With the Dominican Sisters at The Rosary Hills Home for the elderly in Justice, IL

After the farewell ceremony at the Polish Mission of the Cistercian Fathers in Willow Springs and upon embarking Her Life Mobile, Our Lady in Her Icon of Częstochowa went to the nearby convent of the Dominican Sisters’ Immaculate Conception Province in Justice, where the sisters run a home for the elderly.  It was Sunday evening on the 18th of May, 2014 around 8:00 pm, when Our Lady was escorted by the Reverend Pastor Michał Blicharski, OCist., assisted by several other vehicles.

The Dominican Sisters, with their Mother Superior – Sr. Helena Cempa, O.P., welcomed Our Lady joyfully in front of the entrance to their convent and carried the Icon into their beautiful chapel. It turned out that the door was quite narrow, but the Icon with Her feretory was exactly the same width and passed through it safely.  With the Polish song “O Maryjo, witam Cię – Oh, Mary, I welcome You,” the Icon was placed near the altar in such a way as to make it possible for the elderly to approach Her in their wheelchairs.  The Litany of Loreto was sung and the Rosary for the defense of life was recited.  The Sisters kept the vigil until the Jasna Góra Appeal at 9:00 pm.

At night the Icon went to a “beauty salon.”  It had to be cleaned and renovated again.  The touch-up was necessary because many people touched the Our Lady with their hands and sacramentals.  Recently, Our Lady had been kissed by people and traces of lipstick and other fluids were left on the Icon. In general, the Icon is in good shape, despite the fact that She has been traveling across different climate zones and continues to be touched by hundreds of thousands of people.  However, after a closer examination, it has been decided that kissing Our Lady should be not allowed at this point.  According to tradition the person venerating the Icon should touch it delicately and make the Sign of the Cross. Various sacramentals, such as images or rosaries can be touched to the Icon as well.  Kissing is not part of the tradition and it damages the image.

The next morning the Icon was in the convent chapel.  Our Lady was visited by the residents of the home, most often in their wheelchairs.  Despite their old age and illnesses, their faces expressed great emotion and joy. When Mary, one of the residents, approached the Icon she had a beautiful smile on her face and she was extremely happy.  She looked as if she had received a special grace of being close to Mary because this was truly a tremendous grace to be in the presence of Our Lady in Her traveling Icon.

By serving the elderly, the infirm, and those who need permanent care, the Dominican Sisters and the staff of the Rosary Hills Home testify to the fact that all human life belongs to God Himself.  In the context of more and more popular euthanasia offers, a falsely called a “good death,” the efforts and the care given to the people at the end of their lives is a great testimony that every life should be respected and cared for, even the elderly and defenseless.

The residents are really comfortable here.  The oldest resident at the Rosary Hills Home has just turned 103. The peregrinating Icon of Our Lady with the Infant in Her arm brings the message of the loving Mother that the life of every human being is the most precious gift God gives.  The lay staff, as well as the residents’ families and guests, came to pray at the chapel – even if for a moment, to be with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to entrust their families and problems to Her.  The Dominican Sisters took turns all day to venerate the Icon and to praise God for the gift of this tremendous grace that God granted them with the visit of Our Lady of Czestochowa at their convent.

The visit was particularly important for the whole community of the Dominican Sisters in the United States and Canada, as they have been celebrating the 85- year Jubilee of the patronage of Mary Immaculate over their province and all their work in the US and Canada since December 8th, 2013.  The foundation of their charismatic work is the congregation’s total trust and entrustment to Our Blessed Mother and allowing Her to lead the Sisters directly to Her Son, Jesus Christ.

In the evening, the Life Mobile came to transport Our Lady to the American parish of the Holy Cross in Batavia, IL, causing a big sensation on the highway.

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