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Tom & Sue Personal Pilgrimage Day 2 in Krakow (Day 28 overall)

From Insecurity To Confidence


Only the person who renounces Self-Importance, who no longer struggles to defend or assert himself, can be large enough for God’s Boundless action.


— St. Edith Stein


Dzien Dobry:

Slept until 8 today (Susan 8:15) and realized that our plans had changed when we opened our e-mail. Our friend Fr. Pat, whom we were supposed to meet today in Krakow, had a family funeral today so we probably wouldn’t get to see him. We didn’t realize until Sunday that he and his sister didn’t go to the funeral, but his cousin who drove him had to go and they were held hostage because the family didn’t want them to take the train to Krakow.  Maybe they aren’t old enough.

If we had known that we would have driven to them for lunch and long time coming reunion. We were supposed to go there anyway today for his nephew’s First Holy Communion, which is why he is in Poland, but when he got here they gave him the wrong day and it was on Thurs and we were 150 miles away.

We even thought we could go to the airport on Mon. morning to say hi and get a warm hug, but we have plans and don’t know if we will finish in time. We haven’t seen Fr. Pat in years and so we all decided now he has to come back to Palm Beach after such a valiant effort.

We lounged around and I took all the files out, all 3 of them…………we started with 36 and one of the 3 was just full of credit card receipts, lovely, we have to come home soon and then we have to pay for the trip.  Totally depressed we decided to go back to the St. John Paul Center for noon mass.  It was cold and rainy out and taking the car seemed like a better idea than walking.  Afterwards we planned to come back to the Apartment and do some more lounging.  Before we got out the door Susan had pulled out the holy water we had acquired.  The holy water from Ludzmierz water a beautiful rust color and the legend of the well was suspect to begin with, needless to say it won’t be going into our mixture of healing spring waters from Our Blessed Mother from 7 countries and 23 shrines. We have had some of these waters for 11 years and they are all still crystal clear.

Another first Holy Communion
Another first Holy Communion

We realized it was almost 11:15 so we had to hurry and had time to spare for a cappuccino.

There was another First Holy Communion group coming in and we had to laugh, since we always handle and love this at the Cathedral every year and this year we couldn’t, because I was radioactive after the Y-90 treatment.

We made up for the miss by attending 20+ here in Poland.

Editor’s note:  Click here to read about Tom’s battle with cancer and his successful treatment

After mass we went upstairs to pray the Rosary in front of the Our Lady of Fatima statue at the main altar.  She has been present in every church we have been into in honor of the 100th anniversary.  I’m sure we have one at the Cathedral???

Lighting a candle for your intentions
Lighting a candle for your intentions

We got thru the first decade and a large group came in for a presentation and we moved to Our Lady of Czestochowa chapel to finish, where we lit candles for all the intentions we carry.  We actually lit 4 today, since we missed yesterday.  We then went to the chapel of Our Lady of Piekary Salaskie and prayed our morning prayers.

After 2 hours we were on our way back to the apartment since the weather hadn’t changed and we were cold but first we needed a car wash since we were picking up Sister Angela and Joe, the brother of our friend Sister Maria from St. Vincent in Delray Beach, Fl.  She was here to celebrate her 50 Anniversary with the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and invited us to the ceremony on Sunday.  We were honored and offered to pick up guest or family in Krakow.

Washing the car in the rain is great because there is no one ahead of you and vacuuming after in the rain is really stupid, but Jag needed some attention and the rain had stopped, so she was beautiful and spotless when we got back to the garage. Susan ended up in the wash alone in the car and I’m sure I heard a couple of ooh’s and aah’s.   Back now it was 3 PM and Divine Mercy hour so we prayed and then had a drink and relaxed until we forgot we had to go buy some chocolates at the best chocolate store in Krakow, so off we went  and got 2 nice big boxes of assorted chocolate delights, one for tomorrow and one for Monday.

By time we got back our drink was warm so we threw it out and had a glass of wine before going to dinner.  We were not venturing far from home, just across the street was a Sushi Place and it is meatless Saturday` so it was perfect…….well, almost perfect.

Getting fresh and a variety of sushi in any foreign country is hard, except for Japan, and Poland was no exception.  What they had was very good but the favorite things Susan likes, forget it, octopus, giant clam, fresh squid, all the chewy stuff, they don’t carry.  Look, we didn’t starve…..a nice order of shrimp and calamari teriyaki, some tuna rolls and I had an assortment of sushi, things Susan doesn’t eat.  We had beer because they didn’t have saki….oops.  Oh well, our waitress was very nice and we left her a big egg roll when we left.

Back to the apartment to layout our clothes and get set up for Sunday, since we will voluntarily begin ground hog day for the next 2 days.  I set the alarm for 5 AM and that’s all I remember.

God Bless you all


Susan & Tom

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Tom & Sue Melillo in Poland Day 18 Krakow Mass at John Paul II Center

Dzien Dobry:

We were out of bed at 7, together (no coffee in the room) and went down for a cup of coffee.  The waiter from the night before was on duty again and we laughed and asked what room he was in.  He was a very educated young man in his early 20 and was studying chemistry with dreams of going to America.

Over coffee we made our plan for the day, check-in was 2 and we wanted to go to Mass so why not the St. John Paul II shrine in Krakow.  I figured it was about 1 ½ hours away so went to shower and pack our 2 grocery bags we used for luggage.  I think we are done lugging all these bags in and out. It actually worked out pretty good except we looked like homeless people.

We went back in for breakfast and forgot the camera again, I think it’s tired too.  They made us eggs to go along with the nice buffet they had and refreshed and ready we paid the bill and got into Jag.  Susan set the GPS and it said we would arrive at 12:10, late for the noon mass. Have no fear Jag is here, we arrived at 11:40 and time for a cup of coffee.

We went into Mass downstairs where it usually is and to our surprise we heard beautiful music from the main church upstairs.  We were excited, for in the 3 times we have been here we never attended a Mass in the upper church.

Click here for more information about the John Paul II Center in Krakow, with some great photos from Tom & Sue’s previous trip.

Today they were celebrating a high Mass and there had to be 20 priest and 2 Deacons.  Mass was beautiful and when the homily started I took a walk to the little boys room, the long way and slowly climbed the stairs back figuring it had to be close to the end.  Wrong, it was another 20 minutes and we really get disappointed………we can’t understand, especially when the voice of the priest is so inviting.


After the Mass ended we got in the car and headed for our Apartment.  There will be plenty of time at the shrine and I have to clean this stick I just changed in the camera because all the photos are from last year in Krakow and we have different clothes, well at least Susan does!

The apartment is only 10 minutes away with traffic and when we got there the girl meeting us hadn’t arrived so Susan got out and I went around the block. They we talking and she didn’t realize I booked parking and I passed the entrance so around the block I went again and we were finally in.  This is the hardest part of booking apartments but we are used to it and it is worth it, as was with this place, pretty nice and big.  For the next week we will be very comfortable and the Old Town is just around the block, trust me I know.

Susan unpacked, as usual, all the suitcases for the last time and I went to the market hopefully for the last time.  We don’t know where the time went and every day has been a spiritual adventure like we have never had before.  We didn’t know if it would be difficult traveling the country, especially into small villages and where we knew people hardly or ever see Americans but we made out fine. It has been truly a marvelous adventure we will never forget.

Krakow is like home and we know our way around the Old Town pretty well, so we have our favorite places to go and that’s what we did around 6 PM for dinner.  We left the apartment and after 4 minutes when we got to 3 Franciszkanska, where we have met with Cardinal Dziwisz 3 times and where our friend Fr. Tomasz still lives, it started to rain and it was cold so I did the noble thing and bought an umbrella  (like we needed one, we had 2 of our own in Jag and 3 in the apartment). It stopped raining right after I opened it.  I tried to sell it for 1/3 of the price but I didn’t get any takers.  Hopefully it will rain again before we get home so I don’t feel so stupid.

We got the last table at this Hungarian restaurant that has the best goulash we have ever had, plus a mixed sausage and kelbasa casserole full of wild mushrooms.  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, so that’s what we ordered, the same as the last time we were here.  The owner recognized us after we started laughing and joking with our waitresses.  The owner said hello and waited on us the rest of the evening.  We all laughed and laughed, as everyone else in the place was reserved and somber.

