Pilgrimage to Navahrudak

Pilgrimage to Navahrudak

На іншых мовах: be
Pilgrimage to Navahrudak

The participants of the June summer camp “Pilgrim – a Creative Person” went to Navahrudak to honor the memory of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth who were martyred. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the martyrdom of blessed S. Maria Stella and her ten companions, shot by the Nazis in the Batarowsky Forest near Navahrudak on August 1, 1943.​

During the summer camp, the children carefully prepared for the pilgrimage and knew that it was not a tourist trip or a sightseeing trip, but a spiritual journey filled with prayers and singing. It was also known that pilgrims start it for various purposes: these are requests for health for themselves and their loved ones, forgiveness for sins and transgressions, thanks to God for received favors and many other intentions.

Holy Mass was held in the parish church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Navahrudak, which was led by priest Alyaksandr Shamrytsky. The children learned that the Nazarene sisters arrived in Navahrudak in 1929 at the invitation of the Bishop of Pinsk, Zygmunt Łoziński. They had to take care of the White Fara Church (the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord), as well as raise and educate local children. It was not easy, but already in 1931 the sisters opened a general education school in Navahrudak. There were so many people who wanted to study that two years later, there was a need to start the construction of a new premises. The sisters charmed people with their sacrifice and hard work. They worked in the church, in the hospital and in the house, which was open to everyone who was in need. The house of the Nazarene sisters was preserved, and the young pilgrims had the opportunity to stay in the 90-year-old building, as well as see how wafers are made.

In the conditions of the German occupation, many residents of Navahrudak sought solace and peace in the parish church. Every morning, Fr. Alyaksandr Zyankevich, and in the evenings together with him, believers and sisters adored the Blessed Sacrament and prayed the rosary. The children learned about the blessed martyr sisters who sacrificed their lives for 120 people who were arrested and sentenced to be shot. The death penalty was commuted for those arrested at work in Germany, and some were released. All of them survived the war. Fr. Zyankevich also remained alive and throughout his life carried great pain in his heart and deep gratitude to his sisters. Sister Malgazhata, who escaped arrest by remaining in Navahrudak, hid in the houses of believers near the church, and later moved to live in the sacristy. In order to prevent the shrine from being closed, she organized services without a priest on Sundays and holidays, tidied up and decorated the altars. The Martyr Sisters from Navahrudak were beatified by Pope John Paul II on March 5, 2000, in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome. The parish church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Navahrudak holds the relics of the blessed martyr sisters. And now the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth work in Navahrudak. The charism of the community is the expansion of the reign of God’s love by imitating the example of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, whose lives were focused on God’s love and mutual love. The sisters pay attention first of all to the religious and moral revival of the family.

After dinner, the young pilgrims went to the Batarowsky Forest to the tragic place to honor the memory of the martyred sisters.​​ The death of the Nazarenes was a sacrifice offered to God out of love for one’s neighbor. This unusual sacrifice was an addition to the love for God and people, which the sisters gave in their daily life during their service in Navahrudak. Today, many people come to Navahradak to beg for the graces needed for their families through the intercession of the blessed Nazarene sisters.

The participants of the pilgrimage also visited the Navahrudak Church of St. Archangel Michael and saw the monument of Archangel Michael, which was consecrated very recently – on June 3.

​Each pilgrimage is first of all a path to God: in prayer, meditation, overcoming obstacles. Summertime gives each of us the opportunity to walk this pilgrim’s path and get closer to God’s Kingdom.

All photos of the pilgrimage can be viewed in the album.