Naturally, it was a great event as well as an unforgettable experience for the Mother Superiors and Sisters who have never been to Poland. Two of them have never even traveled by plane before!
The group of 10 Sisters arrived at the monastery on the evening of Tuesday, September 9, having flown from Paris to Warsaw and then traveled for two and a half hours by car from the capital to Grąblin.
At about 6:00 p.m., a joyful meeting took place. Exhausted by travel, Sisters decided to see the monastery the next day.
On Wednesday afternoon, we welcomed more visitors: His Excellency Michel Santier, Bishop of the Diocese of Créteil (France), arrived in the company of Fr. Eugene Zarzeczny, MIC, Provincial Vicar of the Polish Province of the Congregation of Marian Fathers, who is very devoted to our Order. The bishop came not only in connection with the meeting of the Order superiors, but also to make a canonical visitation of the monastery before the October Chapter in Thiais.
The following days were pretty full since we had to discuss many important issues. However, there was also time for communal recreation, during which the Annunciades learned the story of the Virgin Mary apparitions in Grablin, got acquainted with the history of Poland, and talked about St. Joan of Valois, Foundress of their Order.
On Saturday afternoon, the Sisters had an opportunity to visit the Licheń Shrine. The tour was guided by Fr. Viktor Gumienny, MIC, Shrine custodian, with Fr. Eugene as the translator.
On Sunday morning, H.E. Bishop Wieslaw Mering, Ordinary of the Diocese, paid us a visit. He met Bishop Michel and all the Sisters, both the visiting and the local ones.
Bishop Ordinary invited all to High Mass at the Basilica. When we came there, the basilica was filled to the brim (except for the seats reserved for us). There were more than 5,000 people who came on the annual Rural Housewives pilgrimage from all over Poland. Most women wore regional costumes. It was a memorable ceremony, where Sisters could witness the living faith of the Polish people.
At the end of Mass, Bishop Michel Santier said that he was glad to visit Lichen again and to witness the new bond between the Diocese of Créteil and Poland: the Sept. 20th opening of the canonization process of Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, thanks to the miracle that took place in his diocese exactly two years ago. These words were acknowledged by tremendous applause!
Although worried on their departure day because of the pilots’ strike, the Sisters left for Warsaw on Monday after lunch and then flew back to France, taking with them lots of memories and cameras filled with photographs, which they would share with their sisters in France, Belgium, and Costa Rica.
We give thanks to the Lord for this meeting and the time lived out in profound communion.