I tried to sell her the umbrella when the bill came and I was going to throw in the plastic handle wrap and sheath for free.  More laughter and down right stupidity and then we all hugged and they were still laughing as we went out the door.

Still no rain so I lowered the price and as we passed the stand where I bought it I thought she might buy it back and sell it again for a tidy profit but Susan wouldn’t let me.  We were home in less than 10 minutes and it started raining as soon as we got in the door. We had BBC on the TV and watched some news and checked e-mails, we had a bunch and it was great.  One of our friends sister, whom he had been forwarding our reports to, sent him an e-mail to thank us so he forwarded this beautiful response to us and we thought we would share it with all of you.  Things like this make these pilgrimages all worth while.

I got ready for bed and Susan wanted to watch TV so I laid down to say my prayers and that’s all I remember.

God bless all of you


Susan & Tom


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Tom & Sue in Poland Day 17: From Zakopane to Our Lady of Lezajsk

Dzien Dobry:

I don’t remember where I ended up with the last report so if I repeat myself, pardon me.

I woke up at 5:30 A.M. … Susan came around the corner at 6AM when the coffee was ready. I showered and shaved last night (in the bathtub) so that we could get an early start. I got into the tub okay … I almost couldn’t get out! This bathtub/shower combination is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.

We had our coffee, our bags were packed and we were out the door before 7:00 A.M. Our plan was to try to miss the morning traffic in Zakopane. We did a good job with our planning. There was hardly anyone driving out of Zakopane today … but lots of people were driving in the opposite direction to the mountains.

Filling up at the well
Filling up at the well

We had decided to drive back to Ludzmierz because Susan had figured out on her Internet search where the Miraculous Water Font was. The day we had left there, we thought we had seen it but we never thought to stop to find out if that was the location. Once we saw the photo online last night, we realized that we should have stopped. We found it right away. I had to pump the water from the well and I pumped and pumped and pumped and finally some water came out. I filled the bottle, dumped it and filled it again to try to get some fresh miraculous water.

Mission accomplished, we got right back on the road. There was no one in front of us on the roads on the way out but, once again, the cars in the opposite direction were backed up for miles and miles with no one moving. We had to head to the outskirts of Krakow to pick up “A-4” … the “Super Highway” and Jag had a super time … as did I! The speed limit was 140 Kilometers per hour. If you were driving that speed, everyone would pass you. Well, only two cars passed Jag during our entire journey on A-4. We made the 150 KM trip in just about one hour. Before we exited and got back on to normal roads, it felt like we were crawling.

As we were traveling, we noticed that every Church we passed, there were large numbers of people standing outside on the terraces and there were cars parked everywhere. Susan was checking her emails on the cell phone and we received two … one from our friend Wojtek and the other from our new friend “John” (where we spent three wonderful nights at their apartment outside of Wadowice). Both informed us that today in Poland was “Corpus Christi” … both a Catholic and National Holiday here. They both told us that the locals only attend their Churches with large processions throughout the towns and then they stay home (as if Sunday) because all of the businesses, restaurants, shops, etc. are closed down for the day. So the two of us realized … THAT’S WHY TRAFFIC WAS SO LIGHT and we saw no real signs if life on the streets.

We stopped during our drive for a 2nd pit stop and had breakfast (or lunch … whatever you would consider it). I had prepared some sandwiches last night and they were GOOOOOOD! Having refreshed ourselves, we drove the last 15 miles to our destination … The Basilica of Our Lady of Lezajsk.

This Shrine’s history began in 1578 when the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph appeared to a woodcutter named “Tomasz/Thomas”. She told him that she had chosen this place to be “Where Her Son will be loved and respected and, whoever shall call on my Intercession here will receive my Blessing”. Thomas didn’t listen and report her requests at first … soclick here to read the story for the rest of the story. It’s a bit confusing but you will understand.

We arrived and the Basilica was absolutely mobbed. As we pulled up, there was a very small parking lot right in front of the Church and another large parking lot on the opposite side of the street. Both were packed with cars as well as the street going up the hill. There were parked cars everywhere and people walking everywhere. I notice a car pulling out of the parking lot in front of the Basilica so I decided to “take a chance”. There, lo and behold, there was one parking place right there in front of the Church … Thank you Blessed Mother! I didn’t think I was going to find a place anywhere.

I parked and opened my car door to get out. All of a sudden this “large man” ran up to the car door and started speaking very, very quickly and excited to me IN POLISH! I thought he was trying to tell me to move but we had a language barrier. I finally said “AMERICAN” and he laughed, smiled and quickly walked away from the car (what was that all about?).

We hadn’t walked 50 feet from the car and we were directly in front of the Basilica. This guy walked up to me and, in English, he said “Where are you from?”. I said “Florida” (What? Do I have a big “T” on my forehead?). He told me (with a Polish accent) that he was from Philadelphia. He then introduced us to two of his other friends who were both also Polish but live in Philly as well. Then the man who had come running up to our car when I parked came into the group … he was a friend of the guy who was talking to us. That man was the POLICE CHIEF of the town. They were all childhood friends who had been born and lived here until leaving for the States around 10 years old.

The “police chief” had gone to tell the three Americans that we were there … he thought that we were all friends. They don’t get many Jags in Poland that have Warsaw license plates. We all shared a laugh and the police chief kept talking to me with great excitement … but in Polish.

There was a lot of activity as they began to form for the procession around the town with lots of Banners, statues, a band, altar servers and of course First holy Communion children. Mass had been celebrated at 9 and the procession was next. (See photos) We couldn’t believe the amount of people that poured out of the basilica to follow the priest with the Monstrance with Jesus. Our friends followed and we hung behind for this was a 2 hour walk. We planned to go to the 12 noon mass but I guess the schedule changed and as we entered the Basilica the 11 AM Mass began.


The Basilica is amazingly beautiful and the place was packed to the outside. We were wondering where they all came from for this Shrine is in the sticks in this small village. The priest gave a verrrrrrry looooooong sermon but he was so vibrant we had to laugh a few times almost knowing the point he was trying to get across. He looked like Fr. Della Russo, our new chancellor at the diocese. (We are going to have to have a chat about the length of his homilies).


Communion was very different here and you just went to the end of your pew if you had one and knelt on the stone floor and the priest walked back and forth up and down the aisle and gave you the Eucharist. Susan and I had a bench some family vacated and there was only one spot to kneel and I couldn’t turn around or move to let her go so I knelt and Susan climbed over two benches to get a spot, good thing for she was the last to receive and the priest were gone. When we knelt on the kneelers in front of us, they were so tilted that we had to hang on so we didn’t slide off. During the whole mass a small little girl was roaming on the large altar behind the priest and God didn’t seem to mind, so neither did anyone else. Even though we chuckled at times it was beautiful.

Close-up view of the image of Our Lady of
Close-up view of the image of Our Lady of Lezajak

What I loved so much was after the priest gave the final blessing they started a song to Mary and everyone sang and no one left even after the priest did. Not a single person leaves a service early at every mass we have been to here in Poland. When the song was done some sat for a few minutes and the others left so Susan and I went to explore the Basilica and we found a Miraculous Cross of Christ behind the altar that you could venerate by touching the glass enclosure. Many people came in to do so and say a short prayer.

Praying before the image
Praying before the image

We then found the Miraculous Painting of Our Mother in a small chapel on the right and many people were on their knees praying for just a few seconds. When most had left we went into the chapel and sat with a few others whom quickly left and then it was just Susan and I here with this magnificent painting, it was magical. What better place than to pray our Rosary as it seemed Our Mother and Our Lord were here with us and blessing us as we did so.

We began to wonder when the procession would get back so we went out to the parking area we came in and I had a chance to move the car to a better spot so it would be easier to get out and as I did so it seemed that buses just dropped off 100’s of people. Susan and I sat on a bench and just watched as the kept coming and coming. We kept saying where is the procession and then I heard the music and excitedly said to Susan I hear them they are coming. She laughed and laughed for she had just re-player a phone camera video she had taken earlier and that’s what I heard. DUH!

