Pilgrimage 2017

Faithful Trek to Mount St. Macrina to Honor “Mary, Our Life-Giving Spring”

Clergy gather at Mount St. Macrina during the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil’s 83rd Pilgrimage in Honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Uniontown, Pa. on Labor Day Weekend. Photo by Father Lewis Rabayda.

Sister Ruth Plante, Provincial, Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great, likens the annual Pilgrimage to Mount St. Macrina in Uniontown, Pa. as a “grand family reunion.” That’s because she sees so many familiar faces among the many priests, deacons and faithful in attendence from all across the country. During this year’s 83rd Pilgrimage in Honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help from Sept. 2 to 3, many of these faces were covered by umbrellas due to falling rain and bursts of blustery winds. “We’re here today, with the wind blowing and we have a bad hair day today,” Sister Ruth told pilgrims during her welcoming remarks on Sept. 2.

“Even though we plan and plan for Pilgrimage and we try to attend for every detail, that’s the one thing we have no control over.” The Pilgrimage weekend included Divine Liturgies, opportunities to receive the Mystery of Reconciliation, Children’s Pilgrimages, enrichment sessions, and a candlelight procession beginning and ending at the Mother of God Shrine. During an afternoon Divine Liturgy on Sept. 2, faithful prayed for the health and welfare of those affected by Hurricane Harvey on the Texas Gulf Coast. Sister Ruth said television and newspapers have been filled with stories of despair so far this year.

“All throughout this year, all we hear and have seen are pictures and headlines of the chaotic world that we live in. Pictures of political unrest, in-fighting, violence, drug addiction, murder, family breakups. So many, many things that if we are really Christians, they touch our hearts and our spirits.” She said even if these events do not affect us directly, “they do affect us.” “We see the terrible devastation (in Texas) but we also see a beautiful lesson of how all those differences are put aside.” Sister Ruth highlighted this year’s Pilgrimage theme of “Mary, the Life-Giving Spring.”

“And so, in light of everything we’ve heard about and possibly had happen within our own hearts and own lives, we are all certainly in need of that Life-Giving Spring,” she said. “Whether that Life-Giving Spring comes in the form of a good confession, a talk with a friend, just enjoying the beauty of the Mount, or maybe even a few literal springs of water that drop from the sky at some point this weekend…be a source of refreshment and a way of rebuilding that spirit so that as you leave here in several days, you will leave with that sense of refreshment of being nurtured and filled with God’s grace and the love and concern of His Most Pure Mother.”