Posted by: Thomas Richard | August 6, 2018

Update on Gregory the Pilgrim

In May of 2015 I met Gregory Wietrzychowski, a painter, a pilgrim, a devoted son of our Blessed Mother Mary, who was on an extended pilgrimage around the U.S. to Marian Shrines, in prayers of reparation for sin. I wrote a blog essay on him and his work HERE. Gregory since completed that pilgrimage, and I’ve heard from him that he started another! He brought me up-to-date with his work of prayer, and he included some experiences near the close of the first journey. I asked Gregory if I could publish his words to bring up-to-date a bit, some of you who have expressed interest in his work of prayer. We did change one name in his account, but all else is as he experienced it.

Update on Gregory’s Pilgrimage….

Hello Thomas !

I am glad you and Deborah are doing well.

I did finish the Pilgrimage in Alexandra, Louisiana in end of November on 2016 so just a bit over two years.

I went back to Clear Creek Monastery in Oklahoma to work on duplicating a painting from the 1400’s by Jan Van Eyck one of his panels from the Ghent Alter Piece in Belgium.

I have been working on it for about a year and a half since I finished the Pilgrimage. I am about two thirds done right now.


Gregory’s Painting – duplicating a work from the 1400’s by Jan Van Eyck: one of his panels from the Ghent Alter Piece in Belgium

For the summer I went to San Francisco to start another Marian Pilgrimage from St. Anne’s church where there is a Shrine to St. Anne to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Oregon with the hopes to meet Archbishop Sample.

I made it up to Crescent City, Ca where a Priest Fr. Greg from St. Joseph’s church invited me to pitch my tent in his backyard.

I woke up at 1am and a few minutes later I had a heart attack and went to the Hospital in Crescent City.

Then I went to the Airport and was flown to Eureka, CA. by ambulance plane and taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where I had emergency surgery to put a stent in to stop the heart attack.

Now I am recovering at a place for now three weeks and in another week and a half I will be going back to Oklahoma by train thanks to my friends at Catholic Charities in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Then I will go back to Clear Creek Monastery to finish the painting for Father Abbot Anderson.

So the recovery is going good a lot of resting and praying. I am meeting people that I would have not met if not for the heart attack and I am offering them up to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for Her intercession for their conversions into the Catholic Church.

I was fortunate to be aware of what was happening during the heart attack and offered the sufferings up for those people in both emergency rooms and the flight nurses to again the Immaculate Heart of Mary for their conversions into the Catholic Church.

So at this facility where I am recovering I came across your blog Thomas and saw the article on my pilgrimage which thank you so much for that and I saw no contact so I just left that small comment.

Two Adventures on the Pilgrimage

I have been asked many times to write a book on the events that happened on the Pilgrimage to inspire a deeper devotion to Our Lady and the miracles that come with those devotions when we put all our trust with Her.

Gregory on Walking Pilgrimage

Gregory on Walking Pilgrimage, 2015

I will attempt to tell you what happened after you and your wife suggested the two places to go visit on the Pilgrimage I was walking in 2015 which was the first of what would take just over two years to finish.

After you dropped me off on the highway I walked the rest of the day. I then pitched my tent in wooded area next to the highway at sunset.

The next day I was walking carrying my backpack and frontal bag in prayer in the morning. It was sunny and very hot and humid the temperature was due to be in the high 90’s for the day with an index of 105 degrees.

There were no trees on the highway and the patchy clouds would occasionally shade the hot sun cooling the air for a few minutes.

I was running out of water in my gallon jug which had a little bit of stale water from the day before when I came across an old chapel.

It dawned on me to go across the divided highway and go to the chapel to check if it had a water spigot which it did, so I turned on the water and this really rust colored water came out. I let the water run and rust cleared, then I dumped the stale water out of my gallon jug. When I placed the water jug under the water spigot five seconds later the water stopped and the water tank went dry. I looked at the gallon jug and had less water than I had with the stale water. I put the water jug up to my nose and it had this very strong pungent sulphur smell. I had no choice but to dump the water out and I said, “God, Your Will be done not mine.”

I went back on the divided highway praying the Hail Mary prayers as I walked. When I was approaching a bridge that crossed a river with a two mile delta after the bridge.

