These days here in the area known as "eternal Spring" have been days of cooler than normal temperatures and more rain than usual. The "rainy season" is typically more in February, I am told, but these days have seen rain off and on every day. The Motherhouse here in La Ceja is built on the top of one of the high mountains. This area is where one part of the great Andes Mountains are located. We are at about 6,000 feet above sea level here, and when Fr. Fabio and one of the Sisters were discussing that on one of our trips, it finally dawned on me that was the reason why I was having a harder time breathing; and they agreed. It's because of the altitude, and it takes some adjusting to get used to it.
Today was a very pleasant day of seeing some of the sights in the big city of Medellin. I had visited that city the last time I was here as well, but it really is huge, and quite advanced. Medellin is one of those cities that has captured international attention for its innovations in many different ways, and really trying to be sensitive to the needs of every social class in the city through promoting national/city pride, a mass transit system to help all people get to where they need to go very economically, and also a center for entrepreneurship of all kinds.
Two of the Sisters, Sister Mary Teresa and Sister Carmen, drove us into the city where we met up with Father Oscar London. Many will remember Father Oscar as one of the priests who has come to our Diocese for many years helping in the summers with migrant ministry. While the Sisters left to run some errands for the community, Father Oscar took us to see some of the wonderful sights of the city. One of the things I was unaware of is that Medellin has an international reputation for huge and elaborate Christmas decorations.
The highlight of what Father Oscar showed us is the Shrine and Tomb of Saint Laura Montoya (May 26, 1874-Oct. 21, 1949), the first native-born Colombian to be canonized a saint---only four years ago in 2013. Mother Laura, as she is known to everyone locally, founded a religious community in the Dominican tradition, I believe, to evangelize and catechize the indigenous people of the area. The community she founded is known as: Misioneras de Maria Immaculada y Santa Catalina de Sean(Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and Saint Catherine of Siena). One of Father Oscar's blood sisters is a member of this religious community. We were given a grand tour of the Chapel, and the Tomb of Mother Laura.
By mid-afternoon, it was time to once again meet the Sisters. Sister Mary Theresa has two blood sisters who also are members of the same community, and their family lives in Medellin. So we met them at Sr. Mary Theresa's home, where we also met Sister Dora (her blood sister), and the members of their family who were there, including her mother and one of her other sisters. There were nine children in the family, and three of them are members of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit. We had a nice visit, which of course had to be accompanied by some delicious food and drink, and then Sr. Dora joined us for the trip back to the Motherhouse.
After about an hour's drive, we returned to the Motherhouse in time for Evening Prayer and Dinner. After prayer and preparations for the following day's Mass and Homily, Day 3 came to a peaceful and welcome conclusion.