Well the night went as I expected, a full night of prayers as you doze in and out with one eye on the alarm clock. On nights like these, sleep always comes when it’s time to get up and it didn’t disappoint, but today I rallied and got up before the alarm went off. I didn’t realize that it is almost light out at 4:30. UGH it reminds me of Alaska.
I finished and sent out a trip report and Susan crawled out of bed at five. We had our instant café with hot milk and it somewhat helped. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky but is had to be in the low 40’s, nothing a few layers of clothes couldn’t cure. Just another beautiful day.
It was a perfect day and easy travel with virtually no one on the road and Jag got to run. We made it to the Shrine in 40 minutes and there were only a few cars in the lot. Mass was beautiful and we spent a lot of time praying for all your intentions to Our Lady’s Icon especially during the LOOOOONG homily.
The story of Our Lady of Lichen dates from 1813, when Tomasz Kłossowski, a Polish soldier fighting under Napoleon near Leipzig, was seriously wounded. He invoked the Virgin Mary, begging her not to let him die in a foreign land. According to tradition, she appeared to him wearing a golden crown, a dark red gown, with a golden mantle, and holding a white eagle in her right hand. She comforted the soldier and promised he would recover and return to Poland. Tomasz was instructed to have an image of her made, and to place the image in a public place so that “My people will pray before this image and shall draw many graces at My hands in the hardest times of trial.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń:
The Basilica is the largest church in Poland and one of the largest churches in the world. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, and is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Poland. Pope John Paul II visited here in 1999.
After mass we lit another candle for all of you and went to get coffee.
I was dragging and Susan wasn’t much better, but she did manage a little more sleep than me. Our plan was to go to the Basilica and see Jesus. We knew He would be there with us again and He was. During our Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Susan became so overwhelmed she could hardly breathe and she coughed and coughed from nerves but told me she was alright, so I continued the chaplet doing both the prayer and response for a couple minutes. When we finished we were alone again as a priest had come in and knelt at the altar for a few seconds and went to the back or left. We think he wanted to give us privacy as he saw us in deep prayer.
It was only 9 AM and we were again emotionally drained and as a couple groups came around we left, knowing that the Holy Spirit was still with us. We prayed the Rosary as we made our way back to the old shrine and we walked the other side of the grounds and explored all the small chapels and monuments that were everywhere.
We began our climb at Golgotha and prayed the Way of the Cross by St. Louis de Montfort. It is a beautiful depiction of the Passion and death of Our Lord that has mostly Mary talking as She felt as She followed the steps of Her Son, Jesus. At half the stations we both cried at the sadness Our Sweet Mother went thru and the horrible death that Jesus suffered for us. Today we understood and felt it more than ever.
It was now almost noon and we were beat so we decided to leave but as we were going to go right outside the shrine Susan said let’s walk to the water. My legs were burning but I went anyway and we came across three more small shrines to Our Lady and my only comment was that this place doesn’t stop. Someone guided us there since there was a spring of healing water and many people were there filling bottles. Fortunately we had and empty, whatever made us keep it I don’t know since we passed 100 garbage cans.
With water in hand we went down to the lake and spent a little time reflecting upon our 2 days here. We spent a total of 10 hours mostly praying between yesterday and today. What a place to take a retreat. The first Saturday of the month will never be the same.
Hungry we made our way back to Slupca were we were staying and went to get a non-meat pizza just down the street from the apt. (Scapular Saturday). Four young men were there enjoying their day off and we were happy that they were there as they helped us figure out a word on the menu. Susan even texted Father Tomasz for the translation. The Pizza was great and we paid the bill, said good-bye to the boys and got in the Jag. Father Tomasz just texted back the word garlic and we laughed, lunch was over. Susan had to program the GPS for our next stop and the boys came to get in the van next to us. One of them flipped out over Jag and asked if he could get a picture sitting in Jag. There were lots of laughs and he turned on some music as loud as he could. I think he had one too many shots but they were polite and fun and we climbed in the Jag and drove off, music blaring for about 50 feet.
The next shrine we went to was five minutes away and it was closed with Iron Gate after you walked in the foyer. I took a couple picture and we decided to come back tomorrow before we left town for a few minutes. Exhausted we made a quick stop to pick up a couple pillows for the rest of the trip. Maybe we didn’t sleep well because the pillows were too thin. I don’t think it will matter tonight but I’m not taking the chance.
I typed and Susan organized and packed. The large suitcase stays in the car until next week. That’s all I can remember.
God Bless all of you
Susan & Tom