Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Pilgrimage to Berrima Shrine

Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, Penrose Park, NSW, Australia
Photo from: http://penrosepark.com.au/

While we were visiting family in Sydney, we received several invitations to visit the Berrima Shrine. We were finally able to go just a couple of days before we left. Located about 150 kilometers SW of Sydney, the drive there is pleasant, dotted with rolling hills, farmlands and eucalyptus trees. Catholics of different cultures and languages flock here. It is the melting pot of the Catholics in Sydney. The Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy was established in the mid 1970s in Penrose Park near Berrima. Here you will find Australia's only officially crowned icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Jasna Gora, also known as the Black Madonna. It was brought here from Poland in 1983 and is under the custodianship of the Pauline Fathers.

The Main Altar of the Church
The Crowned Icon of Our Lady of Jasna Gora

The area surrounding the church of Our Lady of Mercy has become a spiritual oasis for Catholics. Set in a typical Australian bush area are 43 chapels built by the different ethnic communities, featuring traditional architecture native to a particular country and dedicated to patron saints from these countries. Most of the chapels are the size of a small room with an altar, some offer seating, others a place to kneel, pray and contemplate. I particularly liked the Indian  Chapel with a life-size figure of Mother Teresa in prayer. For a virtual visit, here is a link to the International Shrines at Penrose Park - http://penrosepark.com.au/international_chapels/

Internatrional Chapels

The Chinese Chapel
The Vietnamese Madonna and Child
The Indonesian Chapel

When we were there, it was the feast day the Italian saint, San Gabriel  Dell'Addoralata also known as St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, who was born in Assisi and is the patron saint of Abruzzi, Italy.  There were hundreds of Italians celebrating, enjoying food and music in large tents set up for the feast. The site is also a very popular place to visit on the 13th day of each month where a procession, rosary prayers and mass is held for the devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. The procession from the church, while saying the rosary, leads up to a grotto, at the edge of the bush,  built atop a hill to replicate where the original miracle of our Lady occurred in Fatima, Portugal. At the bottom of the hill to the right is a re-creation of the tomb of Christ, similar to what we saw in Jerusalem. You can also follow the Stations of the Cross through the bush.

Our Lady of Fatima Grotto

Of course, we did not miss stopping and praying at the shrine built through the efforts of the Filipinos of the greater Sydney area dedicated to the first Filipino saint,  San Lorenzo Ruiz and also to the second Filipino saint, San Pedro Calungsod.

San Lorenzo Ruiz

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz is a Filipino saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. A Chinese-Filipino, he became the country's protomartyr after his execution in Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate during its persecution of Japanese Christians in the 17th century.
Born: 1600 · Binondo, Philippines
  • Died: Sep 29, 1637 · Nagasaki, Japan
  • Spouse: Rosario Ruiz
  • From Wikipedea

    Prayer to San Lorenzo Ruiz
    O San Lorenzo Ruiz we come to you with confidence as our kin and brother. You have undergone misfortunes and tremendous pains, help us in our trials and frustrations to firmly trust in God's loving Providence and Fatherly goodness. Obtain for us the graces we need, especially: (choose one) 1) Peace and Harmony in the World, 2) Perseverance in our priestly and missionary vocation, 3) Courage and Strength to resist temptations, 4) Generosity in doing God's will and in responding to our seminary formation, 5) other urgent, important and relevant intention may be expressed).
    San Lorenzo Ruiz, we pray for the needs of the Church, for our country, for the peace of the world, and for our particular needs.
    Saint Pedro Calungsod, also known as Peter Calungsod and Pedro Calonsor, was a Roman Catholic Filipino migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist who, along with the Spanish Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.
    From Wikipedia

    Prayer to San Pedro Calungsod

    San Pedro Calungsod student, catechist,

    young migrant, missionary, faithful friend, martyr,

    you inspire us by your fidelity in time of adversity;
    by your courage in teaching the Faith in the midst of hostility;
    and by your love in shedding your blood for the sake of the Gospel.
    Make our prayers your own
    (Pause to mention your intentions)  
    and intercede for us before the throne of Mercy and Grace
    so that, as we experience the help of Heaven,
    we may be encouraged to live and proclaim the Gospel here on earth.Amen

    A pilgrimage here to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, the international chapels, the Our Lady of Fatima Grotto and the Tomb of Christ is primarily a religious endeavor but it is also an act of recognition and understanding of different cultures connected spiritually and socially as one  celebrates being Catholic. Visiting the Shrine Of Our Lady of Mercy at Penrose Park is a testament that  different cultures, race, ethnicity and ages can come together in one faith .

    My husband and I in front of the Filipino Chapel
    We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Nani and Janet for taking us here. It was truly a very memorable day. By the way, if you get a chance to visit the shrine, try to allow time to visit the nearby historic town of Berrima and have some tea and scones at the Magpie CafĂ©.