Samours back from Rome meeting

The Samour family poses for a photo in Florence. (Courtesy photo)

Wichita family represented the diocese at triennial worldwide gathering

Ramie Samour’s conviction that she and her family are in it together has a spiritual and practical meaning.

“It was beautiful to spend time with families from all over the world and to be challenged as families to live it out in the world today,” she said last week. “It’s difficult, but we’re all on this journey together.”

Ramie, her husband Jake, and their six children were invited to represent the Diocese of Wichita at the World Meeting of Families June 22-26 in Rome. It is usually held every three years.

Six kids and no car

Without a car and with six children in tow the difficulty was more than spiritual.

“It was challenging but beautiful,” Ramie said. “There were tears, lots of walking, but lots of laughter, joy, and memories.”

She said now that she has forgotten how sore her feet were she will always remember the beauty she encountered in the Eternal City. As for the food, Ramie said, she will avoid pasta for a while and remembers yearning for eggs for breakfast.

“And bacon!” Jake chimed in.

Missing home cooking

Ramie said the family missed familiar foods but that adjusting to another culture was a good challenge for the eight of them.

Jake said he will remember most how the families attending the event “gave witness to the beauty of God’s plan.”

Being part of a family is a way to holiness, he said. “It’s amazing what difficulties and struggles can do to families, it can make them flourish. We think struggles break us down or pull people apart. What I saw was something Ramie and I have been living through, you can find joy amongst the suffering. And that joy makes family life beautiful and worth living.”

Mixing with other families

Jake said the meeting will impact the way he and his family interact with others. “We were changed by coming into contact with others and having encountered different people witnessing to the Lord. It will impact the way we work with other people and how we walk with other people. Hopefully, that will spread within the diocese.”

Every family that took part in the world meeting will do the same, he said.

The Samour children had their own impressions of the event.

Carlos, 14, said he found it interesting that he encountered children from all over the world but that their lives were similar. “They’re going through the same struggles I have but they live in a different country, different everything, but their faith is the same.”

Crawling up the Scala Sancta

Emilia, age 6, said she remembers crawling up the Scala Sancta, or the Holy Steps, located across the street from the Archbasilica of St. John in Laterano. The 28 marble steps were part of Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem brought to Rome in 326 by St. Helen, the mother of Constantine. The steps may only be ascended on one’s knees.

Ramie said it was memorable because they were told ascending the stairs is difficult for adults and that the little kids probably wouldn’t be able to make it to the top. “All of my kids started and went straight to the top,” she said.

Catherine, 8, said she will remember the outdoor concert performed outside of the Lateran.

12-year-old Elizabeth said the Sistine Chapel was what impressed her most and what she will always remember. “Seeing all those pictures and realizing that a person actually did that. It was really cool,” she said.

The Samours expressed their gratitude to all of the people who made the once-in-a-lifetime journey possible for them.