The Junior Ladies of Charity at St. John’s Prep, Astoria, recently sponsored its annual pilgrimage to the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Germantown, Philadelphia. A highlight on the Prep calendar, 55 students departed Astoria bright and early.
Arriving in Philadelphia, they were welcomed by Father Miles Heinem, C.M. The students viewed a documentary on St. Vincent de Paul, his spiritual base, his vision and impact on society. After discussion time, the students attended a talk on St. Catherine Laboure, D.C., and learned about the Blessed Mother’s appearances at Rue de Bac, Paris, in 1830. The history of the Miraculous Medal was also explained. Students then visited the shrine and attended Mass celebrated by St. John’s Prep alum Father Joseph Shea, C.M.
After lunch, the students toured the Marian Museum and participated in a final discussion. Each student was given a Miraculous Medal before leaving the shrine and left with a deeper understanding and connection to the Prep’s great spiritual roots.
The Junior Ladies had been awarded a very generous grant from the Ladies of Charity USA. This enabled the Junior Ladies and classmates to attend a morning retreat with Sister Sharon Horace, D.C. These students went to St. Vincent’s Retreat Center located about a mile from the shrine. Their day engaged them in contemplation, action and reflection.The morning’s focus was on St. Vincent’s Way, and the afternoon was devoted to a service project at one of three Germantown sites. The students served at De Paul Elementary School; My Place, a home for disabled homeless men; and St. Catherine’s Retirement Home.
Before leaving Germantown, students also visited and prayed at the shrine. All the students were in agreement that both the retreat and the service project were powerful experiences. They all felt challenged to see more truly like St. Vincent and to walk more humbly with those neglected or cast aside by society.
St. John’s Prep was founded by the Vincentian Fathers in 1870. Members of the worldwide Vincentian family, the school remains committed to the Vincentian mission and to developing leaders committed to joyful service and social justice.