It has been almost 3 months since the International Congress of the Apostles of Divine Mercy, and for me it will be an unforgettable time when Jesus left a permanent trace of His presence. A special experience was the adoration of worship (04.10.), led by sister Emanuela and Fr. Rafał Jarosiewicz.
For many years I have been struggling with asthma, which intensifies especially during autumn and winter. That is why I take high doses of steroids. During adoration I had a coughing fit, so in order not to worry, I left the basilica thinking that I would go home. Since the pandemic, especially in church, I feel like a leper because people are afraid of my cough. But I decided to go back inside, to be near the exit, away from people. Kneeling under a pillar, I suddenly hear (at first I thought Fr. Rafal was talking about someone else):
“There is a person here who has suffered from asthma for years and has heard from the doctor that she will be taking this medication/inhalation for the rest of her life, she is exempt from it”. With a kind of great peace in my heart, I prayed to Jesus: Lord Jesus, if this is me, please let this grace convert my loved ones.
I hear Father Raphael say that this person should see this doctor and that this person already knows that he is healed. I felt that I was breathing differently, that the cough had stopped, but only prayer remained in my heart: “Lord Jesus, if this is me, please let this grace convert my loved ones.” When I walked out of the basilica, I already knew that I was healed, but a great peace remained in my heart. As I shared the grace of healing with my loved ones, I began to realize more fully what a tremendous gift I had received from the merciful Jesus. That night, when I could not sleep, I decided to pray the Rosary with the meditations of St. Faustina, and in the first meditation at the Annunciation I read:
“Now I know that you do not love me for gifts and graces, but my will is dearer to you than life.” It was probably a more powerful experience than in the Basilica, my heart could not contain that immense love for Jesus. The doctor confirmed that my asthma had subsided and allowed me to come off all asthma-related medications.
Now, in hindsight, I feel that the most important thing is not that I have health, but that Jesus came, that He stooped down to me, that He is the living God!
I know that because of this experience I am to be a special witness of his great mercy. Jesus reminded me of this at the vigil in Faustinum when I pulled out a passage from Diary: “The graces I am granting you are not for you alone, but for a large number of souls (D. 723).
Faustinum volunteer from Poland
Praised be Jesus Christ!
St. John Paul II – the great Apostle of Divine Mercy – once said these words: “May our love be powerful; may our hope be greater than anything that may oppose that hope.” With reference to this, I would like to sincerely thank the Sisters for undertaking the organization of the Fifth Congress of the Apostles of Divine Mercy this year with love and hope for its good fruits against all the unfavorable circumstances of pandemic that accompanied it.
Looking back today at the program of the Congress I can testify that practically each of its points was for me a source of moving and inspiring content on how to truly and joyfully celebrate God’s Mercy in God’s Word, Holy Sacraments and in everyday life.
One of the fruits of listening to the conferences, homilies and testimonies was, among others, a conversion of my inner attitude and a correction of my actions towards “the least of these”, which began to take place in me through the Gospel, during the homily and the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the first day of the Congress. They encouraged me to “reverse the order” in my thinking and stimulated the “imagination of mercy” to try to go a step further in my approach to helping the homeless – to start looking at them with more love and kindness in addition to sharing material things, replacing the distance and distrust that had existed before.
During one evening during the Congress I met a homeless man – Mr Piotr – and I think that it was not a coincidence. Merciful Lord helped me then to look at this person with love the way Christ looks at him, i.e. to dare to start a friendly conversation, ask about his name, share my testimony of experiencing God’s love, as well as stories of other people, e.g. Mr. Grzegorz, who gave his testimony during the Congress, or Servant of God Matt Talbot from Ireland – a patron of addicted people and currently a candidate for the altar. For God’s Mercy there are no hopeless situations and everyone, as long as they live, can still live happily and even become a great saint, as St. Faustina wrote.
My conversation with Peter ended with giving him a picture of Merciful Jesus “Jesus, I trust in You” as a symbol of assurance of my continued prayers. For the first time that evening I saw joy and hope in a homeless person after being with me, and I am very happy about that. That transformation continues with me and helps me to begin after the Congress to proclaim the Good News and to continue the kind, open conversations about faith, life and hope at the homeless shelter in the town where I come from.
Finally, I would like to thank you very much for the extremely beautiful adoration of Lord Jesus during the evening of praise – especially for its two elements – wonderful singing and music, and for the priest’s encouragement to pray by lying down in the sign of the cross (it was my first and also very fruitful experience of this form of prayer). I had the impression that they were inspired by God to help me express my personal praise and thanksgiving to God’s mercy, for which sometimes there are no words to express it properly. They have also been a help to me in my inner need to pray in profound humility, aware of my own unworthiness and grateful for the many Graces I have experienced so far from the Merciful Lord, thanks to whom I am now so happy about. Glory to the Lord!
Alicja, Member of “Faustinum” Poland
The 5th International Congress of Apostles of Divine Mercy in Kraków, in which I had the opportunity to participate, was for me a concrete testimony of what it means to be an apostle of Divine Mercy in life, in community and in the world.
I have in my heart very beautiful memories of intense moments, deep spirituality, emotions, sharing together with people from different parts of the world…. It was wonderful!!! I lived those days with a joy and great peace in my heart thanks to the constant prayer (Mass, adoration, daily chaplet) and the opportunity to listen and reflect on the beautiful catechesis of various speakers (bishops, priests, sisters …)
I was very moved by the testimonies of various people, they were painful stories, yes, but at the same time testimonies of the greatness of God the Father and the faith that heals hearts, works miracles, gives hope, purifies the soul and can make everything new …
In short, it was for me a full immersion in the mercy of God, which can be discovered and experienced at every moment: in the Eucharist, in confession, in the word of God, in our lives….
It was also exciting for me to be able to be in the places where our beloved St. Faustina lived and to pray together with the sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in an almost surreal atmosphere, away from the noise and sadness of the world.
We have all returned to our daily lives, but the grace that touched us in these places is still at work in our lives, and the constant prayer ensures that we are always in communion – as we were then – with all the apostles of Divine Mercy and with our dear and so hospitable Sisters, with whom we are in contact and whom we hope to see again soon here in Italy to continue the celebration with Jesus and St. Faustina.
Magdalena, “Faustinum” volunteer, Italy
Dear Brothers in Christ, I will begin my testimony with the words of our Sr. Faustina:
“Christ, You know how ardently I desire to be conformed to You. Make Your entire Passion my own, pour out all Your sorrow into my heart” (Diary 1418). (Acts 1418).
Fifth International Congress of the Apostles of Divine Mercy:
All scheduled for October 1, 2021, with my best friend Camillo (also a Faustinum member) arriving at the airport with the pleasure of sharing the journey with the other three Apostles of Divine Mercy – all excited about this Congress in Poland. When God unites the souls of His children, the love for Jesus overflows for one purpose: to love one another because God is in our midst.
I could tell a lot: the reception of our sisters from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, the prayer, the sharing with all the brothers from different countries and languages, the lunches, dinners, testimonies… but the most wonderful for me were the Tears. Yes, tears of healing …. God gave me the courage to turn away from Him and look at myself. I saw and felt the deepest misery of my soul, which wanted to come out of me – as if I wanted to vomit out all the evil that is rooted in my deepest intimacy, not realizing that all this dirt is accumulated in me – in the depths of my bowels – as St. Sister Faustina says. I have been through many phases in my life when I left home to come closer to the Lord Jesus. But maybe now was the right time, and it was in Poland that He made His call to me…
I can testify to you that of all the wonderful journey we experienced during those six days, the confession and Eucharistic adoration were so deep, so intimate, and so enlightening! Right down to seeing Jesus kneeling beside me, washing my feet…! “Jesus, are you really washing the feet of a Misery like me?”
I can only share with you all that Jesus is great and special, always ready to support us through selfless love!
“Oh Jesus, how poor I am spiritually…” If the world knew, if it opened its heart and gaze to You, everything would be Holy – exactly like the heaven and earth that God created.
Jesus, I trust in You!
Mary, to You I entrust myself!
Graziella, member of Faustinum, Italy
I would like to share a few thoughts related to the experience of Divine Mercy in the experience of the Fifth International Congress of the Apostles of Divine Mercy which took place at the Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Kraków-Łagiewniki on October 2-5, 2021 under the theme “Celebrating Mercy”. I am grateful to the Lord God and to the dear Sisters of Faustinum for such a beautiful preparation of this divine work and for leading us, Apostles of Divine Mercy, in the following days. Of all the conferences I had the opportunity to listen to online, the greatest gift that enriched my heart was the content delivered by three of our Sisters – Sister Miriam Janiec, Sister Eliana Chmielewska, and Sister Emanuela Gemza. In each of these sisters I found an extraordinary peace and joy and a desire to share with us the mystery of God’s mercy so that it also permeates our lives.
Sister Miriam Janiec’s conference “Mercy in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation” allowed me to rediscover the depth of the sacrament of Confession as a meeting of me – a sinner with Merciful God. I am fortunate that my regular confessor is a priest in whom I genuinely find the Merciful Father. My desire is to approach the sacrament of confession with even greater faith and awareness that it is the Lord Jesus Himself who acts in me, forgiving, reconciling and healing my soul. I would like to cling even more closely to Christ, whom I wound with my sins, rather than concentrate on cleansing myself of my guilt. I would also like to open myself with greater awareness to the fruits of Holy Confession through an attitude of trust in God’s Mercy, repentance, facing my sins in order to allow Jesus to fill my heart with love.
