SANCTUARIES OF THE HOLY MARY MANAGED BY THE FRIARS MINOR IN POLAND (Koronowane wizerunki matki Bozej w sanktuariach znajdujacych sie pd opieka Braci Mniejszych Obserwantow w Polsce w XXI wieku)
A large number of centers of Marian devotion, as introduced here, were built and developed at the same time as the respective foundations of Franciscan convents. The majority of them, however (Hrubieszow, Lezajsk, Rzeszow, Skepe, Kazimierz Dolny, Pinczow, Wambierzyce) existed before the arrival of the Friars Minor. There were also centers that were developed after the arrival of the friars, such as Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and Pilica. When the sect appeared simultaneously with the foundation of a convent - or even after it - the believers' devotion developed spontaneously. It was only afterwards, as time passed, that the friars started new forms of worship in the spirit of Saint Francis, who had the large sect of the Virgin Mary. If they instead took over pre-existing sanctuaries, they would immediately take Franciscan shape. The majority of sanctuaries managed by the Friars Minor Observant focused on images of the Mother of God with the baby Jesus; there are only statues of the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus in a few locations. The ecclesiastical authority recognized the extreme importance of some of these images and statues, and even set up centers of Marian devotion on an international level, like Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. Among all the sanctuaries overseen by Observant Friars in Poland, those of the Marian devotion are not only predominant in numbers, but also in frequency of pilgrimages.
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