~day 23: elizabeth~
Image by theroamincatholic
I am going to describe to you a series of seemingly unconnected events.
In autumn of 2007, my husband and I travelled to Germany and Austria for the first time. We enjoyed our trip so much, we decided to make return visits to Munich and Salzburg in the spring of 2008.
However, we decided it would be good to expand our travel horizons and also visit some new places. We decided to stay in Vienna for a week and make some day trips out to Bratislava, Slovakia and Budapest, Hungary.
It was difficult finding good information on Bratislava, which was just beginning to open up itself to the idea of being a tourist destination. Our plans had at first been inspired by mere curiosity and the excitement of whatever was novel to us…a new country, a new city, and we had never been to eastern Europe before.
However, as my husband was searching the internet, he came across some hard-to-find information on the Blue Church of St. Elizabeth in Bratislava. Although this church was not well-advertised to pilgrims or tourists, it turned out to be the highlight of our trip.
Later that same year, we decided to move back to the States from England. It was a big change in our lives and it was a stressful year, a year of sowing that has borne much fruit.
In early 2009, I came across the Trip Advisor website for the first time. I was suddenly inspired to write about the Blue Church in Bratislava…it was most-deserving-to-be-known of all the least-known places I had been.
I wrote a short ‘review,’ as follows:
"Bratislava combined modern vitality with old-world charm; the atmosphere on the sunny day we spent, strolling the quiet streets, was tranquil and inviting. The city was mainly full of ordinary Slovakian folk going about their daily lives, attending noon-day mass at local churches. There are many churches in the city, but the best, most beautiful, and most worth a visit, by far, is the Blue Church of St. Elizabeth. The outer church is stunning with a distinctive Eastern flair; its walls and twisted domes sparkle with the fragments of glancing mirrors and golden mosaics, and the whole edifice gleams with a heavenly blue.
The interior of the church is cool and serene; a perfect spiritual sanctuary, bedecked in Roman Catholic fashion with several beautiful statues and altars, including a fine pieta and Our Lady of Lourdes. Any visitor will leave this place with a happier heart and quieter mind."
A day or so after I had written the review, I received an email from another TripAdvisor member, asking me if I could provide more information on the Blue Church and Bratislava in general.
This anonymous inquirer seemed very grateful for my information, and soon we found ourselves talking about much more than Bratislava. First it was our love of travel, and then our love of sacred places. We found out that we were both converts to Christianity. That we both loved to travel. That we had both lived abroad. And that we both now found ourselves living in Georgia…an hour away from each other.
The friendship that began that day was there, right when I needed it, and ever since, my friend Satomi has always been there. She was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. She is one of the means in which God has never left my needs unfulfilled.
Satomi’s birthday is today. And today is also the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, to whom the Blue Church is dedicated. In a sense, Satomi and the Blue Church both take life from the same day. And I take life from their convergence in my life.
It may seem that these are coincidences,a lucky chance in a material world of chaos. Or it may seem that all things are ordered towards a single purpose, that there is an invisible connection running through the tapestry of countless lives. It may seem that Love is the highest power in the universe.
What do you believe?