We couldn’t take it anymore as a large van pulled in and backed into the outer entrance of the Basilica so we went up to see what was going on as people outside the walls stood and faced the Church. They had all the statues and banners and the Coppola in the truck and I said to Susan, where is Jesus?  We still don’t know, since mass had started and people were standing outside and everywhere, a whole new group for this great day of celebration in Poland. We got out of the way and headed for our hotel.

About 40 minutes later we were checking into this very nice hotel and they had a restaurant so we wouldn’t go to bed hungry since everything else was closed. We met a lot of people there including some teen age kids that sat with us and we talked for a long time about the problems of Poland with the young. That’s another story.

Dinner was excellent and very elegant and we forgot the camera so I won’t bore you to death. We went to our room and typed part of this report but got tired so into bed we went and that’s all I remember.

God Bless you all


Susan & Tom


Stay with them, Dear Mother of God. Keep them in your Heart of Love, for You, alone, are the true daughter of God the Father, Eternal Mother of God the Son, and cherished spouse of God the Holy Spirit. Spiritual Mother, Most Powerful, keep them centered in God’s Plan for their life forever. Amen.

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Tom & Sue in Poland: Days 15 & 16 Ludzmierz and Zakopane

Editor’s Note:  Tom and Sue Melillo traveled extensively to Catholic shrines and have graciously shared their experiences with us via their daily “trip reports”.  Sadly, Tom is no longer with us, but his trip reports live on…and so do the memories of this faith-filled man.

Here is one of their trip reports from their pilgrimage to Poland in 2017.


Dzien Dobry:

Day 15

I had a marvelous sleep until 7:30, Susan 7:50, the coffee was ready.  We were not in a hurry to leave our beautiful home as we called it and we enjoyed a casual breakfast around ten.  John, our host didn’t want us to leave either…..and said we could stay until much later, and he would even give us drinks and feed us.  It was tempting but we had a schedule to keep and said our goodbye’s around noon. We even said goodbye to Max since he created a new mound just for us.

Editor’s note:  Just in case you did not read the previous post, the owner of the house they are staying in has a problem with groundhogs digging up his land.  One of the, Tom & Sue named “Max”.

Our home, on wheels, was loaded and the back seat looked a little more organized.  It was on to Zakopane, a very popular ski resort, in the Tatra Mountains with a stop on the way to Our Lady of Ludzmierz.  Of course it is another miraculous statue of our Mother thought to be at least 600 years old.  St. John Paul II had a special affection for this Sanctuary from 1963. (Click here to see the Story)

We didn’t know what to expect, but with all the stops we have made we were never disappointed and this Shrine was no exception.  The Minor Basilica is out in the middle of nowhere, so to speak, and on the only major road in the area. We came in the back way and parked near the religious monastery and pilgrim center.  It was a good thing since they were painting the parking lot and it was closed.

We couldn’t get a feel for the Shrine until we walked one hundred feet and this expansive field with the way of the cross came into view.  There weren’t many people around so we went to the Sanctuary of Our Mother to explore and pray.  The Basilica was smaller than most but didn’t lessen the spirituality we have experienced in the sacred places we have been blessed to visit.

The statue of Our Lady is Beautiful and on the Scepter you can see the Papal ring of Saint John Paul II and the relic that was placed there after his death given by our friend Cardinal Dziwisz.

We took some photos and sat and prayed our Rosary for all the intentions we have with us and then we lit candles and Susan wrote in the intention book.

We needed a cafe latte and a WC so we went to the cafeteria on the grounds next to the gift shop which we had to go into (we are throwing out clothes, so we have room for all the mementos we have bought, it’s either that or another suitcase).  Editor’s note:  this is a good idea…take some old clothes along with you on pilgrimage, throw them out after you wear them, and then have more room in your suitcase to bring back items that you pick up along the way.

From there we went to the Rosary path and the place was more active than when we arrived. We prayed Divine Mercy in front of the statue of St. John Paul II amidst the chaos of all the families around, but we didn’t hear a thing.

We were looking for the holy water spring and walked the all the grounds but came up empty. There was a pond and we thought that was it but I saw a hose feeding the waterfall into the pond.  No one could understand us, so we left disappointed but still elated from our visit and headed for Zakopane about 20 minutes away without traffic. (Do they have traffic?)

We pulled down our street and missed our hidden turn and came up to this large building and it didn’t look like the picture of our hotel so I asked Susan to go to reception and see if they had our room ready or get directions.  I was laughing as she walked away because I saw the sign for sanatorium, maybe this was a sign.

We finally asked a woman for help and she explained how to go in Polish and I left shaking my head, I didn’t understand a thing but Susan knew exactly where to go and we found our resort and spa.  This one was nothing like Hotel Bardo, but it would be fine for our 2-night stay.

Look at the size of that cutlet

Hungry, we went out for a bite and not far from the apartment we pulled into a nice looking restaurant and had dinner. Susan ordered a pork cutlet Milanese and we laughed so hard when it came out.(see photos) I have never seen one so big and never thought she could eat it all, but she did.(I helped a little) The food was great and we departed for the grocery store for milk for our morning coffee.

Back at the apt Susan worked on her e-mails and I tried to watch TV because I was too tired to do anything else. I went to bed at 9 and Susan some time later because that’s all I remember.

Day 16

I slept until 7:30, except for one major cramp and a trip to the little boy’s room. Coffee was ready at 7:52 and so was Susan. We planned our day and dressed warm, so we thought. We wanted to take a cable car up the mountain (I brought an extra xanax for Susan) but our first stop was the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Zakopane,  dedicated by St. John Paul II to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 7, 1997.  We arrived seven days late for the 20th Anniversary celebration.

Click here for background information about the Shrine.

This minor Basilica was another surprise as we pulled into the parking area full with tour buses.  It was much bigger than we expected and the grounds went into the woods with the Way of Calvary.  Mass was going on with another First Holy Communion group and this was the most organized one I had seen of the 20 others we attended.  You could actually see the children receiving from the priest as everyone stayed seated.  There was another one scheduled in 20 minutes so we went out to explore.

There are two foundation stones in the Basilica, one from St. Peters in Rome and one from Fatima.  Also under each foundation stone in the Basilica there is a Miraculous Medal of Our Lady which originated from Shrine of Our Lady in Rue du Bac, Paris

We found the chapel of the Miraculous Statue of Our Lady where 50 people had just left. We were alone and decided to pray Our Rosary and go to the 12 noon Mass.  It was so peaceful and spiritual praying in there together, especially for so many in need.  The statue of Our Lady was beautiful and neither of us took our eyes off Her.  When we finished the Rosary we decided to say our morning prayers and did so until some people came in so we left and finished later so we wouldn’t disturb them.

We got to Mass just before 12 and we sat in the front pew.  These were the largest pews we have seen here and I was almost comfortable and I could actually kneel. The priest thru a couple curves at us since he started with some prayers we couldn’t figure out and he used Eucharistic prayer number four instead of number one, which we have had the whole time we were here.  We managed as always and had our readings to follow the lector and gospel.

When mass ended we took a few photos and went to the back and placed a copy in the box of all the intentions we have received and carried with us to be offered up, thru the intercession of Saint John Paul II to Our Lady at Saturdays 7:00 PM Mass.

We left and headed for the shrine dedicated to St. John Paul (Ksiezowka) that our dear friend Fr. Tomasz (Little Tom) told us we must see.  It was closed and locked down tight. No problem, this was on the way to the cable car that we had planned to go up the mountain on. On the way I took a picture that reminded me of Susan eating last night. (Ouch, I just got wacked)  When we got there I realized I forgot to give Susan the Xanax, but she got out of the car anyway and we didn’t last long for it was still cold and this was a three shirts and jacket day so we decided not to go and take a chance of getting sick.

We passed this Italian Restaurant on the way and we were both starving so that’s where we headed.  It was very lovely and warm inside and the food was outstanding, grilled octopus and baked gnocchi’s with porcini mushrooms and spinach (I am getting hungry again). Needless to say, we ate it all.

