In August 2012, the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother organized a pilgrimage for girls to visit Italy, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It was a challenge! Following the pilgrimage´s motto: ¨May God guide us, we are in his hands. Trust and hope,¨ we flung ourselves into the hands of God and of Our Mother and began the pilgrimage.
In Brignano, Italy, 13 girls of various ages, 4 Servant Sisters and Father Rafael, our founder, met up in the Servant Sister´s house. It all began on August 3rd with a visit to Father Carlo, an Italian priest who is a friend of ours. He encouraged us spiritually to begin the pilgrimage with generosity. The next day we left Italy, driving towards Germany where we visited the famous marian sanctuary in Altötting and Marktl am Inn, the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI. Each girl looked up information about the saints or the places that we were going to see and then throughout the trip shared what they had learned. The next day we drove through Vienna, where we venerated Saint Elizabeth of Hungary´s head and were attended marvelously by Elizabethan nuns who take care of the site.
In the following days we visited Poland – Krakow (the catedral and places sanctified by the presence of Blessed John Paul II). The girls loved the Franciscan church in Krakow, which conserves the pew where Karol Wojtyla used to pray. We arrives in Warsaw and, thanks to our Polish friends who guided us through the center of Warsaw, we were able to go a little bit deeper into the soul of the Polish nation through its moving history. We also visited the City of the Immaculate Conception (Niepokalanow), founded by Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and where one still notes his spirit. We also learned of the unforgettable Father Jerzy Popieluszko – a Polish priest who was martyred by the communists in 1984. Most of the girls felt very profoundly touched by the example and strength of this young priest and chose him to be their own protector saint.
We also visited the Queen of Poland – Our Lady of Czestachowa, who politically and with the approval of the Church is the Queen of Poland. We were able celebrate Mass in the chapel where the painting of Our Lady is preserved and we all felt like Our Mother was spoiling us. Almost at the end our stay in Poland, we were also able to visit the concentration camp Auschwitz and John Paul II´s birthplace, Wadowice.
In the Czech Republic, we visited Olomouc, where we celebrated Mass in the chapel of Saint John Sarkander, a priest and martyr. Thanks to the parish priest we learned about the Czech saint´s story and we venerated his tomb and we took a hike up to the top of the very tall cathedral tower. Later we also went to Prague to see the Child Jesus of Prague and to visit the cathedral where the remains of various Czech saints, including Saint Wenceslaus and Saint John Nepomuceno, are preserved.
The pilgrimage was full of the grace of God, which he always offers to those who wish to receive it, and of the presence of Our Lady who became a pilgrim with us.
Ha sido una peregrinación llena de las gracias de Dios que él siempre está derramando en los que las quieren acoger y también llena de la presencia de Nuestra Madre que se vino de peregrina con nosotros.