Day 3 Pilgrimage to WYD

We are on the bus on the way to Czestochowa this morning (Day 4). It is about a three and a half our ride from Warsaw. 

Day 3:

Yesterday we were able to get a slow start as the first thing on the schedule was a bus tour at 2 pm. Small groups split off and explored the city, while others stayed in the hotel to rest. Our small group of 11 walked over three miles from our hotel toward Old Town with hopes of seeing the Chopin museum. Unfortunately, we didn't walk fast enough and when we arrived we needed to find lunch before grabbing taxis back to the hotel. Lunch was fantastic. They had English menus and many people ordered different kinds of peirogis. From fillings of meat, spinach and cheese, to blue berries with sweet cream. They looked delicious, but because I my diet is gluten and dairy free, I had mixed sausages (white sausage which I thought was more like kielbasa and a regular sausage) over a bed of sauted onions. Many of us at the table also had an apple mint lemonade, though it tasted more like minty apple juice than lemonade. 

Since the bus tour was going to drop the rest of the group off near Old Town, and we were running a bit behind, our group missed the bus tour and walked from lunch to meet the group. We were able to stop in a few churches on the way. The Church of the Holy Cross stood out as a favorite of mine. Intricate stained glass in many of the windows. 

Through out the streets there were musicians and street performers. Everyone is celebrating World Youth Day and St. John Paul II. I picked up a few pamphlets about Warsaw and St. John Paul II which I look forward to reading. 

For dinner, our travel agency held a welcome bbq with the other groups using the agency that traveled here from the US. Sausage, chicken, steak, peirogis, salad, fruits and desserts were available. There was water, but bottles of apple juice (I'm sensing a theme here) were more common. 

After dinner, we heard from Chris Stefanick. He shared stories about the Polish resiliency following WWII and the communist rule. "Culture outlasts dictators," he said. It is easy to see the culture across the city as we have seen it. Chris also talked about the lives of St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Faustina, and St. John Paul II. "Heroic souls are only chiseled out of the rest of us by suffering." He also reminded us of our grandmothers and the grandmothers generations back that prayed for us. 

We walked from the meeting hall around to the church. The delegations from Orlando, Boston, Conneticut, Bridgport, St. Petersburg, and ourselves from Baltimore shared a blessed time together in adoration. Many people took the opportunity to got to confession as well. Priests sat around the outer edges of the church and we were able to go as we felt called. 

Much love and peace to everyone back at home. More to come soon!

For more pictures and more frequent updates, follow me, SarahDMaynard, on Instagram. 


Day 1 & 2 Poland Pilgrimage

As I am writing this, I have been up since Thursday morning with a few short naps here and there. Very long travel day so I will be keeping today's post short and sweet. 

Day 1:
We met at Dullles Aiport and flew across the Atlantic to Frankfurt Germany. It was about an 8 hour flight. Each seat was equipped with a touch screen from which we could access movies, tv shows, games and more. I tried to sleep, but I only got a few winks. Oh and the plane was a double decker! 

Day 2: Our connecting flight into Poland was a short puddle jump and we were soon on our way to our hotel in Warsaw. I am one of a handful from our group who have a room solo for our two night stay here. Luckily, we don't have anything scheduled until 2 pm tomorrow so if I oversleep, I'm safe. 

After a short time to freshen up (or take a nap) at the hotel, we traveled to Niepokalanow where St. Maximilian Kolbe built his monestary. We had a Mass in Spanish and Polish which was a wonderful way to start our journey. WIth the little Spanish I remember, I picked up "we are the light of the Church" from the homily. Then to see people from around the world embracing each other during the sign of peace was a simple, but moving experience that demonstrated that line beautifully. We must be the light to each other and the world around us in simple, but significant ways. 

St. Maximilian Kolbe was arrested, for a second time by the Nazi forces, in February 1941. He was taken to Auschwitz and gave his life for a fellow prisoner, Franciszek Gajowniczek, on August 14, 1941. The museum on site had a number of moving pieces of art through out the exhibits. 

We traveled back to the hotel and then were treated to dinner at an Italian restaurant near the hotel. At the end of our meal, our waitress recommended a Sweet Berry tea which I fell in love with. Delicious! I will be on the look out to find some to bring home. 

I guess that wasn't exactly brief... Ah well, now it is time to rest up for another day tomorrow. Much love to you from Poland!


Almost #readyforWYD

Hello again! It's been a few years since I've blogged here, but I want to share my pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Poland with you. We leave from DC next Thursday and there are so many things to get done before then! So of course, instead of doing anything productive, I procrastinate.

Last night, I was checking packing lists from many different churches and WYD travelers again. I knew that pilgrims traded items from their home state/country, but I didn't realize how many things people traded. One blogger I read said by the time he was walking to the Vigil Saturday night, he only had about 20 of the over 200 stickers and pins that he had brought to trade.


Holiday Mishap Contest

I am so excited to join in the contest fun! I was afraid I wasn't going to get this up in time thanks to the strep the children shared with me over the weekend. 

The wonderful Susanna Leonard Hill is running her 3rd Annual Holiday Contest. All the details can be found here. Without fourth ado, here is my Holiday Mishap:

A Juicy Cautionary Tale for the Traveling Mouse
As told by Auntie M


Artist's Date Anyone?

After a wonderful month with PiBoIdMo, how do I keep up the idea generating groove? With Artist Dates. They sound heavenly.

Artist Julie Cameron has brought the idea of the Artist Date to us and she is a wonderful champion for the movement. She writes:

The Artist Date need not be overtly
“artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the

imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the
play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well
of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask
yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.
-Julie Cameron

Sounds good right?

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