Our Lady’s Journeys Through West Central Pennsylvania

On Friday evening October 26, I left Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe to give a pro-life conference with the pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania.  I was welcomed by Sister Rosemary Horvath, SDR – the Provincial Superior.

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer was founded by Mother Alphonse Marie Eppinger (1814-1867) together with Father John David Reichard her spiritual director in Alsace Lorraine, France in 1849. Mother Alphonse founded her Congregation to take care of the poor and the needy, especially to care for the sick poor in their homes.

Every religious order has a charism or a particular gift of grace.  The charism of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer is to meditate on the mystery of Redemption, to live it, and to help others find access to this mystery.  Mother Alphonse Marie believed that contemplative prayer and apostolic ministry should be closely intertwined.   Pope Benedict XVI officially recognized the heroic virtues of Mother Alphonse Marie Eppinger and elevated her to the title of Venerable Servant of God. 

Mother Alphonse wrote, "The Congregation is founded to the honor of the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Sisters of the Divine Redeemer shall honor these most holy Hearts, especially by imitating them in doing good to those in need. Indeed, this is the best way to serve them."

On Saturday, I offered Mass, led a Holy Hour with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.  I also gave three conferences on pro-life issues, the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa and the From Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage in Defense of Life. 

On Sunday, I preached at all the Masses at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensburg, PA in the Diocese of Greensburg.  Dr. Ralph Capone of the Pro-life Healthcare Alliance invited me to speak more about the icon and the From Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage in Defense of Life at a special luncheon sponsored by the St. Gianna Sodality.

After the talk, a group of about 40 of us, prayed outside the local Planned Parenthood abortion mill as part of the 40 Days For Life campaign. 

Before leaving for the Pittsburgh area, I concelebrated Mass at the beautiful Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Greensburg.  Later in the week, I returned to Central Pennsylvania on October 31 to St. Bartholomew’s Church in Wilmore.  The American leg of The From Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage began on the Feast of St. Bartholomew on August 24, 2013 at St. Clement’s Island in Maryland. Wilmore was founded by Godfrey Wilmore - a former slave.  The town was very active in the Underground Railroad  which was a network of secret routes and safe houses which helped slaves in the South escape to freedom.

A lady at St. Bartholomew’s told me the story of a dream she had about an abortionist who appeared before the throne of God to be judged.  God asked the abortionist how many abortions he committed.  The abortionist answered “I don’t remember.”  God then proceeded to tell him how many children he had aborted and the names of each child.

Before heading northeast to Hawk Run, I offered the Mass in the morning for the Feast of All Saints at Most Holy Trinity in South Fork. It was on of my smallest venues, but I met a parishioner later on the pilgrimage in Greensboro, North Carolina!  In my homily, I spoke about how fitting it was to have the Blessed Mother in the pilgrim icon of Our Lady visit on the Feast of All Saints, since she is the Queen of All Saints and possesses all the virtues of the greatest saints.  Our Lady, Queen of All Saints, pray for us to be victorious in our struggle against the culture of death!

Fr. Peter West
Vice President For Missions
Human Life International

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