Everest Collegiate senior Megan Luttinen continues her reflections from the Holy Land:

One of my Favorite Places so Far

Magdala is the place where Mary Magdelene lived, and is also the place where Jesus removed the seven demons from her. The most amazing part is that the Legion of Christ oversees the place we visited (They are the ones who started it!) and we are the first ever Everest group to visit the completed church! (Click here to read about the upcoming church dedication.)

The Magdala Center is not only a church and pilgrimage center, but a future restaurant and hotel, and there are plans to make it a refuge and home for women who need help from bad situations.  I was stunned, and (my classmate) Kimmy and I talked about the beauty of the testimony of this small city.

Our guide Claudia explained about the struggle to recover this land and make it into such a special place.  It used to be a hotel’s property until the Legion raised the money to buy it, and started laying the foundations of the new buildings.  They made it a refuge, a safe haven, almost like a shelter, but absolutely stunning! There is a view of the Sea of Galilee and there are 4 different chapels with gorgeous handmade mosaics depicting bible scenes behind them. The main altar of the big chapel is in the shape of a boat, and it’s almost like you’re back in time with Jesus. What a beautiful place!

I am in awe of the dedication of the people here in Magdala to help women in similar situations as the famous biblical figure, Mary Magdalene. The ceiling depicts the folded hands and part of the tunic made of stars on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Eight pillars grace the building, each showcasing a famous woman from the Bible. The eighth pillar of the church is dedicated to all women who visit! This has been one of my favorite places to visit so far.

Mrs. Krogh thought that they did an incredible job making a new building that depicted the old in a new way — a marriage between the past and present!

Holy Sepulchre…. There’s not much else to say…

Who knew that waking up at 5 am and having Mass at 6 am would be so life changing?

Our group woke up so early because we were able to have Mass at the Holy Sepulchre, on the exact spot where Jesus was nailed to the cross and died on Calvary.

Just let that sink in. So powerful.

All of us were able to touch the rock on which Jesus was crucified.  It is under a Greek Orthodox altar and occupation.  The (Roman) Catholic Church has it’s altar on the spot where Jesus was nailed to the cross.  We were one of the only groups to celebrate Mass there, and it was a moving experience.

My class mate Ben agreed with me that the entire moment was indescribable. When you realize that you are celebrating the act that Jesus underwent for us, at the exact spot it happened. Wow.

It was especially beautiful inside as well, with columns and adornment in gold and silver. Our entire group had an “experience,” and in all honesty, there’s not much else I can say.

As an end note, I would like Archbishop Vigneron to know we prayed for vocations for the Archdiocese of Detroit. And when I prayed for the intention, I felt a spark. God heard our prayers, and now it’s just when He will deliver.