The subject-matter of my article is a change affecting the discourse on miraculous healings in a Catholic Marian sanctuary – Kalwaria Pacławska – run by Franciscan friars in the South-Eastern Poland and a way in which those changes affect pilgrims’ bodies. In Kalwaria Pacławska there meet, intersect and compete various religious and secular discourses and they all influence emotions and bodily sensations accompanying pilgrimage to this sacred site. One of those discourses has been introduced to Kalwaria just recently. The central element of the sanctuary is the miraculous image of Virgin Mary which is the goal of numerous pilgrimages from both Poland and Ukraine. After the publication of the encyclical Laudato si’ by Pope Francis, the Franciscans at the sanctuary began to emphasize the influence of nature on miracles in Kalwaria. They successfully created a religious ecological discourse on nature which supports miraculous healings and make people feel the natural energy in the sanctuary. On the day of their patron saint (4th October) in 2015 Franciscans erected a new chapel of St Francis who has patronage over ecologists. Since then they have consequently continued to put the stress on the beauty of nature and its impact on sanctity of the place. Resulting from this the sanctuary is chosen by the faithful as the goal of their pilgrimage not only because of the miraculous image's fame, but also due to the natural surroundings of the sanctuary. These are believed to be supporting God's power of healing according to the Franciscans and by the faithful attending their sermons. They also describe the very place, i.e. Kalwaria, as closer to God, since its natural environment is depicted as almost original, unspoiled God’s creation. Healing is no longer an exclusive matter of the miraculous image, but also of the place which has a healing potential deriving directly from the reservoir of nature which directly affects pilgrims’ bodies, their feelings and emotions. The sensational forms (B. Meyer) and their influence are now interpreted not only within religious framework, but also ecological one.
"Natura Sanat: On Ecological Aspects of Healing Miracles in Kalwaria Pacławska, Poland,"
Journal of Global Catholicism:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://crossworks.holycross.edu/jgc/vol2/iss2/3
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