• October 5, 2010

The Inauguration of the Shrine to Our Lady of Compassion

Our Lady of Compassion, sculpted by Fr. Paul Crochat.

In honor of the 20th Anniversary of Heart’s Home and to renew the con­se­cra­tion to Our Lady of Compassion, each Heart’s Home com­mu­nity around the world orga­nized a pil­grimage to the nearest Marian shrine. As there are so few Marian shrines in the New York area, this anniver­sary also served as the inau­gu­ra­tion of the Shrine of Our Lady of Compassion on the grounds of the ICCC, built by Heart’s Home with the sup­port of the Archbishop of New York. Close to 120 people from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey made a pil­grimage to the site on September 18, hope­fully the first of many who will journey to their Mother in search of com­fort and love.

“The inau­gu­ra­tion of the Shrine to Our Lady of Compassion at the ICCC was a beau­tiful event for my family. As we arrived, the first thing I noticed was the scenic beauty of the grounds; the moun­tains sur­rounding the open fields impart an imme­diate sense of peace and calm.
It was won­derful to see the mix of “pil­grims”: other fam­i­lies with young chil­dren, a won­derful variety of ages from the Brooklyn housing pro­jects and beyond, a group of young sem­i­nar­ians from Fordham University, a former Heart’s Home vol­un­teer taking a day off from her grad­uate studies at Yale, trans­planted French fam­i­lies, many Spanish-speaking men and women. Somehow, we all belonged, because we had a common pur­pose: to par­tic­i­pate in the inau­gu­ra­tion of the shrine.

We began our pil­grimage across the prop­erty with a rosary; as we paused after each decade to reflect on the joyful mys­teries, it struck me how much Mary’s early joys are entwined with her later suf­fering at the foot of the cross. The med­i­ta­tions brought me deeper into the mys­tery of how suf­fering and joy are inter­re­lated and both redeemed by Christ.
Our pil­grimage ended at the shrine, a wooden struc­ture housing a sculp­ture of Our Lady with her arms around her son, whose wounded, upturned hands and pierced feet bring the viewer to that painful but cru­cial pause between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, where we feel most bereft, but where Christ, in his com­pas­sion, is pre­sent to us in our empti­ness.

The out­door mass and lunch were fol­lowed by a talk on com­pas­sion, the charism that defines both Heart’s Home and the shrine itself: the will­ing­ness to remain in that place where suf­fering feels most absurd, and to know that this is pre­cisely where Christ meets us. Thank you for this beau­tiful shrine to Our Lady, and for an inspiring day of pil­grimage!”

Rachel O.

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