May 18

marian calendar     may

Matka Boska Skępska, Skępe, Lipno, Kuyavia-Pomerania, Poland

In 1490, herders saw a strange light around a large stone by the road outside Skępe, in the Dobrzyń Land of central Poland. Some said they saw Our Lady surrounded by choirs of angels, and that her footprints remained on the stone. In 1495, an epidemic (probably the arrival of syphilis) struck the region. Pilgrims began coming to the apparition site, and many reported cures. A calvary was erected at the stone. A pilgrim named John, from Pobiedziska near Gniezno, reported a vision in which Our Lady told him that the proprietors of Skępe should build a chapel there. Castellan Nicholas Kościelecki took this to heart, and with his wife Catherine built a wooden chapel dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1496, in thanks for regaining the use of her legs, their daughter Sophia had a 38" wooden statue brought from Poznań for the shrine. In 1498, Bernardine Fathers came to care for the chapel and pilgrims. Nicholas' uncle, Bishop Kościelecki, dedicated a new brick church there in 1511, remodeled in Baroque style over the next two centuries. Regional pilgrimages took place annually on September 8, feast of the Nativity of Mary. By authority of the Vatican, Fabiana Pląskowskiego, Auxialiary Bishop of Chełmno, crowned the statue on Pentecost Sunday, May 18, 1755. In 1980, the crown was stolen, and the Bernardine Fathers arranged for a new one. Bogdan Sikorski, Bishop of Płock, recrowned the image on September 8, 1984. The Blessed Mother of Skępe is also known as Queen of Masovia and Kuyavia and Pregnant Mother of God. Childless couples visit the shrine to enlist her help with conception.   

Main sources:

"Skępe," Pielgrzymka Płock,
"Skępe," Polskie Madonny, (picture)
The Sanctuary's website, Klasztor OO. Bernardynów w Skępem,

Also commemorated this date:

Mother of God, Ruzhany, Pruzhany, Brest, Belarus. Icon in Orthodox Church of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Notre Dame de Marsat, Marsat, Puy-de-Dôme, Auvergne, France. Statue crowned May 18, 1939. Pilgrimage first Sat. in May.
Notre-Dame des Cyclistes, Labastide-d'Armagnac, Les Landes, Aquitaine, France. Pope John XXII proclaimed the chapel the National Sanctuary of Cycling and Cyclists under the protection of the Virgin, 1959.
Notre Dame des Grâces, Lavasina, Brando, Haute-Corse, Corsica, France. Statue crowned, 1952. Pilgrimage Sept. 8.
Maria Eich, Planegg, Munich, Bavaria, Germany (Mary Oak). Church consecrated, 1768. Costumed pilgrimage 3rd Sun. in May.
Madonna dell'Alno, Canzano, Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy (Our Lady of the White Poplar). Procession commemorates apparition, 1480.
Inexhaustible Cup, Serpukhov, Moscow, Russia. Icon in Vysotsky monastery, invoked against alcoholism (May 5 Julian)
Virgen de Zorita, Melgar de Fernamental, Burgos, Castile and Léon, Spain
Unserer Lieben Frau auf dem Wesemlin, Lucerne, Switzerland. Apparition to state councilor Maurice de Mettenwyl May 18, 1531.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly