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Devotees to Mother Mary of Gratitude moving to save her Home

TORONTO – This story of the Marian Shrine of the Mother of Gratitude at 3100 Weston Rd. is captivating; and it has been unfolding right before our eyes in Emery Village, where Sheppard meets Weston Rd. A change of ownership may jeopardize what has become a focal point for Christian expressions of Faith, Hope and Charity.

But the sign (in the pic below), posted after I left the premises, sums up the resilience of those who turned “the Shrine” into a magnet for prayer, devotion, pleas for intercession and expressions of gratitude for changes in their lives and conditions. Cardinal Collins and other bishops have celebrated Masses and participated in other religious rituals on the cite. The Knights of Columbus have been ever-present to accompany the Faithful.

And, there have been many tens of thousands inspired by the serenity of the place and the [mystical] experiences attributed to “divine intervention” flowing from the connection. I have spent the last four decades mixing with peoples of various religions, agnostics, atheists, secularists; yet I was impressed by strength of belief manifested by those I met and by the testimonials that flooded my inbox when I returned home Saturday afternoon.

Who knew? TripAdvisor lists it as one of the places to visit in Toronto, offering suggestions of hotels close by. Blog Toronto has written it up as an idyllic, secret place of “miracles”. Other media have periodically covered stories surrounding the place, perplexed as to how to portray the location and the experiences it draws upon or manifests (here below are pics from some moments in the Marian Shrine).

It may all come to and end. The old Gardner Estate turned Monastery for the Order of St Basil (Ukrainian Rite) is slated for sale to a developer who appears determined to shut the place down and disperse the faithful. Lawyers have apparently been retained. As at time of going to print, neither of alleged parties have responded to email efforts by the Corriere Canadese to clarify positions.

There is enough intrigue and mystery surrounding the potential future to provide healthy script for a movie: delegations to the Vatican, communications with the Basilians in Western Canada, a developer whose head office is in the USA, a Family resources centre and the diocese in Toronto, not to forget the City Property Registration, Planning and Heritage Departments. People have provided services all along the way at their own expense.

To complicate matters more, the site falls within the Toronto Region Conservation Authority’s purview because it sits on a flood plain. Furthermore, it is subject to the by-laws of the old city of North York, according to a Planner who spoke on background. As of Friday, no change of ownership had been registered, no plans had been filed with the TRCA, and there were none in the queue. Moreover, a request to include the Shrine on the City’s list of Heritage sites is scheduled for consideration next month.

People have begun reaching out to some of the Alumni of St. Basil’s College [formerly] next door for participation in a resolution. City Councillor Anthony Perruzza has taken an interest, as has MPP Tom Rakocevic.

Meanwhile, popular support for the Shrine appears to be growing exponentially. Halyna Danko started a petition for support on August 9. As of August 19, 15,167 had signed.

The video below is from the Marian Shrine, Saturday 19th August: other previous videos are on Corriere Canadese’s YouTube channel.

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