Before going back to the apartment we went to the market and picked up a few things to pick on tonight  and to have for our long drive tomorrow to Lezjac. It took almost an hour there were so many people in line, it made Costco look good.

We took a wrong turn and ended up at another ski lift.  The sun had come out finally but when Susan saw their feet dangling off the chairs there was no way I was going to get her on it. We are in for the night Susan has been packing and I have been typing for two hours so I quit for now because there is nothing else to remember.

God Bless you all


Susan & Tom



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Tom & Sue in Poland Day 13 Piekary Slaskie: Our Lady of Social Justice and Love

Dzien Dobry:

Another morning in bed until almost 8, how good is that! Susan slept in one bed and I in the other so we would have plenty of room and not wake each other during the night. I just combed my sleeping hair and we went for coffee and breakfast in our jammies, nice and relaxed.

Our Shrine for today was about 1 mile away so we took our time showering and packing our 1 small bag, thru on the same clothes from the day before and left. Our next stop after the Shrine would be in the first floor of a house that looked extremely nice when I booked it.

Mary has a long title here in Piekary Slaskie, Our Lady of Social Justice and Love, and is one of the largest Sanctuaries in the Silesia provence. It is primarily known for organizing May Pilgrimages for men and August ones for women, and each of them numbers around 100,000 people.

Click here to see the story of Our Lady of Social Justice and Love

We again parked right in front of the Basilica, we have been very blessed with parking our whole trip and today it was greatly appreciated since my back was still a problem. Not a pain in my knee since I put water on it at Mary’s well so when we get to the house I will find that bottle of holy water and rub my back with it. I don’t want to run out of favors, but Our Mother is wonderful and generous.

As we approach the Basilica from the back (no stairs), there were 50 or so kids all dressed up for their first Holy Communion with their parents. We got to talk to a couple of them and even prayed with one little girl in the small shrine to Our Lady of Fatima that was right there.

We went into the Basilica because we heard music and a funeral was in progress so we stayed since it was almost over and paid our respect and prayed for the family and soul of whomever died.  

We had a little time after they left to explore and take photos of this basic but beautiful Basilica and the Miraculous Image of Our Lady. We knew mass would begin soon when hoards of people came in the Basilica taking all the seats and the kids had not come in yet. When they did some people moved and the rest sat on chairs around the altar. The church was packed. We again stood in the back.

This was the first place we had been to where they had an usher. Most places the clergy or a volunteer would take up the collection. It still took him until communion to finish. We Prayed for all of you during mass.

When mass ended, so did the weather…..it was sunny and warm when we arrived and now we needed our jackets and umbrellas. It became a 3 shirt day in a hurry, so we left after buying a small statue for home and a polish anniversary card for Sister Maria Liber as we will be attending her jubilee mass next Sunday outside of Krakow.

It was about an hour to our next apartment and it rained most of the way. We were a little early but the owner was outside and gave us a very warm welcome. He showed us the 2 bedroom apartment very nicely re-modeled and how to work everything. The radio in the shower was my favorite. It also had some other goodies in there which I will explore tomorrow. The house is great and the grounds beautiful and peaceful

Susan unpacked and I went to the market for supplies since we had 3 nights here. We are beat and can’t wait to sit back and relax. As a matter of fact tomorrow is Sunday and we decided to go to the local church and spend the rest of the day in this comfortable home.


We enjoyed a light non-meat pizza and snacks at the dining room table and tried to watch TV. But that didn’t last. 8:30 came and we went to bed. I hope groundhog day doesn’t rear it’s ugly head… That’s all I remember.

God bless all of you


Susan & Tom


Dear God, You are my source, my goal. I surrender all that transpires in my life to Your Loving Providence. Thank You for allowing Your Blessed Mother to take me by the hand into your Divine will. Remember me kindly when I stumble, for You are kindness. Place me, gently, into the caldron of incense that perfumes Your Divine Love. You, alone, are Holy. Blessed be God Forever.


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Tom & Sue Poland Day 12 Gor sw Anny: Saint Anne’s Mountain

Dzien Dobry:

Ground Hog Day “officially ended” this morning in this very, very tiny hotel room (with great black-out curtains).  We actually slept in until 8:00 A.M.  It was a great nights’ sleep, but both of us were still really sore and aching from yesterdays’ strenuous activities (who is complaining!).

We both got up around the same time and wanted to grab a cup of coffee.  Just outside and down the hall from our room was the dining room.  We grabbed a cup each and headed to the patio area … it was a beautiful, warm and quiet morning. We fueled up on a lot of coffee and had a very good breakfast … Polish Kielbasa included on the buffet, which Susan went for.

Returning to our room and packing up this very small hotel room was quite funny.  We kept bumping into each other to try to be sure we packed everything.  I finally decided that as soon as Susan had a bag packed, I immediately toted it off to the car to get it out of the room

Our only Sacred Shrine we had scheduled for today was Gora Swietej Anny – Saint Anne’s Mountain … a Shrine specifically dedicated to St. Anne, the Mother of Our Blessed Virgin Mary and the Grandmother of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  The Statue is considered “Miraculous”.  It is claimed to be from the 1600″s.

It took us about 1-1/2 hours to drive from our hotel to this Shrine and the drive, for me, was typical … go fast … go slow … go fast, etc.  When we arrived, there was a parking place right in front of the entrance to the Basilica so I took it.  There were about 50-60 stairs ascending up to the Basilica so I told Susan that we would walk around and we found a roadway that took us up without the stairs.  Starting to feel like I miscalculated my plans once again … I realized that I did.  As soon as we walked up to the top of the roadway … there was a large parking lot right there almost in front of the doorway into the Shrine.  Ugh!

We went into the Shrine as a Mass was ending.  We weren’t sure if there would be another one.  As soon as the Mass ended, the Basilica lights were immediately turned off.  The Congregation left and no one was around to even ask about the possibility of another Mass.  I took some photos, we Prayed and headed off to the Religious Gift Store.  The batteries on the camera had gone dead and when I went into my stash … I had 3 … instead of 4 batteries in the case.  So much for any more photos.  The Gift Store did not sell batteries but Susan and I selected a beautiful memento of St. Anne for our Curio at home.

The Miraculous statue of Saint Anne

View of the statue in Basilica of Saint Anne Poland
View of the statue

The sculpture shows three figures. In the middle in the standing position it is shown an elderly woman who holds in her arms two children. St. Anna, who on her left arm is holding her daughter – the Virgin Mary and on the right shoulder her grandson – the Lord Jesus.

Her hands are shown in a manner typical of the medieval conventions: to show the next degree of kinship. The figure of Mary is lower than the figure of Jesus. Sometimes it is often used to highlight the differences in the importance of the role of Jesus and His Mother.

Mary gives the Baby a golden apple – the symbol of procreation. Using expressions Biblical Mary is the “new Eve”, Christ – “new Adam”. As the apple was given by Eve to Adam in paradise, and the sin and death were born. The apple of the new Eve – Mary, is given to the new Adam – Jesus who brougth into the world grace and life.


This beautiful Shrine is on gorgeous large property.  There were Stations of the Cross (Kalwaria/Calvary) and Chapels one can walk and Pray at for miles.  Not today for the two of us … we did ourselves in on our last Calvary Walk and are still recuperating with aches and pains.

As we were getting ready to leave this Shrine and disappointed that we had not been able to attend Mass, I suggested to Susan that we return to the Basilica and at least Pray Our Rosary in front of the Miraculous Image.  No one was in the Basilica when we returned so we took a spot in the front pew and began our Rosary.  We were almost finished when a great amount of people began coming into the Church.  We continued on and quietly completed our Rosary.

We were about to leave, figuring that it was another Pilgrim Group who would be receiving a presentation.  Right about then, a young Priest began to walk by us and I asked him in “perfect English” when the next Mass was.  He answered “At The First Hour”!!!!!  HUH?  I realized that he meant at 1:00 P.M. which was about 5 minutes from then.

I didn’t want to try to sit in that front pew throughout Mass for fear my back wouldn’t make it.  So we moved to the rear of the Basilica and I chose a bench that we could sit on and I would be able to use the kneeler close by if my back cooperated with me.

