One of the most realiistic and most effective means of bringing Our Blessed mother to the attention or lethargic Christians is "The Pilgrim Virgin." This practice originated at Fatima on the 30th anniversary (May 13th, 1947) of Our Lady's first Apparition there. On that date the Bishop of Leiria blessed two statues of Our Lady of Fatima and sent them on distant pilgrimages - one to the Far east, the other to the West. The statues are exact replicas of the official one, which was made according to the instructions of Lucy, and which is venerated in the Chapel of the Apparitionns at Cova da Iria. There is reason to believe that Our Blessed Mother herself inspired this beneficial pracitce of "The Pilgrim Virgin." It has many times received the blessing and the approval of the Holy Father.
The basic idea of "The Pilgrim Virgin" is this: Most people are unable to make a pilgrimage to Fatima. Our Lady, with characteristic humility and love, overcomes this difficulty by reversing the process. She becomes the Pilgrim. Instead of your making a pilgrimage to her home at Fatima, she makes a pilgrimage to yours. Through her "Pilgrim Statues" she is hurryingaroundthe world collecting prayers and sacrifices in reparation for the sins committed against her Divine Son.
The original idea of one "Pilgrim Virgin" for the Orient Occident soon expanded and multiplied. Nations like Portugal and Spain, not content to wait years until one of the international "Pilgrim Virgins" could come to them, asked for one of their own. Then dioceses, and cities and parshes wanted their own. Toeday, only God and His Heavenly Mother can number the Fatima statues now on pilgrimage throughout the world.
The Ambassadors of Mary, an organization which was founded in 1946, decided to take on this beneficent parctice of the "Pilgrim Virgin" as a Marion Year project. Accordingly, at our First Saturday Retrreat in May 1954, the first "Pilgrim Virgin" was blessed and sent on its way to Chicago homes. Within a few weeks, however, there were more requests for the Virgin than could be fulfilled in three years. On the first Saturday of October, therefore, three more "Pilgrim Virgins" were blessed and sent on their pilgrimage of love, and many more have been added since then. As of 1987 there were a total of 190 statues on pilgrimage in our country and in foreign lands. The ritual of the "Pilgrim Virgin" is very simple. Each of the statues is in charge of a voluntary "Guard of Honor" recruited from the Ambassadors of Mary. Every Saturday, at the appointed hour, the "Guard of Honor" goes to the home where its "Pilgrim Virgin" is enthroned. There, kneeling with the family, they recite the Rosary and Prayers to the Mother of God, Litany of B.V.M. and Act of Consecration to Jesus through Mary. Then they cover the "Pilgrim Virgin", carry it out to their car, and drive on to the family for whom it is next reserved. During this transit journey they recite our "Rosary On Wheels". Arrived at the next home, they set up the statue in the place prepared, kneel wth the family, recite the Rosary and other prayers to Our Lady. Then the Guard of Honor reminds the family of the obligations toward the "Pilgrim Virgin", namely, that they recite the Rosary before the statue at a fixed hour each day, and they will invite their friends and neighbors to join them. The "Pilgrim Virgin" remains in each home for one week - from Saturday to Saturday. On the following Saturday the Guard of Honor returns to take Our Lady to another home.
Recently we modified our ritual on the second Saturday to include the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home. We highly recommend the Enthronement and make it available to you on request.
There are three ways in which you can participate in the graces which Our Laddy most certainly grants to the "Pilgrim Virgin" project.
1. By acccepting the invitation to visit the a"Pilgrim Virgin", and join in the Rosary whenever it is in the home of your friends or neighbors.
2. By asking to have the "Pilgrim Virgin" come to your home for one week. That procedureis very simple. Just click on the [ambassadors of mary ]email. Or write to Ambassadors of Mary, 2248 N. McVicker Ave, Chicago IL. 60639. Or sign a request card while visiting the "Pilgrim Virgin in the home of a friend.
You can offer yourself as an HOnor Guard for yet another "Pilgrim Virgin". We cannot, however, send out another "Pilgrim Virgin" until we locate fervent and self-sacrificing Catholic laymen who will be completely responsible for its pilgrimages. Saturday is OUr Lady's Day, and that must be the day of her pilgrimage. This offer, however, is an excellent opportunity for any Catholic laymen who want sincerely to respond to Our Lady's oft-repeated pleas for prayers and sacrifice. If you are interested, email or wrie to The Ambassadors of Mary. The infallible test as a man's loyalty to Our Lady is sacrifice.
The spiritual benefits of the "Pilgrim Virgin" project should be ob vious to any Catholic. Besides producing more sacrifices and more Rosaries, it actually assures you of a personal visit of Our Blessed Mother herself to your home.