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Article: Sisters on Eucharistic pilgrimage’s ‘Seton Route’ see God’s providence in preparations

This article first appeared in the Catholic Review



May 17, 2024 Maria Wiering OSV News


Learning to reverse a truck attached to a camper trailer wasn’t on Mother Mary Maximilian Cote’s to-do list — until recently, when it became a pressing need.


On May 18, she and three other members of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love are joining the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, and she’s a back-up driver for their support vehicle.


The religious sisters aren’t formal members of the eastern route’s pilgrimage delegation, which includes six young adults who are “perpetual pilgrims,” two seminarians and a priest chaplain. But they had been interested in joining the pilgrimage from the time it was announced, and when it became a possibility, they jumped at the chance.


In March, the sisters were attending a Lenten mission at a parish in Manchester, N.H., when they sat down for dinner with the priest leading it, Father Roger Landry. A Eucharistic preacher commissioned by the U.S. bishops for their three-year National Eucharistic Revival, Father Landry mentioned that he was also the chaplain for the pilgrimage’s eastern route. The sisters told him they were praying for the pilgrimage and at one point had actually hoped to participate, but didn’t fit the demographics for the perpetual pilgrims. He paused, and then told him he would welcome a community of sisters to join the route.


Mother Mary Maximilian was summoned to meet with Father Landry the next morning, and they started working out logistics — including securing a truck, camper and driver. The sisters got to work, but also leaned heavily on the intercession of St. Joseph. “I need you to pull us to Indianapolis,” Mother Mary Maximilian told him, thinking of the way he led the Holy Family to Bethlehem and then into Egypt.


Through a series of providential circumstances, the sisters did secure their vehicle, an Airstream camper, and their driver — who, coincidentally, is named Elizabeth Ann, like the patron of their route, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. She told the sisters she felt like her late husband would have supported her taking the job. His name: John Joseph.


“You can’t make this up,” Mother Mary Maximilian told OSV News with a laugh. “I’ve been waiting for Joseph to show up in this. … It’s not about us. It’s really the Lord’s story.”


Traveling with Mother Mary Maximilian are Sister Theresa Marie Jude, Sister Mary Fatima Pham and Sister Miriam Christe Zore. They have been chronicling their preparations in videos posted on YouTube and their community’s Facebook page, facebook.com/MotherofHealingLove.


The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and the National Eucharistic Congress July 17-21 are part of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year-initiative of the U.S. bishops to increase love for and understanding of Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist. In addition to the pilgrimage’s St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route, which begins in New Haven, Conn., there are three other routes. The St. Junipero Serra Route begins in San Francisco; the St. Juan Diego Route begins in Brownsville, Texas; and the Marian Route begins in Northern Minnesota. They all begin Pentecost weekend, May 18-19, and are walked by perpetual pilgrims, seminarians and priest chaplains, and will converge in Indianapolis for the congress.


“This is not just a pilgrimage,” Mother Mary Maximilian said. “This is a two-month Eucharistic procession where the Lord is walking through this nation, wanting to draw his people back to himself, blessing them, loving them, drawing them.”


Founded in 2003, the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love is a private association of the Christian faithful with 11 sisters in the Diocese of Manchester, which encompasses all of New Hampshire. Their charism is Marian and Eucharistic, and their work is focused on healing the family and the domestic church. Throughout the National Eucharistic Revival, the sisters have been giving Eucharistic retreats.


The Eucharist is “integral to who we are as Daughters of Mary,” Mother Mary Maximilian said.

Like Father Landry, a chaplain at Columbia University in New York, the sisters plan to travel the full length of the pilgrimage’s Seton Route. The 1,000-mile journey will take about eight weeks, with stops for Mass, prayer and Eucharistic adoration at parishes, shrines, charities and other Catholic institutions in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana. In Maryland, the pilgrimage will stop in Westminster, Emmitsburg and Baltimore June 5.-7.


Along the entire route, they’ll be in the company of the Eucharist, often exposed in a monstrance.


“This has never been done before,” Mother Mary Maximilian said. “There has never been a pilgrimage or a procession this extensive, and it’s quite possible that there may never be another one with this magnitude. Four groups of pilgrims are processing in the form of a cross from all four directions in our nation, to converge on Indianapolis at the center of our nation on the same day.”


She added, “I don’t think people realize the magnitude of what this is and what the Lord wants to do with it. He wants to draw his people back. He wants them to know his love for them.”



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