Interior of the Basilica
Interior of the Basilica

It was a beautiful and reverent Mass, as usual and it was filled with the group of Pilgrims.  After Mass, there was not much left that we would be able to do so we got into the car and began our way to our next destination … Piekary Salaskie where both our hotel for the night and our next Sacred Shrine are located.

After a drive of about 1 1/2 hours through the normal and beautiful Poland roadsides, we arrived at our overnight hotel.  As we drove by the front of the hotel which looked very, very old, I realized there was no where to park.  I drove down the street, around the corner and finally made our way to the rear of the hotel.  I found a hotel parking space in the rear just as another vehicle was leaving … good luck, huh?

I had booked a “Deluxe Room” for tonight to give us more room to roam.  As I checked in, I found that our “Deluxe Room” was on the Second Floor … with NO ELEVATOR.  By the way … in these hotels, the Main Floor is “Ground Floor 0” … Then the First Floor followed by the Second, etc.  I silently begged my back to cooperate with me on our ascent.

Editor’s note:  for Europeans this is not a surprise, but for Americans and others, it might be:  the ground floor is 0 and then the next floor is 1.

We decided to take the very bare minimum up to the room.  No luggage/suitcases tonight.  We were going to rough it.  So we filled a large bag with grocery items we might need, our “jammies, toiletries, a bottle of vino (of course) and my computer bag … it still seemed to be a lot to carry up the flights of stairs but we got there.

The Deluxe Room was great … it had 2 separate rooms and 2 baths.  The rooms had recently been completely renovated and were very nice.  We had a full bedroom and a living room/den type of area with a sleeper sofa.  Everything was very comfortable … AND THEY EVEN HAD BLACK OUT SHADES.

There wasn’t much for us to organize.  Around 5:00 P.M., we went down to the hotel restaurant for a bite to eat.  I left Susan outside while I went in to place our order … the staff had to call on the hotel check-in guy to come to help me with ordering our dinner since everything was in Polish and no one spoke English.

I managed to order a fantastic Cabbage Soup, a Mix of Salads, Goulash for Susan and a very tasty Chicken/Broccoli Dish (I thought I had ordered Pork … oh well!).  The two of us shared everything, as usual, and it was all fantastic.  The restaurant did not carry a wine selection so we accompanied our Polish Dinner with a couple of very good and cold Polish Beers.

I went to pay our tab for dinner and I almost fell over … our entire dinner bill was $10.  Did I tell you how much we love Poland?

Back in our room, we did another update on the real estate closing we have been working on.  It was not supposed to close until a couple of days after our return, but “In God’s Time”, all went well for our client and our dear friend, Johna, now has her new home as of this writing — 2-1/2 weeks early with plenty of time for her renovations to be completed before her final move into her new home. Congratulations, Johna!

We spent a little more time while I completed the day’s Trip Report and Susan answered some emails, Facebook & WhatsApp Chats.  I tried to make a couple of MagicJack phone calls to some friends … it was 2:00 P.M. Florida time and no one was answering their phones … except Corinne and we woke her from a afternoon nap, since she was sick, but rallied and we laughed through most of the conversation.  We then watched a small bit of TV before we retired.

Susan ended up sleeping on the fold out sofa bed in the living room.  I slept in the “not quite a Queen” bed.  We both needed a good night sleep with all of the aches and pains so having two beds tonight was a special treat for us.

We retired around 8:30 P.M. with nothing left to do and nothing …


God Bless you all;


Susan & Tom



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Tom & Sue Day 11 in Poland: Bardo, Our Lady Guardian of the Faith and Mary’s Well

Dzien Dobry:

It turned into Ground Hog Day again but I’m starting to like that movie better and better because of what happened by getting up so early this morning.  Not only did the daylight coming into the room wake us up, but some annoying, light and constant thumping noise that seemed like it was directly in our room.

I went to the front desk after I had gone down to the Spa to see if someone was down there making the noise but found the door locked.  I dragged the front desk girl to our room so that she could hear the loud and irritating thumping.  She didn’t know what it was either.  It was 5:30 A.M. when the thumping and light woke us up.  I walked outside to listen because Susan thought that they might be doing some road work.  But I didn’t hear anything.  As I turned to come back into the room off of the patio deck, I noticed that all of the hotel rooms HAD THEIR SHUTTERS DOWN … I didn’t  say anything to Susan as I went back into the room.  But I found and hit our “shutter button” as our room darkened and the two of us cracked up with laughter.  Last night, we both felt with our “see-thru” drapes, we were in a fish bowl.  But, this morning and even without realizing we had shutters, the thumping would have awoken us.    Susan and I sat in the room and talked about a couple of things and she worked a bit on our real estate closing for Friday.

I said to Susan … “There is a 7AM Mass at the Basilica … there is no coffee here yet and the thumping continued” so we decided to go to Mass which was less than 5 minutes away.

At Mass, right before Communion, this man came and sat in the pew in front of us in panic.  He started talking to me very quickly in Polish and he was frantic.  I kept telling him that I did not understand … that I spoke English.  Susan and I got up to go to Communion and disregarded the man because we had no idea what he was saying.

After Communion and the Final Blessing, the Presider proceeded behind the Altar and the small Congregation of Pilgrims began to approach the Altar so we got up to follow them.  The “frantic man” carrying a bag of fresh bread, approached me again and it appeared he was trying to get me to follow him to the back of the Basilica … we had not even seen him go to Communion.   So we decided to “ignore” him and proceeded up to the Altar.

What a blessing as the priest brought the statue out for veneration
What a blessing as the priest brought the statue out for veneration

The Blessing of all Blessings … as we followed the pilgrims to the Altar Area, we saw as the Priest removed the Miraculous Statue of Our Lady from her place above the Altar and he brought it down into the Sanctuary so that we could all proceed … one by one … to venerate Her.

It was “amazing and wonderful”.

When the veneration was completed, Susan and I headed toward the Side Chapel in front of Our Lady with the Special Intention Book & Candles.  All of a sudden, the “Man with the Bread” sort of leaped out from behind one of the pillars and frantically tried to talk to us in Polish once again.  We had no clue.  He finally made a gesture as if he were driving a car.  Susan and I immediately thought something must have happened to our car so we followed him out of the Church.  When we turned the corner to where we were parked directly in front of the Basilica. There, sitting on top of the car, was my CAMERA CASE … I had our camera around my neck.  I laughed, turned around to thank him and shook the man’s hand as I went to retrieve the camera case from atop Jag.  In the meantime, Susan was standing on the Church steps with him and was trying to tell him we did not understand Polish.  She said “American”, “English”, and finally “Statov” (States).  The man shook his head, smacked himself with the palm of his hand on his forehead and he finally understood we were “Americans”.  This “man with the bread” was truly our “Angel of the Day” for he waited for us inside and outside the Church for over ½ hour to be certain that we did not lose our camera case that I had left on top of Jag.   What a great Samaratan! I hope his bread was still fresh.

After stopping our laughter, we returned to the Basilica and Susan wrote in the Special Intention Book, I lit a candle for all of you and we offered all of Your Special Intentions, as well as ours, to Our Lady!

Breakfast...and finally a cup of coffee
Breakfast…and finally a cup of coffee

After this chain of early morning events and without a drop of coffee beforehand, I quickly drove back to our hotel and we went immediately to the Dining Room for our first cup of coffee (and others to follow) and a delicious breakfast buffet.  We took a couple of cups of coffee back to our room and sat and relaxed on our patio for a while since it was a beautiful morning and we had planned a couple extra hours here.

As we were sitting there, the pilgrimage bus driver that was there last night was walking down to his bus and he was carrying a small bag over his shoulder and his overnight bag.  He was a “very large man” and it hit us, all of a sudden, that the bag over his shoulder was probably a sleep apnea machine that he must have placed on the floor of his hotel room last night (right above us) which had caused the constant and aggravating thumping that woke us up this morning.  We had to laugh because someone really wanted us up and awake to attend Mass this morning between no window drapes and the thumping noise which got us to early Mass … and we were very grateful for the “interventions”.

