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Tom & Sue Pilgrimage Day 3 in Poland: Our Lady of Gietrzwald

Jane Dobry;

We had a glorious sleep and didn’t get up until after 8.  We wore our PJ’s today to breakfast, this place felt like home, and enjoyed eggs, fresh veggie salads, meats and cheeses and array of other things we weren’t sure what they were. We finished with coffee on the patio and then we showered, packed and said go-bye.  We could have spent a couple days here it was so nice. Tonight we have a very different type of house to stay at……Susan will be surprised!!

Germany owned this part of Poland for 100 years until 1945, so there is a strong German influence and presence.  A lot of the people we met where here come searching their roots out.  The owner of the hotel and all the other guest were German.  That’s probably why I didn’t recognize some of the food on the table in those little jars.

Today we were going to Our Lady of Gietrzwald about 1 ½ hours away.  Traveling was pretty much the same as yesterday, good roads but plenty of small towns and the speed limit goes from 90 to 70 to 40 in 30 feet.  As much as I love the GPS, I had to shut off the voice speed warning.  If I was 5 km over the limit I would get yelled at and she never shut up, plus I was always over the limit……Jag wanted to run.

We parked right on the grounds at the shrine…….so close to everything we thought.  We went to the Sanctuary first.  Where the main apparitions happened is right in front of the Sanctuary.  We couldn’t go there first since the was a first Holy Communion group down there getting some last minute lessons.  In the Sanctuary the place was full mostly with old style nuns dressed in black habits that I remember as a kid.  I shuddered, since the arthritis in my knuckles came from them from all the ruler whacks I got. They were in the middle of the Rosary so we quietly snuck out. I didn’t want to take the chance.

The gift shop was right there so we went shopping for a memory for our curio cabinet.  I think we are going to have to get another after this trip. A few Zolty later we went back to the church and sat way in the back. They were still there!  During the mass though I must say they sang beautifully  and after the Liturgy was over the sisters stayed in their seats praying. Time for coffee we will get pictures after.

We had café across from the pilgrim hotel and then went in to use the toaleta and as we left I opened the door to go out and they were there all 100 of them. I stood back and held the door for them.  I gave my best smile, as I started to sweat.  A few gave me a scornful look but most of them smiled and calmed my nerves. Finally they all got in and I needed air.  We saw a sign that we thought would take us to the miraculous healing spring that Our Lady created some in 1877 for sick people.

We walked down and around this beautiful Rosary path so we prayed our Rosary on the way stopping at each depiction. The spring was way down at the end and it was very peaceful as we went.  The last Glorious Mystery was at the end, and 200 ft from the spring, but there were sisters there and as I looked around more were coming, probably 100.  When we got to the spring, three Sisters were filling a dozen bottles, the others were coming fast and I wanted to get in and out.  Susan got to go down as the 3 left and I took a pic, my turn now but it was too late.  Three more got to the well and I froze and then motioned them to go saying please in my best Polish.  I held on to my only bottle hoping they could fill there 9 bottles before a line began. It didn’t happen and the lined formed but they insisted I go first. I filled my bottle and thanked them and Susan and I departed back up the path and as we passed the sisters still coming we would smile and say hello.  Most of them did the same. A little braver now I took a pic of this smiling sister on her cell phone.  When she saw me do it she looked guilty like I shouldn’t be doing this here.  I smiled and held out my hand and whacked it a few times and she burst out laughing.  No more fear, even though she was one of them.

There is a beautiful Way of the Cross here that we wanted to do, but the weather was iffy, cold and always threatening rain and doing so every so often.  So we went back to the church for some photos and to light a candle and spend some time enjoying the frescoes, painting and statues.  It is really a very beautiful church.  Before we left we went to the site of the apparition but only could stay for a few minutes as a group from the high school were there and the priest came to talk to them.  So we left.

We had spent 4 hours here and it was time to go.  We  couldn’t check-in to our Pensjonat (bed minus breakfast) for an hour so we went to the supermarket for food and supplies.  We got baked chicken, some salad, cheese, pate, fresh turkey breast and good bread.  We were getting hungry.  This 2 meals a day routine isn’t bad but don’t go past 10 hours.

We made our way to our lodgings and as we turned in the road Susan let out a little gasp. Quietly She took some photos as we made our way thru this not-so-lovely drive way.  When we pulled up to the house  she goes “this is quaint“.  It had to be a 200 year farm house but was very charming.  If you are hoity- toyti, this place isn’t for you.  It was an experience……..and the room was almost perfect for sleeping, plus we had the downstairs lounge, kitchen and dining room to use. We opened a bottle of wine and sat on the patio out in the middle of nowhere, totally quiet except for the horse in the paddock.  We then had dinner and as Susan cleaned up I began to write.

Finished by 10 we went up to bed.  Unfortunately Susan had to take the sleeper sofa and I was in the small double in the next room. I fell to sleep with the sound of the wind howling thru the trees and the house creaking.

Good Night

God Bless all of you


Susan & Tom




Spiritual Mother, I gladly give you my family, especially my body.  Teach me to guard my body, this temple in which I must dwell while I trod the paths of this Earth.  Spiritual Mother, Mother of Divine Wisdom, explain to me the mysteries of the Earth. How shall I work today?  How shall I dine today?  How shall I exercise today?  How shall I preserve relationships I treasure?  How shall I accomplish the drams and longings that fill my mind and body?  Impart your wisdom to me.  Thank you for taking care of me.  I have not yet developed eyes and ears that know Truth.  If, today, you hear His voice calling to me, please ask God to call and call until I hear and respond, “Speak Lord.  Your servant listens.”



The Memorial of Our Lady of Gietrzwald is celebrated on September 8.


Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Gietrzwald
by Andrzej Samulowski

It was just the sunset,
When the wonderful brilliant star
Arose in the Warmian land
To shed light with its rays.
This news almost by a miracle
Was spread among the people,
Far and near, they would say:
In Warmia, there are new miracles.

Traditional Prayer

Mother of Our Lord, healer of human souls and bodies, Lady of Giettrzwald, you who blessed this place with your presence, please turn your loving eyes toward me and ask your son Jesus Christ for the favors I am in need of [mention request]. Compassionate and merciful Virgin Mother, I am forever yours


May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!

Tom & Susan Melillo

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