Often we search with great expectations because of information we have been given in the past or pictures we have seen, only to discover that time changes things. Things, but not love. Things, but not the feeling one gets from standing amongst the Holy. Things, but not the story.
As we come upon the sign for the Black Madonna Shrine, we are leery about where our salesmen (who sell to both our bookstore and this Shrine) are leading us. We know many of the stories from the past. We know there is a trailer, we know the original Chapel was burned, we know about the story of Our Lady of Czestochowa but we are filled with much more as we wander and as we read and as we visit Mary, alone, just our family. Not another car in the gravel lot, not a person to be seen, the trailer is closed tight with sheets hung over the windows, just us. It is also probably 100 degrees outside so those who may have been around most likely think there will be no visitors. But there is cold water. There are lit candles. She has been visited early and she waits. For us.
Here we are. Here we stand on a concrete slab with pews facing an altar adorned with the image of Our Lady, candles burning.
Here we are given the grace as a family to continue the journey to visit Our Lady in her many Shrines in the United States. Here we are given answers to questions. We are taught about love and sacrifice.
Here we spend time despite the blazing heat and we are given what we need to persevere.
Here we are shown the Way ...
And we find rest.
And so much more...
I am excited to share our journeys and our stories. This Shrine made the cover of a new book coming in April, 2014. As the date draws closer, I will be sharing many of the pictures from our travels and a little about the visits to Our Lady in hopes that all will want to know more about Her and Her beautiful Shrines throughout the U.S.