This summer a new spiritual journey blazed through western Massachusetts. Led by the Brothers, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart, 14 young men made a four-day, 80-mile pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA. Traversing water and land, the group canoed, hiked and camped, as they prayed and sang, all in the pursuit of the Mercy of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The motto for the pilgrimage was “Convertimini” meaning, “be ye converted,” taken from the 89th Psalm. These simple words spurred the pilgrims on to a renewed spiritual life asking for Christ’s Mercy. Brothers and  pilgrims witnessed to the year of Mercy as they walked on the highway and trails carrying the banner of the Divine Mercy designed for the trip.

The pilgrimage began in Turners Falls, at the Church of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The following day and a half were spent canoeing down the Connecticut River to Northampton, with frequent stops along the riverbank for spiritual reflection. The third day the pilgrims covered a grueling 30 miles through the hills and forests of western Massachusetts. It was definitely penitential walking so many miles! They were rewarded to see that they inspired others, however, witnessing with their perseverance during the grueling work-out, and earning encouraging waves and honks from the passing cars. The trip ended on the fourth day with a hike of the remaining 10 miles to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy. As the tired and blistered group walked up the hill to the Shrine, they sang the Ave Maria, stopping before the Chapel doors to chant the Salve Regina in thanksgiving for their safe journey. Mass was offered in the Lourdes grotto, then the pilgrimage finished with the Divine Mercy Chaplet in the Shrine Chapel. It was a beautiful conclusion to a fantastic pilgrimage and hopefully the first of more to come.

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