Visiting the Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Today, we visited the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II. My kids love going to D.C. and there are few places we still haven’t visited. So we hopped in the car and decided to go visit St. John Paul II’s shrine on the way to D.C. but without much conviction. We had no idea how deeply moving and inspiring it would be.

We started out seeing the St. Thomas More exhibit. I don’t have any pictures of any of the exhibits or the Museum because photos are not allowed, so sorry. I had no idea about the life of St. Thomas More. I was very surprised to find out that such a genius was married and had children. He was very interested in the education of his children and was a very affectionate husband and father. He is such a great example for married men of today. He was impressively good at his work, extremely intelligent, and struggled to serve God first. I recommend everyone to learn more about him since his times were not easy, just as ours, yet he continuously put God first and suffered greatly but is now a Saint.

Then we had a quick snack in an eating area. There is no cafeteria or kitchen but there are plenty tables to eat if you take food with you.

We moved onto a beautiful presentation about the life of St. John Paul II. It’s no wonder he was canonized only 9 years after he died. He exuded so much life, strength, and love. The museum is full of relics, videos, pictures, and all kinds of information about his life and the rough times he lived in. I was so amazed at how much he suffered but transformed that suffering into a profound connection with God when he continuously turned to prayer. His mother died when he was a child, his brother died several years later, and later on in his youth, his father passed away. Not only was he left alone, he witnesses the horrors of the Nazi Regime and loses many friends to the war. This helped me deepen in the wonder of suffering and how close it can take you to God. He’s another example of a saint that took advantage of their suffering, like in one of the meditations in the silent retreat of March. It seems like the greatest saints are the ones who suffered the most.

I ask for Saint John Paul II to help us do the same; to turn to God in our suffering and be in constant prayer.

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