Blazing a new trail through western Massachusetts, the Brothers from St. Benedict Center in Still River took a group of young men on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA. It was a 4-day, 80-mile journey for the Brothers and their 10 pilgrims, filled with canoeing, hiking, camping, praying, and singing, all in the pursuit of the Mercy of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Pilgrimage of MercyThe motto of the pilgrimage was “Convertimini”, meaning, “be ye converted”, taken from the 89th Psalm. This simple word was meant to spur the pilgrims on to a renewed spiritual life so as to make themselves worthy of Christ’s mercy. Pilgrims and Brothers walked under the banner of the Divine Mercy, which contains the following symbolism: the color red to symbolize the blood of Christ, white for our union with Christ, the image of Divine Mercy to portray our means to union with Him, and the cross and the Holy Eucharist shown as Christ’s greatest gifts merited for us by His Precious Blood.

Throughout the journey, the pilgrims read and expounded upon meditations from St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life in order to facilitate reflection on the spiritual life. The physical journey of a pilgrimage seemed to assist these young men with their spiritual journey towards Heaven.

The pilgrimage began on June 14th in Turners Falls at the Church of Our Lady of Czestochowa with Frs. Sean O’Manion and Charles DiMascola. The following day and a half were spent canoeing down the Connecticut River to Northampton, with stops along the riverbank for the pilgrims to give their meditations on selected chapters of Introduction to the Devout Life. All then headed west, on foot, to Stockbridge, a journey of over 50 miles. The third day covered a grueling 25 miles through the hills and forests of western Massachusetts, much of which was spent in the rain. It definitely proved to be a penitential day with many miles of walking to offer up to Christ. Through it all, however, the young men inspired others with their perseverance and courage in the face of physical hardship, earning many a happy honk and kind wave from the passing cars.

After finishing the last leg of 17 miles, the pilgrims arrived at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy. The group walked up the hill to the Shrine singing the Ave Maria, then stopped before the Chapel doors and chanted the Salve Regina in thanksgiving for their safe journey. Mass at the Lourdes grotto concluded the pilgrimage, which added a beautiful finale to an extraordinary pilgrimage.

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