We again had the opportunity to visit Galilee for a few days. This time we were accompanied not only by the rest of the Novitiate Community but also by the sisters of the Formation Team of the Congregation. It was simply wonderful to be able to share with all of them.
Although within our itinerary were of course, places like Nazareth and Tabgha, which we had visited previously, it was so interesting to be able to view new archeological sites, which are significant from an historical, non-religious point of view.
On the first day we visited the city of Akko or Acre, a historical place where the preservation of some archaeological sites is extraordinary; it has been awarded heritage status by UNESCO precisely because of the degree of conservation and maintenance both by the authorities and the town population. This status also includes the care of visitors because tourism is currently one of their main sources of income. It was exciting to go through the tunnels built by the crusaders and to listen to the history of these amazing places.
Over the following days we made stop-overs in Capernaum, Magdala, Primacy of Peter and Nazareth, places that are of particular significance and relevance to us as Christians.
So impressive are the ruins of Nimrod that, despite it being the hottest day during our trip, some of us took on the task of going as far as possible up the incredible fortification, to the view -point at the top. What a wonderful silent storyline! Between its walls and stairs lie subterranean spaces (which I didn’t have enough courage to visit). You can imagine how each day developed in this fortress; and, of course, you can enjoy the wonderful surrounding panorama.
In order to freshen up a bit, we had the time to take a walk in the Natural Reserve of Banias, following the waters of the beautiful river, through exuberant vegetation that offered us surprises worthy of many photographs.
As well as this, we had the opportunity to make an unplanned visit to Domus Galilee, an international training center located on the Mount of Beatitudes and directed mainly by the Neocatechumenates. It is a place open to be visited by tourists and where we were granted the guidance of one of the resident seminarians who kindly led us through each space, providing us with detailed explanations and answering all our questions. A beautiful place without a doubt, where the work of volunteers, employees, and seminarians is combined.
On our third day, we were able to enjoy a quick visit to Tiberias to have our lunch. Here some of the sisters were eager to try the famous “fish of San Pedro”; this restaurant has a really beautiful view of the Lake of Galilee, where you can see different species of fish swimming below in the waters.
However, one of the places that impressed me the most, because of its meaning, was Mount Tabor; magnificent views accompanied us as we climbed and even more awaited us at the top. Despite extreme heat, for those who are not used to it, it was magnificent. Once there, we were able to be in the church with a silence that I have experienced seldom in these sacred sites, though I have visited many. There my sensations were different; the place invited me to meditate and reflect. It is simply beautiful. Now I can understand, a little, how the whole mountain contributed to that extraordinary moment of the disciples with Jesus during his transfiguration.
We thank the Lord for this incomparable experience of collaboration between us and all who shared our journey. We remember the communities of Benedictine brothers and sisters in Tabgha, where we stayed and shared the Eucharist. Of course, the time to reflect and pray together every evening as a Sion community was a precious experience.
Helen B, Novice
St. John in Montana community