To visit us, they crossed half the world, travelling more than 13,000 km in a straight line…
From January 22 to 24, we hosted at the monastery a group of seminarians from the seminary in Perth, Australia, who were making a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Pope John Paul II. They came together with the Seminary Rector, his secretary Janice – she is our friend, who has been visiting us several years and selflessly helping during the summer months – and two of Janice’s friends. Whenever Janice is in Perth, she always tries to promote our Order. Some two-three years ago, she met with the seminarians and the rector of the diocesan seminary and talked to tham about the person of St. Joan of France and the Annunciade Sisters. From that moment, a prayerful link has been established between us, and the pilgrimage was an occasion for our meeting.
Janice organized the seminarians’ 10-day trip with the Pilgrimage Office at the Association of Marian Helpers.
The pilgrimage started in Prague, at the Shrine of the Infant Jesus. After two days in the Czech Republic, they travelled to Poland, to visit Krakow, Wadowice, Oświęcim, Częstochowa, and many other places, marked by John Paul II’s presence there.
On Friday, January 22, at approx. 8:00pm they arrived at our monastery and probably suffered a small temperature shock: it was -15°C (5°F) in Grąblin, while on the day of their departure from Perth the temperature reached + 41°C (105.8°F)!
Since they had a long and exhausting day, our guests went to bed after a quick dinner and Compline. On Saturday morning, Fr. Rector John Kevin celebrated Mass in our church, and after lunch the group, led by an English-speaking guide, went to visit the Licheń Shrine and to pray before the Miraculous Icon of the Mother of God.
In the evening, we gathered together for a lively recreation. To start, we exchanged gifts, and then we talked about our vocations and shared our experience of God’s calling us to the Order and them – to the priesthood. We also discussed the situation of the Church in Perth and Australia. We were pleased to learn that now there is no shortage of vocations. This group of seminarians was multiethnic: two Australians, a Vietnamese, a Filipino, and a Pole …
In spite of the language barrier, we were able to understand each other well and had a very pleasant time. The evening closed with the seminarians – along with their Rector – singing in English the Magnificat for 4 voices! Then there was the Compline in Polish and the Salve Regina in Latin, so that everyone could sing along.
On Sunday, the ladies who were more sensitive to cold than the male part of a group, attended Mass in our church, while the rest went to the Basilica, where the temperature apparently dropped below 0°C …
After lunch we bid them farewell. Our guests began the last stage of their pilgrimage: they went to Warsaw to pray at the tomb of Bl. Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko, to visit the Ghetto and the Old Town, and to attend Mass at the Marian Fathers’ parish on Stegny.
We thank God for this meeting. We also thank Janice, who is always ready to assist our Order.