We slept from 8:30 last night to 7 AM and I didn’t hear a sound or move a muscle. Susan was awakened at 5 AM from the church bells that played a long melody but she managed to go back to sleep. We had breakfast downstairs in our jammies, and after we showered, we finished packing and loaded the car. We met a young polish man that could speak English and we had a 20 minute conversation with him, we were starved from lack of speaking English for so long with anyone here. A few words is all we could muster out of people being in rather remote areas.
We had the whole day ahead of us and only a short stop planned right near our 2 night apartment stay so we decided to go to our next day Shrine instead. It is only 45 kilometers from our hotel.
The Miraculous shrine was Our Lady of Lichen Stary and we knew it was famous, but never expected what we saw. It was massive and magnificent and the most incredible spiritual experience either of us have ever had……. I’ll get to that in a minute.
We entered thru the main entrance and the church of St. Dorothy is at the top of the stairs. Even though it is small, it houses the Sacred and Miraculous Madonna Icon, whose intercession is credited with many healings.
Click here for the story of Our Lady of Lichen
We spent some time there praying and then needed to find what church had the 12 noon mass. The grounds were massive and we checked the large map in the garden. The sign said the Basilica so we headed that way and realized that the enormous building we saw coming in was it. Susan thought it might have been a Mosque! LOL
You have to see the photos (and there are many) because I couldn’t explain it all and do it justice. The walk took 20 minutes so that’s about a mile for the old shrine grounds. As the structure comes in to view you realize how massive and beautifully done it is. It was designed after the Vatican and is the 7th Largest Basilica in Europe. When we finally entered the main Basilica words cannot describe it. It seats 20,000 people (and every detail is absolutely incredible). This was a far cry from our first shrine in Poland, where Fr. Mirek told us he had 600 parishioners.
We took a couple of photos as we took our seat as Mass was about to begin. We got kicked out of the pew because some school kids came, so we moved to another pew to allow them to sit together. The teacher was happy with us.
Three Priests con-celebrated the Mass which was also a First Holy Communion Mass for about 80 children. Going to Communion took a while to get up to the Altar and we were only about ¼ of the way back from the front of the Altar. There were Ushers who did the Collection and they had a Surplice on over their clothes. They began the collection at the Offertory and they finished right before Communion began … I’ll bet their feet hurt at night.
After Mass, the three Priests knelt in reverence before the Tabernacle. Above the Tabernacle in a large picture frame there was what appeared to be a Relic on a bright red cloth that filled the frame. As the Priests knelt they were praying and as the music played a picture of one of the Miracles of Our Lady began to slowly ascend and cover the large area of the Relic … it was absolutely breathtaking.
The music from the Organ, which has organ pipes throughout the Basilica, was beautiful. Tom Wilcoxson, our Music Director at our Cathedral would love to have this masterpiece as his own. The only problem with that is that there would be no seats/pews left in the Cathedral after the massive Organ and accompanying piping was installed.
When the Liturgy was over, Susan and I explored every nook, Side Altar and even got to walk behind the Altar along with others.
There are two main Side Chapels in the Basilica on both sides of the structure. The first one we entered was the Chapel of Saint Faustina and Divine Mercy. What we saw and experienced inside this Chapel has forever changed our lives. The depiction of Jesus Christ above the Altar was like none we have ever seen. We walked up to the front pew and sat so as to get as close as we could and we both just sat there in complete silence and stared at it.
When the few others in the Chapel departed, Susan and I decided to Pray our Divine Mercy Chaplet for the day even though it was long before 3:00 P.M. There were only three of us in this Chapel … Susan … myself … and Jesus … for His presence was so very prevalent that we cannot put it into words. We both felt Him right there with us during our Prayers …and neither knew what the other was experiencing until after as tears of happiness and gratitude to Our Lord fell from both of our eyes during the entire time we were Praying our Chaplet. We were absolutely mesmerized by Him … by His eyes … but mostly by his Love and Wisdom which filled our hearts and minds as we prayed. We got closer to Him as never before.
When we finally pulled ourselves away after others began to enter the Chapel, it was very difficult for us to leave. We went to the other side to visit the other Chapel dedicated to our Lady of Lichen which is another beautiful tribute to Our Mother and we left the Chapel and Basilica to walk the grounds and all the two of us could talk about for a long time was the experiences we had just had in the Chapel of Divine Mercy. Again the Mother gave us her Son in a special way, something She had also done for me in another way at San Sebastian de Garabandal the first time we went there.
This had been such a magnificent day for us and we decided that we had to return to this Shrine again tomorrow since there was much more to see and another chance to Pray with Jesus and Our Blessed Mother once again at this Sacred Site. We decided that there was no better place to be on the First Saturday of the Month than at the Basilica of Lichen-Stary.
Our check-in time at our apartment in Slupca, Poland was around 3:00 P.M. We called and, somehow, communicated with the owner that we were running late, which was not a problem for her. We arrived around 3:30 P.M. after an 1 ½ hour drive from Lichen-Stary. I think both of us were still “walking on air” from our experiences of the day and we had no problem completely unloading the Jag of all of our luggage to try to re-organize ourselves for the next 5-6 days of our journey.
I went to the supermarket while Susan unpacked. We needed some food, wine and daily staples. We had decided to stay in at the apartment for the evening, have a light dinner and to just try to relax and get some personal work done.
If you follow Susan on Facebook at all, you will have seen the video Susan posted of our experience with the small wash machine jumping around the bathroom in our apartment and me trying to hold it down so that it wouldn’t break and our clothes would get somewhat dry before hanging them outside. The two of us shared incredible stomach cramps from laughing so hard … and this was followed by my experience of trying to iron on an ironing board fit for dwarf.
We ate dinner around 10 (late for us) and by 11 we went to bed since we had to get up at 4:30 to return to Lichen. We planned to attend the 7 AM mass in St. Dorothy’s church with the Miraculous Madonna. I set the alarm and hoped for the best because we were so over tired and elated we didn’t even know if we would sleep. I’ll let you know tomorrow. Good night!
God Bless you all
Susan & Tom
O Blessed Faith, fill my mind and heart and will. O Blessed Hope, allow me to hope against all hope. O Blessed Love, Holy is Your Name. Jesus is Love. Jesus is God. Blessed be the Name of Jesus, King and Forever Lord of my Heart. Blessed be Jesus, the Way and the Truth and the Life. Blessed be the Paths of God Forever. Amen.