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Article: Group of religious sisters surprised to be walking the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage

Francesca Pollio Fenton

CNA Staff (Original Article HERE)

Jun 9, 2024 / 06:00 am


The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is beginning its third week, bringing Catholics from across the United States together through Eucharistic processions across the country.


One special group who joined the pilgrims on the Elizabeth Ann Seton Route, the route that began in the Northeast, is made up of four religious sisters from the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love.


The group of sisters joined “EWTN News In Depth” on May 24 to share how they became involved in the pilgrimage and their experience so far.


When the Eucharistic Revival first began, the sisters were asked by their bishop to be the point people for the diocese. They went on to organize the diocesan Eucharistic Revival and during this past year have been giving parish retreats on the Eucharist every second Saturday of the month.


Mother Mary Maximilian of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love told “EWTN News In Depth” host and EWTN News President and COO Montse Alvarado that being a part of the Eucharistic Revival has been “such a blessing for our community.”


After the sisters heard about the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, they immediately felt drawn to participate as “Perpetual Pilgrims” — individuals selected to walk the pilgrimage together for the entire route. However, after reaching out to the National Eucharistic Congress they were told this was only for youth.


“We accepted that,” Sister Maximilian said. “As much as my heart is 18, my body is not.”


Then, Father Roger Landry — who is leading the Elizabeth Ann Seton Route — gave a Lenten mission at the sisters’ parish and had dinner with some of the sisters. Sister Maximilian explained that Landry brought up the pilgrimage and the sisters shared their desire to take part. He said he would welcome the community of sisters to join them but the following morning explained that they would need to have their own support vehicle. Two hours later, the sisters received a donation to help pay for walking shoes, and at 3 p.m. the same day they received a truck, trailer, and driver.


The sisters are now sleeping in a 30-foot Airstream camper trailer as they travel the Seton Route through many states on their way to Indianapolis, the final destination where all four pilgrimage routes will converge at the Eucharistic Congress taking place July 17–21.


“Camper life is a very interesting experience,” Sister Maximilian said jokingly. She shared that the entire experience has been “extraordinary — the outpouring of love that every faith community that we went to had to welcome the Lord Jesus.”


The Haitian community is one that especially stood out to the sisters during their many stops on the pilgrimage. Sister Maximilian described that instead of making the sign of the cross during Benediction, the Haitians they met opened their arms “to receive the blessing of the Lord.”


The religious sister also praised the Perpetual Pilgrims and how they’ve come together as a team so quickly.


“They’ve come together so beautifully, and they all jump out of the van just before Jesus comes and they kneel down so everybody knows that the king is coming,” she said, adding: “And they’re leading praise and worship during all the walks and carrying heavy speakers, and it’s just beautiful to watch them.”


For Sister Maximilian, the experience thus far has been “an amazing opportunity to express gratitude for the love that the Lord wants to pour out.”


“He wants to walk through this nation. He wants to bless his people. He wants to heal his people. He says, ‘When I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.’ He wants to draw them to himself and we’re watching that happen.”


So far, the sisters have journeyed through Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. On June 8 they were in Washington, D.C.


The entire segment of the “EWTN News In Depth” interview with the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love about the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage can be viewed below.



Francesca Pollio Fenton: Francesca is the Social Media Manager for Catholic News Agency. She received her degree in Communications with an emphasis in Digital Media from the University of Colorado - Denver.

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