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Matka Boża (Mother of God of Gietrzwald), Gietrzwałd, Olsztyński, Warmia, Poland

Commemorated on June 27, September 8
Matka Boża (Mother of God of Gietrzwald), Gietrzwałd, Olsztyński, Warmia, Poland In 1877 two girls had a majestic appearance of the Immaculate Conception, who recommended the recitation of the rosary, promised an end to religious persecution and the reopening of Catholic churches, and blessed the water source.

The Virgin Mary is referred to in Polish girls, despite the prohibition of Prussian authorities were trying Germanization place.
Gietrzwald is a rural district in the county of northern Poland. The village of Gietrzwa? D is 18 kilometers west of the capital Olsztyn ragional.
This village is the Marian Shrine, known as the Polish Lourdes, destination of many pilgrimages. Church of the fifteenth century, enlarged in the nineteenth century in the Gothic style to the miraculous painting of the Virgin and Child from the XVI century.
Gietrzwald land is located in the region of Warmia, on the road between Olsztyn and Ostroda. It was on this land centuries ago inhabited by tribes of Prussians, where he died martyred St. Adalbert, patron of Warmia and Poland.
The neo-Gothic church of Saints Peter and Paul and the Nativity of the Virgin was built straddling the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and since 1970 has the title of minor basilica. The miraculous image of Our Lady of Warmia is worshiped here since the sixteenth century.
It represents the Virgin and Child on the left arm. Jesus in his left hand holding a book and raises his right hand in a gesture of blessing. Until the last century the cult of Our Lady was limited to nearby counties.
Gietrzwald is located in an area of Poland, rich in history and natural beauty, in the region of Warmia-Masuria. At the time of the apparitions, the region was under the domination of Prussia, particularly harsh and severe, and Poles being Catholics, forbidden to speak Polish.
In Gietrzwald occurrences took place nineteen years after the apparitions at Lourdes. During these difficult times, the faithful of Gietrzwald were closely united around the frame of the old church depicting the Mother of God and the Christ Child.


In 1873 the Polish language was banned in all schools of Warmia and under the Kulturkampf, all religious congregations, except those ocupanban of patients, like the Daughters of Charity were deleted.
It was in these circumstances that the Madonna appeared in Gietrzwald in 1877. The pastor of the parish, Weichsel Augustine (1830-1909), German, quickly became convinced of the authenticity of the apparitions from the beginning.
From June 27 to September 16, 1877, the Virgin Mary appeared 166 times two girls, daughters of peasants Szafranska Giustina 13 and Barbara Samulowska 12.
Virgin said it was the Immaculate Conception and recommended to recite the rosary always and everywhere, but especially in the family.
He also promised an end to religious persecution and the reopening of Catholic churches.
The two seers born in Woryty, a few miles from Gietrzwald. Giustina was born in 1864, Barbara in 1865.
It was after the exam for first communion catechism that Giustina saw the Virgin, on June 27, 1877, up from a tree in front of the church, near a fountain. The girl saw an extraordinary splendor, and then the Virgin dressed in white.
On June 30 Barbara also saw the Virgin with Giustina. The apparitions continued daily until September 16, 1877, less than three months. The Catholic population in the region was deeply moved and felt such appearances as a gift of the Mother of God to his people, by perseverance in faith despite being so harshly persecuted.
The girls, from the beginning, had no doubt that the Virgin appeared.
Giustina asked in the first appearance: "What does the Mother of God."
The answer was: "I want every day to recite the Rosary."
Samulowska Barbara asked, "Who are you?".
And get an extraordinary response: "I am the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception."
On 1 August Barbara asked, "Parishes that do not soon receive priests?".
And got this response: "If people pray fervently, then the Church will not be persecuted, even parishes that have no priests."
On August 11, Barbara said, "The Church in Poland regain freedom?".
Mary simply responded: "Yes."
The faithful performed many requests to the Virgin by girls. The answer was almost always: "Recite the Rosary."
Barbara Samulowska, on 1 September, asked the Virgin what the pastor wanted Gietrzwald.
Our Lady gave the following response: "That always invoke me, I've always been a protection for him and I will be until the end."
Especially poignant were the words spoken to the girls on September 8, the day of the Nativity of Mary: "Do not be troubled, for I am with you."
Also on 8 September Our Lady blesses the water from a source close to the place of the apparitions, ensuring that they do miraculous healings. Other people saw Mary of Nazareth, including Elizabeth Wieczorek (23 years) and Elizabeth Bilitewska (45).
On September 16, with great presence of faithful, the Virgin showed last blessed the source was on the lawn, and his last words were: "Recite the Rosary."


Founded in the 1300s, Gietrzwald (pron. Gyetshfaoot) lies among gentle hills along the river Giłwa in northeastern Poland. On one of these hills is the Marian shrine, now a big pilgrimage complex. By 1500, Gietrzwald celebrated its patronal feast on September 8, the Birth of Mary, and was known for a miraculous icon of the Mother of God, a hodigitria depicted beneath angels holding a banner proclaiming "Ave regina coelorum, ave domina angelorum" (Hail Queen of Heaven, hail Mistress of Angels). The image was crowned in 1717. Pilgrimages to Gietrzwald revived in 1877, when two girls, Justina Schaffrinski and Barbara Samulowski, had apparitions of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception there beginning on June 27, featuring the Lourdes-like discovery of a healing spring and messages in Polish stressing the importance of praying the Rosary. On September 16, 1877, the day of the final apparition, 50,000 people attended, and a statue of Mary was blessed and installed in a small chapel. At that time, Prussia ruled the region and had banned the use of Polish in the schools. Local residents, as well as Prussian officials, recognized the significance of the Queen of Heaven's speaking in Polish: a divine mandate to use the native language. After a hundred years of reported conversions and healings, Catholic Church officials finally approved these devotions in 1977. (Information from the shrine's site,, and elsewhere. Picture from "Sanktuarium Matki Bożej w Gietrzwaldzie," Moje Pelgrzymki,  



The apparitions were recognized canonically September 11, 1977 by then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla.

The Sanctuary Gietrzwald became an active center of Polish patriotism. Despite the persecutions of the Prussian authorities, the influx of the faithful continued uninterrupted.
The pilgrims who come there prayed before the image of Our Lady of Warmia, with the figure of the Immaculate placed in the exact place of its occurrence, by the fountain blessed Mary.
In the 15th century, a shrine was built on stone. He was consecrated around 1500, under the invocation of the Nativity of Our Lady. Devotion to the Mother of God quickly became well known in Gietrzwa? d. It has survived to this day.
The church was rebuilt several times. The first time a major repair was done in the 16th century. In the Baroque period, the temple was decorated with new altars. In mid de1790, Bishop Ignacy (Ignatius) Krasicki gives the church two new titles: Saint John Apostle and Saint Apostles Peter and Paul.
The shrine acquired the present form of the Roman cross instead of the previous box immediately after the apparitions, when Weichsel Augustyn became the pastor. It is also during this time that the wooden tower was demolished and built a brick with a Gothic ceiling. The church roof was covered with shingles and sheet metal tower.
Then, in the 19th century, the then parish priest Józef led an expansion of the church. Strengthening the foundations and walls.
Since August 1945, are guardians of the shrine Gietrzwald the Canons Regular of the Lateran Krakow. they have is thanks to the churchyard was recently renovated. Before the ceremonies of the centennial of the apparitions of Our Lady, the interior of the sanctuary was completely renovated.




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