.
24 years old, and already a saint. It gives me pause. If she can be a saint at that age, why can't I? I think that's the topic of Frank Duff's pamphlet "Can We Be Saints?" (which I've never been able to find a copy of): why there should be no reason to stop anyone from living a saintly life.
We went to the airport that afternoon, but the flight got delayed again. We ended up having to stay at the airport from about 2 to 6, which is about as long as the flight from California to Chicago takes. Needless to say, Dad and I were both bored out of our minds by the time we got home.
Tomorrow's blog entry: Michael sees Toy Story 3.