We spent a couple of leisurely hours in our hotel room just catching up on work, our closing, emails and, of course, my trip reports.  I went down to the concierge to pay our bill and the girl at the front desk was on the new shift but she knew about the early morning “thumping” and she apologized, telling me that it might have been noise from their pool.  She was concerned but I told her it was okay and that I explained that we figured out it had been one of the guest’s “breathing machines”.  How could anyone be upset after the incredible experiences we had this morning?

We returned to the Basilica on our way out of town, because we wanted to see their Museum of Historical Miracles, the Apparition and the very ancient votives of thanks (ex votos) to Our Blessed Mother for cures which, back then, were presented in paintings.  There was also an animated Scene of Bethlehem that we had learned about and wanted to see.  We stopped at the Museum Gift Shop and asked the woman if it was open (in our limited Polish, of course).  She motioned that she was the Guide to the Nativity Scene.  It was very expensive for the tickets … 25 cents per person!

The animated nativity scene
The animated nativity scene

She took us to the basement of the Kapilica (Chapel) and turned on this tremendously detailed animation featuring the Birth of Christ.  It took you through pre-historical times … to Adam and Eve … to the Birth of Christ … and to Present Day.  There were thousands of illustrations and moving figures and sounds … it was great and so well done.  What a fabulous idea!

Having accomplished all that we had planned to at the Basilica here (and more), it was time for us to drive across the river and over to the Mountain Walk with the Stations of the Cross where, half way up the mountain, Mary’s Well was to be found.  It is known as a Miraculous Water Spring of Our Blessed Mother.  With only two layers of clothes on today because it was so nice and with jackets in hand just in case the weather changed, we began our ascent.  We prayed our Rosary instead of the stations since we were not going all the way.  It was only half way up the mountain to the Well which was only around a  ½ mile so how hard could it be?

Three times we almost quit our ascent.  It was so rocky and steep at points.  My knee was giving out, my hip was hurting and Susan’s feet were starting to bark … as were mine (I really should have worn my sneakers again today). Feeling the rocks hard on my feet through my soft shoes truly helped me understand some of the suffering Jesus went thru for us.

The last time we were about to turn around  the “Second Angel of the Day” appeared … and Susan asked a man on a bike about the Well.  He was of German accent and he communicated that it was not too far up the mountain.

Susan suggested that we continue to go up a bit further and she said “they need walking sticks here”.  As I started to walk up again after her comment, there on the ground in the bush was a large stick … I kicked it and it looked pretty good but I couldn’t bend down to get it.  So Susan walked back down the path from where she was and picked it up for me to use … it was perfect!  Walking got so much easier but the pain was still there.

We proceeded once again up the mountain not knowing what the man on the bike meant by “not too far” and we saw, from a distance, the Cross of Jesus and the top of a small building.  I knew, then, that we were almost there.

We arrived at “Mary’s Well” and we were both in pretty bad pain.  When I entered the Shrine of the Well, I got water to put on my knee and even over my head to cover my entire body.  The water was cool and crisp.  We both drank from the Well, refreshed ourselves and filled the bottle with some Holy Water to bring home with us.

Before we departed, Susan went over to look at the map that was there and, on it, it showed two different colored pathways … the “Medium Difficult” and the “Very Difficult” … we realized we had just done the “Very Difficult”.  We had noticed on the way up, a fork in the road not too far from where we were at the Well.  We had heard several children running down that road on our climb and we had laughed that possibly there had been an easier way up.  The sign confirmed it and that’s the way we headed on the way down.

So much easier was this path but also so much longer, maybe a 1 ½ miles.  This was only the second time I sweated in Poland this trip, the second shirt wasn’t necessary.  We were going on 3 hours in the mountains.  Almost all the way down we met 2 Ursuline Sisters and had a wonderful conversation with them.  They walk to the Basilica to their monastery every day which is up the path we just came from. God Bless them.

When we got to the bottom we needed a beer so we went to the outdoor rest there that serves all the rafters that come here and there are many.  Getting up after we finished our beer was another story, the pain was intense for both of us, you name it hurt except for my knee which hasn’t hurt since, but we wouldn’t change it for anything.  Even though we act like kids at times, today made us realize our limitations.  This gets a little harder every year and we are not getting any younger.

Getting into the car was no picnic but we managed and headed out for our overnight hotel in Prudnick about an 1 ½ hours away.  It wasn’t bad except for the bumps in the road and we arrived around 4.  We had stopped for food so we didn’t have to go out and could just chill in our room.

The room was on the 1st floor but we still had to drag the luggage upstairs. It took 3 trips just to get the necessities.  The room was small because our room was bigger on the 2ndfloor but we were not going there. This was a nice facility but Susan had to crawl over the bed if I was at the desk.  We dined on a large sandwich we put together and it was delicious.  We finished what we needed to and popped some heavy duty pills for pain and went to bed.  There were black out curtains and it was almost 9:30 so we will see what happens tomorrow. That’s all I remember.

God bless all of you


Susan & Tom



Dear God, today, I offer to you all the suffering I experience, in union with the sufferings of Jesus.  May Your Light and goodness mollify the pain in my being, soothe the sorrow in my heart, and lift the darkness from my mind and weakness from my will.  Amen.



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Tom & Sue Day 10 in Poland: Basilica of Wambierzychkie & Calvary of Poland

Cure For Exhaustion (Burn-Out)

You cannot serve God and mammon.  Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not more important than they?


— Matthew 6:24-26


Dzien Dobry:

Ground hog day again, I’m starting to hate that movie.

We were up, showered, packed, had breakfast and were on the road at 7:30 off to our next shrine…… a little over 2 hours away and it’s in the mountains. Yeah!  Even though they are small, it’s a change from farm land and rolling valleys.

The drive was only 55 miles and 15 miles of that was on a super highway and Jag purred all that way at 140 KPH.  I understood why it would take over 2 hours to get there half way thru the drive.  There mountain roads leave something to be desired.  Actually going up and over and down a small peak of about 7 miles Susan didn’t speak, she only groaned, grunted and did several ooh’s and ahh’s. I did a few grunts myself as it took almost a half an hour and we only saw 4 cars the whole time.

We arrived at the Basilica of Wambierzychkie (say that fast 3 times) after several detours around road construction that seems to be everywhere in Poland.  We had a ½ hour to spare to make the Pilgrims mass at 11.  We explored a little before and were seated. There were only five of us in the when the priest arrived.  I felt sorry for him since there were so few of us in the main sanctuary and he answered the first few response himself not knowing if anyone would respond, so the 5 of us spoke louder, us in English, and he looked relieved.

After the mass, before the final blessing, he stopped and asked where we were from; we didn’t understand a word he said. He then managed some English and we said Stanow (states) and Florida and he responded Stanow! WOW! Welcome!

After the final blessing we then went to the main altar behind the one were Mass was offered and knelt and prayed before the Miraculous Statue of Our Lady.  It’s small and reminded us of the one in Saragozza, Spain where The Mother of God went to help St. James and to tell him to come back to Jerusalem to be martyred, that was in 42 A.D. and was Her first apparition.

There is the story of the Shrine here as well as a FEW pictures so I won’t bore you with all the things we saw and did except for the way of Kalwaria(Stations of the Cross) which was across the street and up the mountain. It was cold and the wind made it colder so both of us put on another layer of clothing (we had 4 shirts on and a jacket) and I put on my sneakers before going and that was trip.

We made our way across the street and Kidron River, as it is called, and found the entrance to the stations.  It was a little confusing and after the first station we got lost and started to climb some stairs and found the 6th station so we backtracked and found the other 4 we missed.  We stood at crest of the hill and prayed those stations.  After the 7th station we made another wrong turn and ended climbing up this steep path with lots of rugged stairs.  By time we got to the hill of Calvary we were exhausted, so we sat on a bench and prayed the rest of the stations we missed before attempting to make our way down.

We took the station path but going down was harder than going up.  Baby steps all the way and helping each other down steep drops.  At one point Susan cracked up and started laughing because we seemed so old and feeble and we felt it. When we finally got to town I had to get my sneakers off because my feet were pounding.   We rewarded ourselves with a cold beer and met a few people from Australia and Germany at the restaurant.  They were really nice and could speak English.

