Pilgrimages to Wielkopolska
Poland's shrines attract pilgrims from all over the world. Some of which are listed below.
Virgin Mary's Sanctuary in Lichen
Lichen is a popular destination for many pilgrims. They come to see the painting of the Virgin Mary, the Sorrowful Queen of Poland, as well as the largest Polish temple and probably one of the largest sacred buildings in Europe. Work on it started in 1994 and the sumptuous decorations are literally breathtaking. The temple, which was designed by Barbara Bielecka, is a five-nave transept cruciform basilica (in the shape of a Latin cross) with a semicircular chancel. Its façade is headed by an impressive column portico. The whole building is capped with an enormous golden dome that is visible from a distance of nearly twenty kilometres. It is estimated that the church can hold in excess of 7000 people.
The Stone Golgotha in Lichen
This miraculous painting was placed in the Neo-Gothic architectural St Dorota's Church. The legend says that it was discovered by Tomasz Klossowski, a soldier and ex-landowner who had lost his fortune and became a blacksmith. He found it on his way back home from fighting in the Napoleonic wars and hung the painting on a tree. Later, it was believed to possess miraculous powers. Apart from the new basilica and St Dorota's Church, you can also visit the Virgin Mary's Church or take a walk in the surrounding park to admire many sacred and patriotic objects, such as a Stone Golgotha or the monument of the Pope, John Paul II.
The Church in Skulsk
The church of the Virgin Mary the Sorrowful has been present in Skulsk for several centuries. These days though, it is experiencing a revival. The pilgrimage season starts here in early spring and lasts till late autumn. The place is most frequently visited during the September Indulgence (8-15 September). The legend says that King Boleslaw Chrobry's knights saw a vision of the Virgin Mary on an island called "Kepa Skulska" so the king ordered a chapel to be built in the boggy fields in this area. Soon the smack chapel became a popular destination of pilgrimages. Today the pilgrims flock to a church that replaced the chapel in 1810. Its Gothic Pieta, a wooden sculpture dating back to approximately 1420, which is nested in the Late-Baroque altar, captures the attention of visitors.
St Josef's Sanctuary in Kalisz
This location has an exceptional status among Poland's pilgrimage sites. The church of St Josef has stood here for more than 400 years and the visiting pilgrims pray in front of the miraculous painting of the Holy Family, the only picture depicting a crowned St Josef. The Sanctuary is located in the Kalisz collegiate of the Virgin Mary. Its beginnings can be traced back to the 13th century but in the middle of the 14th century the building underwent major architectural modifications which gave it a Gothic appearance. The building was partially destroyed in the late 18th century but later restored in the Late-Baroque style. The Plenary Indulgence takes place here on 19th March but some pilgrims also visit this location on the 29th April as the priests were ex-prisoners of Dachau concentration camp and on 1st May for the International Pilgrimage of the Working People.
The Baroque Church on Swieta Gora near Gostyn
The Baroque church near Glogowek, known as Swieta Gora, is modelled on the Venetian Santa Maria Della Salute. Its construction was initiated by a Philippine priest Stanislaw Grudowicz in 1675, the founder of St Phillip's Oratorio, which is located nearby. The work was initially supervised by Jerzy Catenazzi and his son Jan and, later, by Pompeo Ferrari. The latter is attributed for his work carried out on the dome, the chancel and monastery buildings. The complex was eventually finished in 1728. Nowadays, Swieta Gora is a popular and frequently visited sanctuary. The picture of the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus and also holding a rose in her hand, was painted approximately in 1540 and placed in the main altar, attracts many of people on daily basis.
The Baroque Temple in Gorka Klasztorna
This location has a long history, written down by the Bernadine Order as late as in the 17th century. According to their chronicles, an appearance of the Virgin Mary was witnessed on this site in 1079. The Virgin Mary's Sanctuary in Gorka Klasztorna now stands here to commemorate the vision. Adjoining the Baroque-style temple of the Immaculately Conceived Virgin Mary are two wings of the Monastery of the Missionaries of the Holy Family. The missionaries have been looking after the sanctuary since 1923. The church interiors have Baroque and Rococo decorations. In the churchyard there is a well from which pilgrims can draw drinking-water which, ostensibly, has health giving properties.
The Way of the Cross in Ujscie
The foundations were laid here in 1893 yet 17 years passed before the 14 chapels of the Way of the Cross and some other adjacent structures, stood on the steep slopes of the post-glacial valley of the River Notec. Soon, the Calvary (Kalwaria) became widely known throughout the Wielkopolska region and it began to be treated as a pilgrimage destination by the faithful. During the World War II it was destroyed by the German military forces but at the beginning of June 1976, overnight, 14 Stations of the Way of the Cross, decorated with sculptures, made by Jerzy Sobocinski replaced the destroyed chapels, in spite of the lack of permission by the authorities. The decision granting the restoration of the former Calvary was finally passed in 1997. The site hosts the greatest number of pilgrims on the first Sunday of July, the time of its Plenary Indulgence.
The Collegiate in Szamotuly
A magnificent painting of the "Kazanska" Virgin Mary, the replica of the Russian icon presenting Virgin Mary the Consolation for the Tormented, has been the object of worship in the Szamotuly Gothic collegiate for almost four centuries now. It was brought to Szamotuly by Aleksander Wolff, the then owner of the local castle, who placed it in the castle's chapel. The icon would probably have stayed there for good if the image of the Virgin Mary had not shed bloody tears. This heartbreaking event happened on 24th April 1665 and was witnessed by eight people, including Aleksander Wolff himself. A special committee, appointed by the Poznan Curia, classified it as a miracle and decided to move the icon to the collegiate. Today, the Virgin Mary of Consolation is the object of pilgrimages all year round, most of them in the period between March and September. The last Sunday of August ends the week of Virgin Mary's glorification and is celebrated here in exceptional dedication.