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Big Dog Train – Today is Nov.04/11

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In Summation of my time in Czestochowa, Poland, for lack of time to write:

Sisters’ Bridgettine in Poland and in particular, Sister Eli, abounded in grace and care for me and my mission.

I was given a heater for my room (without my asking for one).

Was given medicine and vitamins to fend away any possible illness.

I was prayed for. I was told to rest.

I was given a map of the churches in Czestochowa.

I was personally taken to Jasna Gora for a quick introductory tour and led to the names I needed to discuss a future documentary project.

I was fed. Was I ever – one night even, food was ordered out since food was scarce in the house – Sister paid for it. Refused to let me pay…! I was given chocolates to eat during the day to keep my energy going when I mentioned I wasn’t going to stop to eat. When I mentioned the chocolates were good, later in the evening I was given a box of hazelnut chocolates.

Because the sisters here speak Polish and Russian, and Sister Eli is the only sister in the house who speaks English well enough, she becomes my personal shepherd. She also orders taxi’s and negotiates my train ticket to Krakow (after I had purchased one to the wrong train station in relation to my Krakow hotel).

I spent most of the first day taken by the life in Jasna Gora – shooting photos and getting information about the monastery. Besides being Poland’s number one pilgrimage spot, it is also considered the spiritual center of central Europe.

The Black Madonna hangs here in a chapel (copies of it abound throughout Europe)– when it is uncovered, a fanfare of trumpets and drums is played to announce it’s revealing – the checkered marble floor is covered with people on their knees for the unveiling, and it is moving. The walls of the chapel are decorated with the crutches and prosthetics from the healed, sent here as gifts – I am told.

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The Lady (The Black Madonna) has different outfits that she wears not unlike the Emerald Buddha in Thailand.

A couple million people a year come here to pray to The Lady. Some walk around the inside of the inner chapel on their knees. It is all most reverent. The belief of healing is powerfully felt.

In the evening I head to the cemetery. It is All Souls Week – day two (Halloween in the States). In Long Beach California herds of zombies parade the street. Here, thousands of people respectfully show up at the cemetery with flowers and candles to honor their lost loved ones. I say prayers for my Mom.

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Day two, up at 6am and out in a taxi at 6:30 – no breakfast – but I have some chocolates. Sister Eli gives me what is similar to a large Twix wafer for later in the day.

I visit all the rest of the churches – a few are closed – the rest are uninteresting after having experienced Jasna Gora.

I return to Jasna Gora for a quick tour with Father Simon. He gives me his email and a connection to the press office. I visit father Stanley at press and he gives my project idea his blessing and says I need to contact the prior, sending my letter to father Simon to give to Prior.

Sister Eli takes me for a walk on the last night to see Jasna Gora in the evening and to the evening prayers, take my mind off of work, and say my good-bye to The Lady.

Sister Eli has my coffee and breakfast waiting for me downstairs at 7am – she made a lotus flower out of a purple napkin and inside it a smiling angel figurine. She said I could give it to a child and make them smile. Next to the napkin flower is a ten-bead rosary made from Holy Land seeds.

I pay up for my three night stay.

She calls a taxi. I give here some jpgs and promise her I will draw here a Jesus when I get home and mail it.

I am on a train on my way to Krakow where I will meet Scott. There is a big black dog at my feet.

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