Looking outside the city of St.Louis for a hotel, we settled on a Marriott Courtyard in Creve Couer. It actually worked out well considering all of the places we could easily get to around the city. I loved the fact that as we get off the interstate, the pillars are marked with a heart with what looks like a crown of thorns through the center. Of course, couer means heart so I expected something but the simplicity and beauty of the mark caught us coming and going. The couple of days we spent there, in St.Louis, were wonderful. We spent quite some time at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, IL. The downtown area of St.Louis was having their annual fair with concerts under the arch and beer and food everywhere. As my husband and kids went to go through the arch, I wandered off to the "Old Cathedral" (the holder of my husbands' pocket knife he could not take in the arch). Bottom line though is the heat was crazy. The Cathedral was locked. The arch would have taken close to 2 hours because of the crowds. And, I hung out with some Jesus freaks as I waited, making it clear that I did not need their booklets and buttons, that I loved the Lord and had no problem telling the world. They liked me. Met back up with the family and headed to the Cathedral Basilica of St.Louis where we lucked into first Friday adoration then to Ted Drewes for custard and "yes" it was awesome.
Saturday morning I was up in plenty of time to jump over to 8:00 Mass at St. Monica's Church one block from our hotel. Ya see, I'm thinking about writing something on Our Lady and I thought after all the places we'd visited, I should go to Mass and contemplate what she has in mind. The Blessed Sacrament is still exposed and the Rosary is being prayed as I enter and as I open my Magnificat I see that it is the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Hmmm. Mass begins and I hear some rustling behind me and I have to turn and peek. It's Bernadette McCarver Snyder for cryin' out loud. She's as shocked to see me as I am to see her. A regular writer for Ligouri, we have had her sign in the bookstore many times. She's from Nashville. After Mass she calls over another friend from Nashville. Graduated from St. Bernard's just like Bernadette. They invite me to breakfast but I explain about the kids and the husband waiting for my return. I give her my newest book, Jesus at my Side, along with a copy of the Illustrated Book of Mary and mention the possibility of a new venture. She simply says, "I believe she wants you to do it." The entire trip was just like this moment. Signs and messages and moments I need to wrap my heart and my head around. Wonderful trip. Fun trip. Full of God-instances.