Miracle of the Holy Family
Have you ever seen a picture of the Miraculous Icon of the Holy Family of Kalisz in Poland? If you look at it closely, you will see that it shows Jesus, Mary and Joseph as a royal family crowned and robed in gold and silver. Over them we can see God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
The Shrine of the Holy Family in Kalisz is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. Pilgrims asking for miracles and pilgrims giving thanks. Every year there is a very unusual pilgrimage of priests who come in procession wearing the striped prison uniform from the concentration camp of Dachau. These priests are the survivors of a miracle.
As you know, Hitler built Dachau primarily as a prison and death camp for priests from all over occupied Europe, but especially Poland. Hitler regarded the Church as the prime enemy of the Nazis, and he was determined to destroy the Roman Catholic Church, starting with priests. He joked that this death camp he built in Dachau was the biggest monastery in Europe.
As the Nazis were losing the war and the Allies were liberating the area near Dachau, the Nazis made plans to destroy the camp and kill everyone in it, which included several thousand priests, in order to destroy the evidence and all the witnesses to their terrible crimes.
The priests knew this. They knew freedom was a few weeks away, and they knew the plans the Nazis had for them…so they began a novena to the Holy Family of Kalisz…and they promised to make an annual pilgrimage to Kalisz for the rest of their lives if they were spared.
The miracle happened! The allies came not in three weeks, but in three days, and the Nazis, taken unaware, did not have time to put their deadly plan into effect. All the priests were saved, and so every year the pilgrimage of Dachau priests comes to give thanks! Thanks for their miracle and thanks for their lives.
Let us consider the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph. Their example of family life and love is set before us. Let us pray for our families and for the family of our parish…and pray for the miracle of freedom and life here and forever…pray that we might be free from the powers of Satan as the priests were freed from the Nazis at Dachau. Pray that our parish families might be strong, prayerful, charitable, holy, faith-filled and pure. Pray for the protection of the Holy Family for our priests and bishops. Pray that our families, our churches and our nation might be strong and holy!