I was approaching the bridge, I saw this 1967 station wagon pulling a trailer with an outboard motor boat coming off the bridge going opposite my direction. He pulled over and got out of the car and started waving both arms at me. I turned to him and he cupped his hands and yelled, “Do you need some water ?” I was stunned and yelled back, “Yes I do!”

We crossed this very wide highway, met at the center of the divided highway where this man gave me an ice cold bottle of water. It was quite a relief,  I thanked the man and offered him up to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a prayer as we parted ways, thanking God for this little miracle.

I cherished this bottle of water during my walk in the heat of the afternoon when it came to the time it went empty.

I went the rest of the afternoon without water. In early evening I was at a road crossing on the highway standing on the shoulder asking Our Holy Mother where can I find some water when a moment later these little sprinklers popped out of the ground on this private property adjacent to the shoulder. I got my empty gallon jug and filled it with water. I smelled the water in the jug which had a sulphur smell but it was drinkable.

The next day was a Sunday, it was just as hot as the day before but there were more puffy clouds in the sky to more frequent shade. With it being Sunday I was not able to go to Holy Mass.

During my walk in prayer praying the Rosary making stops when I felt heat radiating from my skin allowing to cool down to avoid heat stroke.

I was walking along the shoulder when a Black Cadillac Escalade SUV pulled up on the shoulder ahead of me. It stopped for a moment then pulled out on to the near lane and turned on a dirt ranch road kicking up dust turned around came up to the highway where it waited patiently to walk up to it.

Now mind you I was going to Mepkin Abbey as my next destination Shrine to Our Lady.

The driver a rather big man with black short hair in his thirties rolled down the window as I approached him and he yelled, “Do you need a ride ?” It was quite similar to the man with the bottle of ice water the day before. I said, “Yes !”
The man asked where I was going and I told him Charleston. The man replied he was going that direction as he got out of the SUV to open the back to put my backpack in. I saw some golf bags with clubs also in the back. The man said he was coming back from a weekend golfing trip with some friends.

I hopped from the humid 90 degree heat into the Cadillac Escalade, it was like heaven. There was  air conditioning and air conditioned seats with accordion shock absorption under the seats which made it feel you where sitting on a cloud.

I introduced myself to the man and told him I was on a pilgrimage walking in a figure eight across the country going to 150 Catholic Shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The man introduced himself as Rodger Truham and asked if I was Catholic which I acknowledged yes. Then Rodger told me he was a United Methodist and that he prays the Rosary. I did a double take kinda of look and replied, “Really!”

Then Rodger said, “When I pray the Rosary I always feel closer to Jesus !  And I pray the Rosary better than some Catholics!”

I was amazed at what Rodger said to me!

Then the phone rang and it was his mother. They were on the phone for sometime. When Rodger was done he told me we were approaching Charleston asking where I would like to be dropped off. I told him the nearest Catholic Church.

Well Rodger said, “I’ll do something better than that, I am going to drop you off at this Monastery named Mepkin Abbey!”

I looked at Rodger in shock because it was like he read my mind and it came out of the blue.

I told Rodger that Mepkin Abbey was my intended destination, as a Shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Rodger then turned up another highway and we stopped at a grocery store where he bought me all this food.

Then back on the highway heading to Mepkin Abbey Rodger said, “Oh!…. There is this other place also a Shrine to Mary in Kingstree!”

Again I said that is my next destination after Mepkin Abbey.

Rodger smiled and said, “Really…Because I have some family friends who run a funeral home next to the Shrine in Kingstree where if you have any problems you go there and they will take care of you. I will call them tonight to let them know you are coming.”

Rodger told me he is directing his family’s funeral home for his mother since his father passed away.

We arrived at the gate at Mepkin Abbey, it was closed and it was getting dark. Rodger got out of the Cadillac SUV and helped me with my bags then gave me a very generous donation with his business card.

We parted ways and I went into the nearby woods and pitched my tent thanking Our Lady for the amazing events that had just occurred.

The next day when the guest house opened I told the Guest Master, a lay person, that I was on a walking pilgrimage to 150 Catholic Shrines dedicated to Mary, if there would be any type of accommodation he could offer? The man told be they were full but to wait in the Chapel because there was a possibility of a cancelation.

I went ahead into the Chapel. There I prayed the Rosary, when half through the Rosary the man enters the Chapel telling me there was a cancelation and I could stay for three nights.

