My love for the Shrine goes to my childhood when my parents came often to pray during the hard times of the Depression. My very first memory as a four-year-old is hearing the rosary being said by the Sisters on the other side of the open window between the chapels, never dreaming I would someday be one of them.
Another happy memory is the many school picnics we had there. On my first school picnic when I was entering first grade, I got a blister on my heel from my shoe. I told Sister Angela Post. She took me to the nurse who put on a Band-Aid, then took me to one of the infirm Sisters. The Sister was happy to see me, and we talked a bit. She then gave me a few candy marshmallows. I treasured them until they were simply hard lumps.
The annual pilgrimage, which our family never missed, was also very special. Walking from St. John Church to the Shrine, praying the rosary in that long line of pilgrims were moments of grace I felt even as a child. These blessings continued in special ways when I came to work at the Shrine as curator of the relics and having charge of the museum and doing many tours. I have no doubt that all the saints on those altars will be waiting for me when I meet them someday.