marian calendar     september

September 16

Matka Boża, Gietrzwałd, Olsztyński, Warmia, Poland

Founded in the 1300s, Gietrzwałd (pron. Gyetshfaoot) lies among gentle hills along the river Giłwa in northeastern Poland. On one of these hills is the Marian shrine, now a big pilgrimage complex. By 1500, Gietrzwałd celebrated its patronal feast on September 8, the Birth of Mary, and was known for a miraculous icon of the Mother of God, a hodigitria depicted beneath angels holding a banner proclaiming "Ave regina coelorum, ave domina angelorum" (Hail Queen of Heaven, hail Mistress of Angels). The image was crowned in 1717. Pilgrimages to Gietrzwałd revived in 1877, when two girls, Justina Schaffrinski and Barbara Samulowski, had apparitions of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception there beginning on June 27, featuring the Lourdes-like discovery of a healing spring and messages in Polish stressing the importance of praying the Rosary. On September 16, 1877, the day of the final apparition, 50,000 people attended, and a statue of Mary was blessed and installed in a small chapel. At that time, Prussia ruled the region and had banned the use of Polish in the schools. Local residents, as well as Prussian officials, recognized the significance of the Queen of Heaven's speaking in Polish: a divine mandate to use the native language. After a hundred years of reported conversions and healings, Catholic Church officials finally approved these devotions in 1977. (Information from the shrine's site,, and elsewhere. Picture from "Sanktuarium Matki Bożej w Gietrzwałdzie," Moje Pelgrzymki,  

Also celebrated this date:

Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van de Onbevlekte Ontvangenis, Dadizele, West Flanders, Belgium (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception)
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Stoepe, Ertvelde, West Flanders, Belgium (Our Lady of the Pavement). Novena Sept. 8-16.
Nuestra Señora de las Lajas, Potosí, Caldas, Colombia (Our Lady of the Flagstones). First mass at apparition site, 1754; fiesta.
Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam, Kerala, India. Start of novena.
Gua Maria Ratu Damai, Serpong, Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia (Mary Queen of Peace Grotto). Grotto blessed Sept. 16, 2006.
Madonna del Boe, Balangero, Torino, Piedmont, Italy. Local festa.
Madonna delle Grazie, Carrara, Massa Carrara, Tuscany, Italy. Church opened for worship, 1676.
Santissima Vergine Addolorata, Tuscania, Viterbo, Latium, Italy (Most Holy Sorrowful Virgin). Statue crowned, 1923.
Madonna della Stella, Militello, Val di Catania, Sicily, Italy. Octave celebration & return of statue to locked shrine.
Matka Boża Królowa Rodzin, Ropczyce, Subcarpathia, Poland (Mother of God Queen of the Family). 1400s statue crowned, 2001.
Nuestra Señora de la Luz, Guía de Isora, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain (Our Lady of Light). Statue crowned, 1956.
Mother of God of Pisidia, Sozopolis, Pisidia, Turkey (copy in Moscow; Sept. 3 in the old calendar)

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly