By Sharon Wilson


I was privileged to travel to Italy last week with the WINE & Shrine Pilgrimage. Like all things WINE: Women In the New Evangelization, we grew in our relationships with each other and also in our relationship with Christ. I experienced so many things on this trip; I will be unpacking them for years to come.

One of those experiences took place last Friday, when we walked the Way of the Cross through the Holy Doors at St. Peter’s Basilica. As a pilgrimage group, we were able to process together, carrying a large wooden cross. Some of the women in our group carried the cross in the scorching heat, while we prayed and reflected on the mercy God has given us. We carried the weight of the prayer intentions that others entrusted us to carry throughout our pilgrimage.

As fate would have it, a couple from England joined our small group as we walked.

As we neared the door Kelly Wahlquist, founder of WINE and leader of our pilgrimage, was poised to take her turn carrying the cross. At that moment she saw this woman, who was not in our group, and offered her the honorary position of carrying the cross over the threshold of the Holy Doors. The woman from England was shocked and surprised and visibly moved. The spirit of sisterhood that is WINE was evident, as we recognized this sister in Christ that we didn’t even know.

The entire pilgrimage was like this—from the offers to share ibuprofen and hair spray to the wonderful sharing of our lives, hopes, struggles, and dreams. Healing happened. Healing through the Holy Spirit and healing through the sisterhood that we encountered through our relationship with Christ.

Stay tuned for more stories from our pilgrimage to Italy.