In the content of the conference “Mercy in the Sacrament of the Eucharist”, so beautifully presented to us by Sister Eliana Chmielewska, I marveled at the unusual selection of passages from St. Faustina’s Diary relating to Sister Faustina’s experience of the Eucharist. I felt that these words are very close to me, that also the Lord Jesus gives me a great grace of experiencing His living presence and being enveloped by His love during the Eucharist. I feel a special closeness with Him when I have Him in my heart after receiving Holy Communion. Then I am often moved and a great thanksgiving arises in me for all the good I receive from God in my everyday life, also through people He gives me. During the Offertory and in Holy Communion I entrust myself and all those I have in my heart, especially those who suffer in body and soul, to Divine Mercy with faith and trust. I wish to learn to give myself in the Eucharist, so that my suffering combined with the suffering of Jesus saves souls. I would like to seek Jesus in the Eucharist with even greater longing and often say, as St. Faustina did: “I want Holy Communion to be the most solemn moment of my life”. In this desire and in building an even greater closeness to Jesus, I find valuable the questions that Sister Eliana posed: “Do I believe that Jesus wants to meet me? Do I want to receive His love, tenderness, grace?” I also want to ask the Lord Jesus to experience greater concentration during the Eucharist, to get rid of distractions in order to draw from the Source the grace of power and transformation, to feed on this most precious Food of Love in order to saturate myself with it and to carry it to others for the satisfaction of all hungers.
Sister Emanuela Gemza’s conference “Imagination of Mercy in the Life of St. Faustina and the Apostles of Divine Mercy” is for me a beautiful teaching and testimony of a Sister in looking at Merciful Jesus and drawing His Love to share it with others. Sister Emanuela spoke these words to us: “We all need the love that God pours out on us, only then we are able to bring the love to others. What we receive from God is to be shared. God wants to minister to us and work in the lives of those we meet.” I will admit that this is a truth very close to my heart. I know that God, in His love, has called and gifted me in such a way that I can give His love and myself to others. I try to do it mainly by being close to other people with a good word in their joys and sorrows, by listening patiently, assuring them of prayer and taking them to God, by uniting my suffering with that of Jesus, and also by sharing my musical talent in creating songs for the glory of God and for the benefit of people. I would like to have the imagination of mercy to help me shape my heart after the example of the Heart of Jesus, often to ask myself: What would you do in my place, Jesus? – as Sister Emmanuel suggests. I would also like to return in prayer, depending on the circumstances of daily life, to the further questions the Sister suggested: “Do you know why you are in this world? What are you supposed to do? How to use the gifts and talents he has given to you? How do you serve with the gifts and talents that God has given to you?” Since many years, and now in a special way, participating since this year in the formation of the Apostles of Divine Mercy, I have been trying to practice the forms of worship of Divine Mercy in spiritual communion with our Sisters. In my daily life I try to trust in Merciful Jesus and serve Him and others through deeds, word, and prayer – I clearly feel God’s guidance in this. I have an inner conviction that experiencing this year’s Congress of the Apostles of Divine Mercy has greatly contributed to gladdening my spirit and revitalizing my faith, hope and love.
In a special way the conferences of our Sisters touched my heart and aroused deep desire to live an even greater closeness to the Lord Jesus in the sacraments and prayer and in my daily life among my neighbors. These words are a great help for me in discovering and accepting the mystery of Divine Mercy.
Agnieszka, “Faustinum” volunteer, Poland
I do not belong to the Faustinum association, but since I first came to the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy a few months ago, I felt and saw very tangibly the care and concern of St. S. Faustina.
Being honest, many years ago, when I received a picture of her included her relics, I started to experience her care, but at that time I was not fully aware of it. However, it was not a problem to St. Faustina to caring for me.
Already during my first visit to the Sanctuary, I experienced the enormous, unexpected love of Jesus and His generosity in giving graces. I felt it so much that I returned to Łagiewniki several times within a few months. Driving like home every time.
So the participation in the International Congress of the Apostles of the Divine Mercy was a consequence of recent times.
Coming to Congress, I had no expectations. I assumed that there were no coincidences and that if the situation was so, I was going there for a reason.
What was most important to me was to be able to be at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy on October 5, on the anniversary of the return of St. S. Faustina to the Father’s kingdom and prepare for that day. During this time, she became very close to me that I wanted to spend this day with her.
I do not belong to any communities, so the first or even the second day of the Congress was for me a time of observation, listening, an attempt to draw on everyday life.
In the evening of the second day of the Congress, I realized that my presence in this has nothing to do with a coincidence … Once again, but very noticeable, I experienced favors that I could never ask God for. Also because, from a human point of view, I did not see the possibility of receiving them.
I felt how unimaginably precious child I am for God the Father. How great is His love. It is unimaginable … It is not a theory but a concrete action…
It is the love of the Holy Trinity that heals, organizes and prepares.
For what? Jesus, I trust in You…