It was 2 and we decided to get going to our hotel about a ½ hour away.  We would spend the night here in Bardo Slaskie, Poland, the home to another Miraculous Statue of Our Mother.  Finding our hotel was no picnic since the roads in this very small town were torn up and the one to the hotel looked washed out and was all stones.  We turned around and ended going back up the same way because we asked someone and they said it was ok.  This is a nice hotel and spa and we look forward to some relaxing time in the pool, hot tub and steam room.  We will see.

It was early so we went down to the town and the basilica and looked for more information since there is another Calvary across the street up the mountain, which has the spring of Mary, known for its healing power and footprints of Our Lady imbedded in a rock.  We will see how we feel in the AM.

The statue here in Bardo
The statue here in Bardo

We went into the Basilica to pray our rosary and did some exploring and prayed before Her Miraculous Statue, another small figure of Mother and Child.


The mass began with a procession with Our Lady and the Ave Maria.  We left when mass began.


When we got back to the hotel, there was no electricity and we found out it was out all over the mountain.  The lights came on at 8 and we went to dinner at the hotel.  Another non-meat day (Wed) so we ordered soup and potato & cheese pierogies and a salad.  I liked the soup–Susan didn’t–but the rest was good.

Back in the room we caught up on the things we needed to since there was no internet with the electric off and watched TV for a few minutes.  Tomorrow we planned to sleep in, but there were no blackout shades and the parking lot light was shining in……I thought, how stupid in a luxury hotel.

That’s all I remember.

God bless all of you


Susan & Tom



Cure For Exhaustion (Burn-Out)


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Tom & Sue Day 9 in Poland: Swieta Gora (Holy Mountain) & Legnica (Eucharistic Miracle)

Dzien Dobry:

Well it was ground hog day again.  Bed around 8:30, woke up at 4:30 with the light of day, covers over head and slept until 6, Susan a little later.  I think she waits for the smell of coffee.

We were packed and on the road by 8 AM.  We had 2 stops today and weren’t sure what to expect. Our first was in Gostyn, about 1 ½ hours away to Swieta Gora or the Sanctuary of the Holy Virgin also known as the ” The Holy Mountain” ( and also known as “The Rosa Mystica of Poland”) where there is a Miraculous Image of Our Lady known for many reported miracles.  The local Bishop, in 1512, wrote that he found that he found the following in this location:  the dead were brought back to life, the sick and the crippled regained their health and strength and many other miracles occurred which would be hard to count …”

He issued a decree that allowed for the building of the Church and for the spread of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Click here to read the story of Swieta Gora.

The central element of the Sanctuary is the Image of the Virgin Mary with Child, a rose in her hand.  The Mother and Child are sitting in a place resembling a balcony with a view towards two different landscapes … the colors are of the rising sun.

Pope John XXIII recognized Swieta Gora to be the second most important site for the Marian devotion in Poland, preceded only by Czestochowa.  Pope Paul VI granted the Sanctuary the status of “Basilica Minor”.

When we arrived there were 5 buses and we at first thought they were tour buses, but they were from different parishes in the region and full of children receiving their First Holy Communion.  There had to be at least 100.  The parents of most were with them and a much younger group of children, who I assume were studying for theirs.

We were very happy since we didn’t know where we would go to mass today; our only hope had been to go to Mass in the town where our hotel was, and if they had a church with a 5 or 6 PM mass.  Our Mother never fails us.

They were organizing the children outside so Susan and I went into the Basilica to say a prayer before Our Lady’s Miraculous Image and to explore some.  The Basilica is under renovations but the pictures I took show a depiction of what is to be.

In a few moments the children came in and we stood in the back to let the parents get a good seat before sitting down.  We ended up behind a pillar.  We couldn’t see anything but we could hear the children answering the Priest questions during the looooong homily. As communion started we went to the back to see the children, but over here no one waits, and everyone was in line to receive. After the mass ended we left, since the priest had everyone sit and began to talk.

We were going to wait until all had left and would go back to pray. We were hungry so we went to the car and had a picnic on the hood of the trunk.  A hardboiled egg and tomato and some left over dumplings with ham and sauerkraut.  Not exactly the breakfast of champions but when you are in the sticks and hungry everything taste good.

We finished this mighty good breakfast and went back to the Sanctuary as everyone was leaving and we ended up alone in front of Our Mother praying the Rosary.  One of the priests came out to put back the benches he moved earlier and when we finished praying and got up he came over to say hello.(Not in English).  He did understand that we were from the States and Florida and asked in universal language if we were alone.  He was amazed since they don’t see many Americans, not only here, but in many of the shrines we have been to this week.

Editors note: Poland is one of the most Catholic countries in Europe, especially since so many other countries have seem to abandon the faith.  Perhaps this is due to the persecution the Church endured under Communism that made it stronger here than in many other European countries.  In fact, the son of Poland’s Prime Minister is a Catholic priest.  We encourage Americans…or anyone else….to visit these great shrines.


Tomb of the Blessed….not sure who

He took us past the cordoned off area behind the barrier to show us a part of the new façade and it was stunning.  It will take one more year to finish. We thanked him in Polish and bid farewell as we went down to the crypt below.  It was full of dead people, lots of them.  Of the many beatified Blessed, there was one separate crypt with a more well known saint-to-be. Sorry the picture with his name didn’t come out.

Editor’s note:  We believe this to be Fr. Lawrence Kuśniaka (1788-1866), but would love to hear from someone if that is…or is not…. correct.


We headed for our hotel in Legnica and there in the city is the church of Saint Hyacinth which holds the most recent Eucharistic Miracle in the world, I think.  We decided to go there first since it was close to 3 Pm and the Divine Mercy Hour.  We parked right in front of the Church and went in, not knowing what to expect.  The church is lovely, but pales in comparison to the Shrine of the Miracle (Click here to read the story of the Eucharistic Miracle).

We knelt before Our Lord and there was no question in our minds that this was real. We have seen the Miracle in Lanciano, Italy and Santarem, Portugal and always have the same thought: “It is You“.  The Lord continues to give signs to the world and so many ignore Him…….how sad. (You must look at the photos).

We were again overwhelmed to be here alone just the 3 of us, Susan and I and Jesus.  We knelt on the closest kneelers and began The Divine Mercy chaplet and the church bells rang just after we started.  After we finished we placed another copy of our intentions in the box close to our Lord and prayed that they would all be answered.

We went into the adoration chapel for a few moments to pray as some woman showed us the room.  She was kind and knew we were not from Poland.  We prayed for awhile and bought some things at the book store as we left.

Our next stop was the hotel about a mile away and we checked in.  We had a great view of the Town and Cathedral from our oversized balcony (it was bigger than the room).  We worked a little and then ventured out for dinner.  We had to pass the Cathedral so we decided to go in.  The offertory was going on and we went into a pew and prayed until mass was over. We had time to light candles for all the intentions we carry and actually lit 3, one for each Shrine, since they didn’t have candles to light, and one for a special intention we just received from a special friend.  I took one close up photo of the main altar and the lights went out.  They move quick here.

It was raining lightly and we had our umbrellas but we were tired so we went back to the hotel and ate in their restaurant and it was very good.  Polish potato pancakes, one with goulash and I had pork tender with mine in a mushroom sauce.  We ate it all and went to the room to take care of some real estate at home.  That’s all I remember.

God Bless you all


Susan & Tom


Here I am, Spiritual Mother and queen of Angels.  I place my hand in yours now.  Please present me to Jesus as His Loving Disciple forever.

Here I am, Lord.  I come to do Your Holy Will.  You, alone, are the Lord.  You, alone, are the Most High.  I am all Yours.  Please accept my heart, Lord, offered to You in the pure hands of Your Blessed Mother, Queen of my Heart.  Lord, Jesus, I believe You, I Trust In You, I adore You and I Love You Forever.  Keep me always as Your own.

Thank you, Queen of Angels, for bringing me to Jesus in this most treasured familial intimacy.  Thank you, Jesus, my Brother, for Your Mother and Mine.


