Taylor Smith’s journey to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia almost ended before it began.
On Sept. 22, the Greenville resident and others from South Carolina were heading for the World Meeting of Families registration when Smith took a hard fall on the sidewalk.
The injured knee hurt terribly but she managed to make the walk to a niece’s house, where she put ice on it to stop the swelling. Nothing helped.
The next morning, Smith saw an orthopedist and discovered she had fractured her right kneecap.
Some people would have headed home at that point. Smith, her damaged joint encased in a huge brace, used a hotel wheelchair for the week’s meetings and seminars, and then rented a scooter to see Pope Francis on Sept. 26-27.
“The whole experience was just lovely, just beautiful,” she said.
“Love just resonated through the entire week. Everyone was so kind to me. My roommates and friends pushed me where I needed to go in the wheelchair. Total strangers lifted up my scooter so I could get over sidewalks and embankments.”
She ended up far away from Pope Francis on both days but said it was meaningful just to be able to watch him on the large video screens set up for those further back in the crowd.
“He emanated total humility and total love,” Smith said. “His humility is almost tangible. Even from that far back it felt like we were receiving an anointing, like we were all a part of the whole massive body of Christ.”
Smith said receiving the Eucharist during the papal Mass was amazing because of how smoothly and reverently it was done.
“It was just a week full of love that I wish everybody could have experienced,” she said.