Franciscan Sisters Walk to Mary 2024

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

May 11, 2024

Walk to Mary 2024 was calendared as a Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity special ‘Mother’s Day’ event.  Sister Carolee Vanness, Sister Theresa Feldkamp, Sister Catherine Peter Logan, Sister Michelle Marie Ozuna, Sister Caritas Strodthoff and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan participated in different parts of the journey with travelers near and far. Close to us were our own dear loved ones who we carried in our hearts along the way. We share other comments from our Sister pilgrims.

“This was the second year that I did the last seven miles of the Walk to Mary. What an amazing experience of belonging to the Church! There were people of different backgrounds, from a variety of states (and countries), and of all ages. How beautiful it was to see so many families. The number of helpful volunteers was outstanding.  A spirit of peace, harmony and gratitude was strongly felt. Mary was certainly present with us and leading us to our Father, to her Son and to the Holy Spirit.

An added joy was that I was able to meet up with some of my family members this year.” – Sister Carolee

“It was a beautiful day. God blessed us with perfect weather for the walk and surrounded us with people in love with the Lord and His Mother, Mary. May we continue to experience the fruits of this faith-filled experience.” – Sister Theresa 

“It was such blessing and joy to participate in the 2024 Walk to Mary pilgrimage. Before attending the walk, I reflected on the gospel of John (19:26-27), when Jesus sees his Mother Mary at the foot of the cross with his beloved disciple and says, ‘Woman here is your son’, and to his beloved disciple, ‘Here is your Mother.’ What a gift we have all been given by Jesus, Mary as Mother of the church and Spiritual Mother of us all.

It was also very special to attend the children’s mass; the sanctuary was lively and joyous with the sound of family as they prepared for their pilgrimage to Mary learning about Mary’s devotion to children during the empowering homily where they learned there are saints aged 9-11.

One thing I recognized as we all made pilgrimage to Mary was her unifying power as our Mother no matter age, race, ethnicity, physical ability location. Whether you walked the full 21-mile, 14-mile, 7-mile or 1.7-mile family walk, you had an opportunity to encounter the love of Mary that reigns in the hearts of all those who attended.
Amidst the crowds of pilgrims on their way to Christ through Mary, I heard Madre Mia Mirame (Mother Mary look at me) sung in Spanish by a few women behind me and was moved as Christ words echoed, ‘Here is your Mother.’” – Sister Michelle Marie

“The Walk to Mary this year was a joyous experience. Sister Julie Ann, Sister Michelle Marie, and I joined the family pilgrims this year for the “Walk with the Children” route while Sister Theresa and Sister Carolee ventured the 7-mile route. Our day started with the Family Mass celebrated by Fr. Aytona at the Shrine. How wonderful it was to see so many families and children coming together for this day of celebrating Our Lady of Champion and the young Belgian, Adele, to whom Our Lady appeared in 1859. The journey together was an opportunity to draw closer to our amazing God through the intercession of St. Joseph and Mary. Throughout the day, we experienced the gift of prayer, singing, inspiring moments, and meeting others from around the country. We are so thankful for all of the volunteers, planners, and sponsors who put time into making the day so memorable. Pax et Bonum.” -Sister Catherine Peter




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