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MARCH 5, 2011

The day started at 6:30 AM.  We left Glassboro to begin the trip to Washington, D.C. which normally takes between two to three hours. We traveled to the Franciscan Monastery called “The Holy Land of America”. The OFM friars invited us to celebrate a Mass with them in memory of Sisters Salvatorina, Valeria, and Rania.   We gladly accepted and asked if we could invite the Hollenbaugh Family from Virginia to join us.  We were anxious to meet them in person.

It was the Hollenbaugh family that attended to our Sisters who were on their way to Bethlehem when the tragic accident occurred.  The Hollenbaugh’s were on a pilgrimage in the Holy Land and came upon the scene minutes after the unfortunate crash.  They stopped and assisted the Sisters, comforting and praying with them to the end.

The Hollenbaugh Family gladly accepted our invitation and we met in this beautiful Franciscan place. We shared tears of sadness and relief as they shared their experience with us.

We were also glad and honored to have the presence of Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Custos of the Holy Land.  The Custos is the Minister Provincial (i.e. the major superior) of the Friars Minor living in the whole Middle East.  He happened to be visiting the friars in Washington, D.C.

After Mass we shared lunch and fellowship together. We are grateful to God for adding such wonderful people to our Franciscan family.

Read the letter from Mary Hollenbaugh.