Traveling image inspires devotion
By Michelle Martin
When Ed Sajewski and Tom Scott arrived at the Aguanunu household on a Tuesday evening, they were welcomed by father Chika, his brother-in-law, and the three Aguanunu sons.
Sajewski and Scott began packing up a 6-foot by 4 foot image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The image had shared the Aguanunus Southwest Side living room with the childrens trophies and the other religious pictures for the past week.
We will miss her, said Aguanunu, a member of St. Thomas More Parish who came to the United States from Nigeria 26 years ago. She brought us many blessings. Words cannot describe the blessings we feel.
The boys and their father helped Sajewski and Scott carry the heavy case outside and hoist it into the back of Scotts station wagon. Then Sajewski checked the next addressonly about two miles awayand they set off.
This has been Sajewskis Tuesday evening routine for six years, since he was appointed guardian of the image.
He collects names of people and churches that would like a future visit from the image, carefully packs it up, and brings it to the next place.
His wife, Judy, does most of the administrative work, taking the names of prospective host families, contacting them and fitting them into a schedule that sometimes runs two or three months ahead.
The Sajewskis have followed this routine since Father Jeremiah Duggan, then pastor of St. Bede Parish, and Mercy Sister Mary Charla Gannon received the image from Amana and Dado Lim, members of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Society, in 1994. The picture is a high-tech photograph of the actual image on Blessed Juan Diegos cloak, which hangs in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
The virgin appeared there, on the hill of Tepeyac, to Juan Diego in 1531, and she is now the patroness of all the Americas.
The image appeared on Juan Diegos cloak after he filled it with the flowers that appeared on the hill of Tepeyac. The virgin made the flowers bloom out of season in December, as a sign for the bishop that she really had appeared. When Juan Diego emptied the flowers out of the cloak in front of the bishop, the image remained. The faithful of Our Lady of Guadalupe credit her with helping to end the practice of human sacrifice in Mexico, and pray to her to end abortion now, nearly 500 years later, Gannon said.
Its the modern-day human sacrifice, she said. To eradicate it will take the faith of families, she said, so the virgin makes her way from home to home, inspiring family devotions.
Ed Sajewski explains the symbolism of the image to those who host the image. He also leaves a booklet to answer more questions.
There were few questions when Sajewski and Scott pulled up at the second house. James and Marge Muting, parishioners at St. Bede, have hosted the image five times, and they had everything ready, right down to a vase of roses.
She seems to come when we need her, said James Muting, who recently had been released from the hospital after treatment for a fractured vertebra.
Inside the house, his daughter-in-law Lora Muting, granddaughter
Diane Muting, 5, and neighbor Joan Stubenfoll were waiting. Once
the image was set up, grandson Tony Hahn, 10, dashed in, and the
family assembled in front of the picture for the rosary.