Home » Personal pilgrimages with Tom & Sue » Page 2

Tom & Sue Day 8 in Poland: Poznan

Dzien Dobry:

8:30 PM to bed, and it was lights out until the sun started to come up at 4:30. Pulled the covers over my head and we slept to 6:30. We had coffee but forgot to get milk so the instant wasn’t so good but it worked and we were out the door by 7:30.

It looked beautiful as there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and seemed warm until we went outside……and returned to the room to get our jackets. (Mine gets retired this year, after 10 years of unfailing service, any one need a jacket? Jim)

Today was going to be different, since we had mapped out the old city and the historic and Miraculous Shrines, Churches and Basilicas we were walking to. Our last stop became our first stop, the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul (on an island) and the Sanctuary of the Miraculous Cross of Christ, since we were in time for mass.

Mass in one of the side chapels
Mass in one of the side chapels

Mass was in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, the only chapel with a tabernacle. After the mass, with no homily and what we call a drive-thru mass, we sat in the main area of the Basilica and prayed our morning prayers as we waited for the opportunity to go in the basement and reverence the Miraculous Cross.



We could not get past the iron gate, but at least we could look
We could not get past the iron gate, but at least we could look

The basement was an historic trip for this 900+ year old Cathedral. It was interesting but we hungered to reverence Jesus and His Cross. That didn’t happen since an Iron Gate kept us out of this sacred room, which was also a burial place for many of Poland’s great spiritual leaders. We could see it but couldn’t touch it but we did pray before it for all of you.


On to the next stop……..we got a little confused with our direction and Susan asked this gentleman on the street if he knew this place. We had everything typed out in Polish so we figured this was a slam dunk. Wrong, as he took Susan’s hand and arm he began to lead her to the corner and point in the direction we should go. Then the fumes of alcohol whiffed thru the air and we weren’t sure if he was coherent enough to guide us. There was a Church right there and Susan said we are going there and he said no and pointed in the direction he wanted us to go. So we shook hands, thanked him and departed and went in that direction and found the next stop. He could have been an Angel for all we know………..for after 10 years of doing this, nothing surprises us.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus known for miraculous healings was right where he told us to go. Hmmmm! The Sanctuary is under renovation and the chapel with the Miraculous image of Our Lady had the usual Iron Gate so we couldn’t get in. Paintings of St. Dominic and St. Catherine were prevalent on the side altars and the frescoes on the wall were being redone. Disappointed we didn’t get to Our Lady, we headed for our next stop, but hunger took over and we stopped in the Old Town Market Square for a bite to eat. The waiter spoke perfect English and not only served us a great breakfast but guided us to the next 2 stops on the list.

The first was the Sanctuary of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus and is the place of Poland’s oldest Eucharist Miracle and there is a Sacred Well in the basement where the story tells that someone tried to drown 3 Sacred Host but they survived. The well is known for its Miraculous powers and especially for the healing of eye ailments. We know  of a you few who need help and are praying for you. Unfortunately we couldn’t get down to the well and we went back an hour later with the same results but have no fear we will try again tonight at 6 on our way to dinner.

Editors note:  Tom and Sue will be visiting many shrines between now and the end of their pilgrimage on June 22, so feel free to send them your prayer petitions and they will place at the various stops along the way.  email tsmelillo13@aol.com

We then found the Minor Basilica of Saint Stanislaus of Poland, the most famous Old Saint in Poland…..they now have St. John Paul II, but there is plenty of room and pride here for both. This is an old and beautiful Baroque style Basilica, so see the photos. There were many tourists here and it was noisy so we went to the Adoration Chapel and spent some quite time with Our Lord and after taking a few more pictures we left. This concluded our tour for now and just in time since the leg cramps we in full bloom.

On the way back to our Apt. we stopped again at the Sanctuary of the most Precious Blood hoping to get in but that didn’t happen so we continued on, and as we passed the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, something compelled us to go in again (If you are all confused don’t worry so were we). We went right to the Iron Gate and it was still there but some people came down from the stairwell on the other side and a priest with a key in hand. Were we going to get lucky, no, not till later, as he told us to come back at 3 or 6. We both said let’s pray our rosary here and we did right in front of a statue of Our Lady and the Iron Gates.

How we made it back to the apt. we don’t know how after walking for at least 6 hours. We went up to the apt to get on our shorts to relax and then to the parking garage to get our pain pills from the just in case bag. (Don’t leave home without it!!!!) We planned to have a drink and nap but here I am typing and Susan is running the business and answering e-mails (are we crazy?).

We went out for dinner and stopped on the way as we passed Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and the gate was open but mass had just started and we decided not to wait. I took a couple pic’s and we headed for the Market Square. We knew there was a mass at the Sanctuary of the Most Precious Blood and it was right near the square so we went in and prayed until mass was over. Susan went into the Sacristy to ask if we could go down to the well and the priest said no.

So we left and ended up back at the restaurant we ate at last night. We had returned the blankets and we craved some good food. We tried so different polishes and ordered 3 entrees. We were really hungry and nuts , we had trouble finishing 2 so we took a doggie bag, you never know when you will need something to eat!!

After dinner it was back to the apt. and I don’t know how we made it we were so tired. we stayed up to around 8:30 and that’s all I remember.

God Bless you


Susan & Tom


Spiritual Mother, today I seek the kindness of your hand in mine. Today, I desire the quiet firmness of your Faith, of your Trust in Resurrection that makes new creation. Comfort me in my doubts. Console me with awareness of the presence of Your Divine Child, who is the Word made Flesh, the Light of the World, the Object of my Desires, the Lord of My Life. Spiritual Mother, Bless His Holy Name for me forever. Jesus, please shine the light of Your Love into every inconvenience I ever encounter. Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary, You are the Source of Peace, Jesus. You are my peace.

Poznań – Sanctuary of the Holy Cross in the Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Poznań for a few centuries was a place of veneration of the Holy Cross. Ac­cording to the visitation decrees by Bishop Wojciech Tolibowski dating from 1600 it was a wooden late-Gothic cross which from 1522 had been located on the Wrocławska city gate in Poznań. It was greatly revered by the population bestowed with numerous graces. Because it was exposed to insults, Bishop Florian Czartoryski had it removed to the cathedral – that took place on 7 May 1652. A legend says that on an occasion when a prisoner was led through the Wrocławska Gate, Jesus said from the crucifix: “Let him go, he is innocent”.
The cross was placed in the chapel of the Górka family (currently: Chapel of the Holy Cross), in an altar built of black artifi­cial marble. On its sides we can see figures of the Holy Mother and St. John.
Bishop Czartoryski recognized the crucifix for its miraculous powers. The present crucifix was made of gold-plated sil­ver, but the wooden figure of Christ is un­changed

Poznań – Sanctuary of the Most
Precious Blood of Jesus
The Church of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus is merged within the row of tenement houses at Żydowska Street. In fact it does resemble a regular tenement building. Its history goes back to the 1500s – when in­formation on an act of sacrilege, which had happened in the house of the Świda–Szamo­tulski family at Żydowska Street, spread around town.
The church has two floors. Dur­ing repair work, in its vaults a well was dis­covered – it was believed that communion bread had been drowned in it. To this day the water drawn from the well is considered to have miraculous powers. The upper part of the church represents the Régence style. Particularly noteworthy is the main altar­piece with representations of all persons of the Holy Trinity.

Poznań – Sanctuary of Our Lady of

The altarpiece was made of ebony, which highlights the image of the Holy Mother in a silver frame, placed in the altar niche. The image was painted with tempera on lime wood board. The figure of Madonna clad in blue robes is placed against a green background. The Child wearing a red dress is holding a book in his left hand; his right hand is raised in the gesture of blessing. Both faces glow with goodness. The painting is a copy of the image of Virgin Mary from Borek Wielkopolski. Painted in the 1600s, it has distinguishing features of artistic work­shops in Poznań.
According to a notice made by a monk who in his signature used the name Peccator, Friar Tomasz Dybowski, a Fran­ciscan, purchased the image in accordance with the will of his superiors, in 1666 from a burgher from Śródka. It was him who noticed tears on the painting, and soon af­terwards the news spread around the town that some people praying in the Franciscan church were miraculously healed.

May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!

Tom & Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)

E-Mail: TSMelillo13@aol.com