Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | By: Jake


Back in March for my Spring Break, I went on a pilgrimage with Notre Dame's Campus Ministry. Below is the continued reflection of my journey:

After seeing a glimpse of the life of Jerome, we made our way through the streets of Bethlehem, walking past numerous different family-owned shops, seeing some pretty intricate carvings along the way...

My favorite part about walking through Bethlehem was seeing the shop-owners struggle to determine your nationality. "Hola? Hello? Konichi wa?" They would continue attempting to say hi in different languages until they would get a glance from us, but after they tried speaking Chinese to me...an obvious American...I think they realized that they were not going to sell me anything.

We made our way to the Milk Grotto, where it is said that a drop of Mary's breast milk dropped on a rock, turning the whole Grotto a powdery white. If you haven't heard of it, don't worry...I'm pretty sure none of the students on the pilgrimage had any idea what it was until we got there.

Apparently, people come here and take some powder off the walls of the Grotto, mix it with milk or water and drink it, hoping that either they become fertile or that close friends become fertile. In all honesty, even though there is a small room with many different testimonies of the "Grotto powder" leading a woman to have a child, I'm still not too comfortable with this idea...and for the most part, it creeped me out. 

Because of this, I didn't spend too much time within the Grotto...I continued walking through and stumbled upon a chapel where one of our leaders said "Perpetual Adoration" would be going on. For some reason, I just understood this as "Eucharistic Adoration", which happens at Notre Dame every weekday. 

For those who are unaware, Catholics believe that during Mass, the bread and wine become the literal body and blood of Christ. This is one of their core beliefs, and many students at Notre Dame go to Eucharistic Adoration, which is praying and adoring the Eucharist. 

But when I turned the corner, I realized what she meant by "Perpetual". Before me, a Sister of the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament knelt before the Eucharist. These Sisters adore the Eucharist 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With "shift changes", the Sisters spend about two minutes praying together, before the first sister leaves, assuring that the Eucharist is perpetually adored. 

Not attaining to the Catholic belief on the Eucharist, this was obviously quite the interesting experience for me. If the Eucharist does not actually become the Body and Blood of Christ, then this order makes almost makes no sense, other than for the fact of continual prayer occurring in a chapel. 

I sat down quite confused and started to journal, but within 20 seconds, it was time to move to our next site.


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