Ruby Ann Weigel-Canete: A pilgrim in progress

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Oratory of St. Joseph Shrine, Montreal

At Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal. She has visited more than a hundred churches around the world.

By Danielle Vania Bonus

To most religious people, Holy Week becomes an affair that targets a hungry soul. To celebrate the occasion, the purist Christians partake in the seven days of fasting also known as Lent, while others pack their bags and set off for some R&R.

Ruby Ann Weigel-Canete, a housewife since 1992 and spouse to the wealthy vice chairman of a property conglomerate Romel Canete, has lived a full life traveling and satisfying her passion for learning history throughout the world. During these educational trips, she has witnessed powerful forces that demonstrate the presence of God or some higher power. This has sent her tracking the globe with travel destinations that one takes not only during the Holy Week.

For those history buffs and soul-searching adventurers, Peru was at the top of Canete’s list with a highlighted mark for the city of Cusco. You can visit the church of Santo Domingo and experience an in-depth look at Inca artifacts alongside beautiful Baroque churches. Also, near Cusco and worth the detour is Canete’s favorite church, The Sistine Chapel of the Andes. Originally called the church of San Pedro Apostol, you’ll find an extravagant gold altar, marvelous murals magnificently painted, vaulted ceilings and maybe even a holy presence emanating from the sanctuary.

Visiting Egypt to marvel at pyramids, decipher ancient hieroglyphics, and gain an understanding on mummy embalming sounds like a complete trip. But Canete also recommends not to forget about the Christian monasteries in the Red Desert.

“If you want to find God, you can find Him there because you will actually feel His presence,” she said.

The Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy

The Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy

Saint Anthony’s Monastery, the oldest of its kind in the world, is hidden between the mountains of the Red Sea and sits a little over 200 miles south of Cairo. There is also the monastery of Saint Paul the Anchorite that was built underground in the caves where Saint Paul lived for 80 years. Canete suggests walking through the caves to get the complete spiritual experience.

As a devout Catholic, Ruby set off to Canada for her pilgrimage giving reverence to her favorite patron saint, Saint Joseph. She expressed her love for the saint’s life and the beauty of adoption that God made available to Joseph.

“If you think about it, way back when it wasn’t even trendy to be a foster parent or to accept someone else’s child, he was there unconditionally. He took God’s son as his own,” she said.

The words came out of her mouth like a true evangelical so much that I was moved to look at adoption in such a manner. Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is in Montreal, Quebec and is said to be the largest church in Canada with one of the largest domes in the world.

The tragic event in Paris that just unraveled about a week ago has left the some-eight-hundred-year-old Cathedral of Notre Dame in rubble. According to CBS news, the fire may have been caused by a computer glitch. Inside the sanctuary, the spire collapsed and the altar to ash, but the cross stood tall and untouched. Canete remembers the cathedral as, “beautiful and gothic with stained rose windows.” Crowds might mourn the structure’s demise, but with the original cross still standing, God makes His presence known making Notre Dame highly worthy of visit!

Canete, also a mother of three children, has fulfilled her life’s goal to raise them to be respectable members of society. Her eldest son brought Uber to the Philippines six years ago. Her middle child took up after her father working in commercial real estate in Houston. And her youngest works for Criteo while attending the University of Michigan for her master’s. Though the work of a mother is never really done, Canete has more time now and she’s using it to the fullest!

Having the ability to go about life as you please is a luxury only a few have, and Canete doesn’t waste a minute of it! In just a few days, she’ll be packing her bags to head for the Philippines, her home country, and where she first found her faith. Her cheery disposition and kindness have led me to believe that her passion is a call from heaven, allowing her to be a light that displays one who has witnessed the love of God.

© The FilAm 2019

St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican

St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

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