On Saturday 6 May, a group of pilgrims left Sint Kwinten early in the morning for Our Lady of Basse-Wavre.
People from different nations and from the faith communities of Sint Michiel and Sint Kwinten thought it was worth “sacrificing” a day to go on pilgrimage.
Accompanied by two dogs, our group started our journey around 8 o’clock, in the direction of Heverlee Woods.
The entire rosary was prayed, and the Hail Mary resounded through the forest in many different languages.
Through forests, villages and fields, under sunshine and at the end briefly a rain shower, with all the sounds of nature – the singing of the birds, the wind, the rustling of the leaves – we couldn’t help but think of Psalm 104:
“In the ravines you opened up springs, running down between the mountains, supplying water for all the wild beasts; the wild asses quench their thirst, on their banks the birds of the air make their nests, they sing among the leaves. From your high halls you water the mountains, satisfying the earth with the fruit of your works: for cattle you make the grass grow, and for people the plants they need, to bring forth food from the earth.”
In between, there was an opportunity for conversation and a chance to get to know each other better.
Arriving in Basse-Wavre, we were welcomed with festive chimes and treated to home-made cakes and drinks. Priests Blaise and Jean-Baptiste and volunteer Jacqueline welcomed us with open arms and thanked us for our faithfulness in coming to the shrine every year.
As the Marian chapel was closed due to flooding, we could not make the small tour under the reliquary this year; but, as the reliquary was placed in the basilica, many went there to pray for a while.
Fr Tuli, who had accompanied us throughout the pilgrimage, presided at the Eucharist and explained in his homily that Mary is the best “way” to get to know Jesus.
Then we were able to return to Leuven, and a small miracle became reality, as there were enough cars present so that no one had to return by train.
We hope to go back to Basse-Wavre again next year in May and can only pray silently: Our Lady of Peace and Concord, pray for us and be an intercessor for all the faith communities of Leuven.