FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – Ten women took a pilgrimage to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico, at the end of April. The group experienced problems with their rental cars and their accommodations, but still said that the trip was miraculous and full of wonder.
Adriana Walker, Catholic Pastoral Coordinator and president of the Catholic Women of the Chapel group at Fort Huachuca, said she organized the trip because “we like to go see the shrines and important, interesting places from the history of the Catholic faith.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Catholic title referring to Mary, mother of Jesus. The basilica was constructed to commemorate a series of five occasions when the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a Mexican peasant called Juan Diego and his uncle in December 1531.
A revered image on a cloak associated with the apparition is enshrined within the basilica, which is the most-visited Catholic shrine in the world, and the world's third-most-visited sacred site.
That, explains Walker, is also why they called their time a pilgrimage and not just a vacation or a trip.
“It was a pilgrimage,” she said. “Not just because we went to Our Lady of Guadalupe, but even with all the cultural things we did, every single day we were in church. So the religious part of the trip was there all the time.”
The ladies initially planned a jam-packed itinerary with one day at the Basilica, one day at the pyramids of Teotihuacan and several stops at other churches and monuments, but they quickly realized their tight schedule was unreasonable.
“Our plan was to do something during the day, and then come back early to the house, and relax, maybe play a game, or pray the rosary, but it didn’t happen,” she said. “Every night we got home late, and we were so tired, but also so happy!”
Things didn’t always run smoothly on the trip. The rental car they reserved didn’t show up at the airport in Mexico City. When one finally did arrive, it wasn’t large enough to hold the entire group. The house they booked for their stay didn’t have enough beds to accommodate them.
But, as Natalie Plumb Lucey, one of the travelers said, “Even through the trials of our car not being there when we got there, or not enough beds, we had these little struggles, but ultimately it was about the blessings. Every day we had little incidences where it just felt meant to be.
“We were really blessed,” she said. “We got to see some [sights] that we shouldn’t have been able to see. God made it so we were there at the perfect time. There were tiny miracles every day.”
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Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Army Signal Command and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 946 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, key components to the national defense mission.
Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with a rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort was declared a national landmark in 1976.
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