Mary’s Rug

We have done so much in the last few days and experienced so much from the Basilica packed with 500 Aussies lead by our Bishops, and our musos leading the singing with added strength and instruments and Seth Harsh playing the 400 year old organ. To sitting on the grass at AGH reflecting on our experiences with our chaplains and Bishops.

It is overwhelming it is hard to put into words, but despite all this grandeur I want share the story of a unique journal, one that has woven our story, our joys, sorrows and triumphs, Mary’s Rug. Mary journals through crochet. Each day a square or four are crocheted and into each square is woven the colours and emotions of the day and experiences of the journey. For Mary the squares began when she left her beautiful girls and husband and travelled by train down to Sydney. The squares reflect the anxiousness of leaving home and journeying into the unknown. They tell the story of her mum’s birthday celebrated on the day we flew out. The plane square is imperfect reflecting the long hours flying and bumps along the way. I was privileged into a conversation with Mary and a bearded long haired man, a person she had only met earlier in the day, a fellow pilgrim from Wollongong. As Mary explained the way the yarn was twisted and turned in to trebles and linked to unite the square, the conversation turned to the spiritual connection of the Trinity ( represented in the trebles) and how the Spirit will be with us on our journey. That wasn’t a conversation I would ever have imagined hearing on that long journey.

Mary has each day woven many squares representing our journey: squares reflecting the colour and crosses of the stained glass windows in St John’s Cathedral, sombre squares from the Uprising Museum, golden squares for the sunflowers and square of Wadowice and a single ashen grey square for Auschwitz Birkenau. Yarn is gathered along the journey and the story of each square told and the hopes of us all are being woven into those squares. Deft fingers twisting and turning the ups and downs of the day into a thing of beauty.

Our group of 60 sixty each day asks about the squares and the conversation calls us all into the story. Tonight, the night of the opening Mass, I called over to see a couple of pilgrims feeling a bit tired and worn out from our long busy days only to find Mary and few friends on the floor crocheting. They had sent up a prayer space, with a green crochet square, the radio was loudly tuned to the Mass and they were following along with the liturgy. They didn’t want those who couldn’t make it miss out. For me as I watched, tonight’s squares wove the story of the corporal works of mercy, “visiting the sick”, a genuine weaving of the beatitudes. I didn’t get to the Mass or take communion with the hundreds of thousands in Blonia Park. I think I had a richer humbler Mass one in which tonight I was woven more deeply into Mary’s Rug and pilgrimage to the City of Mercy.

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