It was such a beautiful Monastery, the monks were very nice and the food very good. The silence was excellent where I prayed my Reparation Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I do this at each Marian Shrine I visited on the Pilgrimage.

After I spent three days at Mepkin Abbey I started my next walk to Kingstree in prayer. When I walk I pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and the Glory Be not in that order and I change the prayers as I walk and meditate. I pray the Rosary.

I also pray the daily Office, Terce, Sext, None and Vespers from the books I bought at Clear Creek Monastery. I just kneel on one knee on the side of the shoulder off the highway and pray the Office.

So on the third day of the pilgrimage from Mepkin Abbey to the Shrine of Our Lady of Joy in Kingstree, I was offered a ride about ten miles from a very nice man who dropped me off in Kingstree. I then pitched my tent next to the Shrine and in the morning I put my tent away.

I looked and saw the funeral home of Rodger’s family friend. There was a car in the parking lot and a hearse parked next to the main entrance.

I went to a large statue of Our Blessed Mother in the backyard to pray my morning devotion to Her. I then prayed this very long of Litany of Saints with about two hundred Saints in the Litany.

As I prayed this Litany of Saints about half way through I was approached by a woman who was the assistant to the Priest Fr. Stan.

She introduced me to Fr. Stan, a wonderful Catholic Priest and an expert on Marian Shrines. We had Holy Mass then Fr. Stan took me and his assistant to a restaurant where we chatted and I told some of the wonderful experiences and miracles I had witnessed on this very special pilgrimage and adventure with Our Holy Mother.

So later I asked Fr. Stan if he could touch a cloth to all the first class relics he had out in the Church. Fr. Stan touched the first class relics with the different pieces of cloth which then, the cloth turns into a 3rd class relic.

Then Fr. Stan told me there was going to be a conference tomorrow morning for thirteen women that were coming there from a town fifty-five miles away.  Fr. Stan told me I was more than welcome to take notes and then have Holy Mass.

Fr. Stan such a wonderful Priest and his knowledge of Our Lady and also St. Joseph was truly special. He invited me to stay in his guest house overnight.

The next morning I set up the tables in the community house next to the Chapel. Then the women arrived who were elderly and middle aged, and were really excited to hear Fr. Stan speak.

So I sat through the conference in the back taking notes, listening intently, when at the end Fr. Stan said, “We have a man here this morning who is doing a walking pilgrimage in a figure eight across the whole country. Gregory !….Can you stand up and tell these women what happened to you when that man in the Cadillac Escalade picked you up in Jacksonboro!

So I got up and proceeded with telling everything.… After I was done telling the story, Fr. Stan asked,”Now Gregory can you be so kind and tell these women the name of the man who offered the ride for you and where he is from ?”

I said, “His name is Rodger Truham and he is from Georgetown, South Carolina.”

All thirteen of the women gasped and turned their heads to me, wide eyed in total surprise. Then one of the women said, ” We all have known Rodger Truham since he was this high, a little boy !”

There was not a dry eye in the room including Fr. Stan. Our Lady of Joy filled that room of her Shrine so full of Joy it was impossible to not cry with the joy ! Truly a miracle !

This was just a small portion of other miracles that had happen on the pilgrimage and it was also an adventure with Our Lady in prayer and in abandonment to Her as a child to Mother in total trust.

Thank you Thomas !

God Bless.

Gregory the Pilgrim.


  1. Dear Thomas,

    Thanks for posting this update on our brother Pilgrim Gregory! Reading his account, I remembered the words of St. Louis De Montfort in his treatise on “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin”. St. Louis wrote that Jesus and Mary are never “outdone” in generosity. How beautiful to read of Gregory’s devotion and God’s blessings on him through Mary!

    May all of us, as God’s children, continue to learn from Jesus through Mary!

  2. Such a beautiful story. Thank you, Pilgrim Gregory for sharing this heart warming story. Our Blessed Mother and her Son love us and take care of us always. Thank you again, and please let us know how your travels are going. You will be in my prayers. Thanks for sharing, Thomas.

  3. […] I heard from Gregory again in 2018, and wrote a second blog entry to “update” my readers on his pilgrimage of prayer, on foot and in poverty, across this country, to religious sites honoring especially our Blessed Mother Mary. Her intercession, for the good of others, was the burden he carried in his heart. This blog entry is Update on Gregory the Pilgrim. […]

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