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On September 4-6 an annual retreat for venerators of Divine Mercy will be held at the Center of Divine Mercy in Smižany, Slovakia. The theme of the retreat will be: In truth I tell you, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven (Mt 18:3). The hosts will be Fr. Artur Ciepielski and Sr. M. Antoniana Štullerová from the Košice community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy.

Monastic life involves changing one’s place of living and, often, also of the type of apostolic work. Usually, in mid-August, the sisters move to other convents, where they are sent due to their vocation of obedience. This frequently means not only a new place to live, but also a different kind of work. The sisters are sent wherever the Congregation is taking up new tasks or needs to answer to the needs of its apostolic work. For the sisters, it is an opportunity to acquire freedom of all earthly attachments in order to live only for God and His Kingdom.

In the last days of August, in the convents of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy which run Youth Education Centers operate (Krakow, Kalisz and Wroclaw), student dormitories, community centers or kindergartens, like in other educational institutions in Poland, preparations for the new school year are under way. Here, the opening of the school year is always accompanied by a Holy Mass, during which the teachers and the pupils and students ask God for His blessing and the graces needed during the next ten months, so that they may become more than just a period of effective learning, but also a time of fruitful spiritual growth.

It happened in Świnice, on 27 August 1905, at one o’clock in the afternoon. Stanislaw Kowalski, aged 40, a farmer from Głogowiec, in the presence of Franciszek Bednarek, aged 35 and Józef Stasiak, aged 40, both farmers from Głogowiec, appeared and showed us the female child born in the village of Głogowiec on August 25 this year, at eight o’clock in the morning, of his wedding wife Marianna née Babel, aged 30. This child received, at baptism held today, the name Helena, and her godparents were Konstanty Bednarek and Marianna Szewczyk. This provision of the rite of baptism from parish records was left by the parish priest, Father Józef Chodyński, who baptized the little Helena Kowalska. The Deed was drawn up in the Russian language, because it was still the time of the Partitions of Poland, when the country was not to be seen on the political map of Europe. Helena’s father, Stanisław Kowalski, signed this record in Polish. The godparents, who were illiterate, confirmed their signatures by an X. In the former parish church, today the Baptismal Shrine of St. Faustina, you can see the same font at which the baby Helena Kowalska became a child of God and a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, baptized two days after her birth, on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The grace of baptism was further developed in her life as she achieved the fullness of mystical union with God here on Earth. Today, she is venerated as an apostle of Divine Mercy, because Jesus chose her as a prophet of our time, and sent her into the world with the message of Mercy.

On August 22, the 18th bicycle pilgrimage will set off from the parish of St. Joseph in Wola, Warsaw, and the parish of Divine Mercy in Grójec to the family home of St. Faustina in Głogowiec. On the trail, the pilgrims are awaited at six Marian shrines (Rokitno, Niepokalanów, Szymanów, Miedniewice, Domaniewice and Mąkolice). They will reach Głogowiec on August 24th. On August 25, at approx. 8.30 am, Holy Mass will be celebrated outside. After the service, the pilgrims will visit the parish church in Świnice Warckie, which is the Baptismal Shrine of St. Faustina. The will also pray at the nearby cemetery with the graves of the parents and siblings of the Apostle of Divine Mercy. The pilgrims can join even on the day of the departure, on the route from Warsaw, Lodz, Rawa Mazowiecka or Grójec. The pilgrimage will be led by Fr. Michał Dłutowski and Fr. Mariusz Bernyś.

August 25th is the 115th birthday of Helena Kowalska – St. Faustina, known throughout the world of the Apostle of Divine Mercy. She was born as the third child in the family of Marianna and Stanisław Kowalski in the village of Głogowiec. The certificate of baptism states that she was born about eight in the morning, and on that year, it was a Friday. Sister Faustina’s mother – Marianna née Babel – recalled that she had sanctified her womb, because the earlier births nearly cost her life, but her subsequent children were born without problems. She said about Helena: “Blessed child, dearest daughter.” Sister Faustina, in turn, constantly thanked God for her parents, God-fearing, righteous and diligent  people who brought up their children in a spirit of faith and love of God and other people. Today, the birthplace of the Apostle of Divine Mercy belongs to her Baptismal Shrine, and remains under the care of the Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy’s convent in Świnice Warckie. The place of her birth is visited by pilgrims not only from Poland, but also other countries in the world, who travel along the trail of her life.

On August 23th, an annual indulgence at the Baptismal Shrine of the Apostle of Divine Mercy in Świnice Warckie will be held. At 10.00 am, a procession celebrating the relics of the Saint will proceed from her family home in Głogowiec to the parish church in Świnice Warckie, where at the field altar at 12.00 pm solemn Mass will be celebrated. Pilgrims coming from all over Poland and other countries will remain there to pray at the Hour of Mercy (3.00 pm) and recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. In the family home and parish of St. Faustina, two communities of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy live and operate: the active one and the closed one.

 

On August 23, devotees of Divine Mercy will come to the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki as part of the 6th National Pilgrimage organized on the anniversary of the consecration of the Divine Mercy basilica and entrusting the world to God’s Mercy by St. John Paul II. Holy Mass in the Shrine will take place at: 7.00 am, 8.30 am and 7.00 pm (chapel with the grace-famous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina), 9.00 am, 10.30 pm, 12.00 pm, 1.30 pm, 3.20 pm and 6.00 pm (the basilica). The program of the pilgrimage also includes presentations in tents on the square in front of the basilica and films screening. For more information, visit the Shrine’s rectorate’s website: www.milosierdzie.pl.

Hope for today’s world flows from Łagiewniki, where the death of St. Faustina was accompanied by God’s message of Divine Mercy, calling us to proclaim the biblical truth about the merciful love of God to every human being with the testimony of life, deed, word and prayer. Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy, Jesus said to Sister Faustina.  This message of light and hope, as St.  John Paul II called them, will be reminded to us by three bells which will be dedicated on August 23rd at the Łagiewniki Shrine. Two of them will be sent to Asia and South America: one to the cathedral in Manila, Philippines, and the second to the basilica in Trindade, Brazil. The bells were made in the workshop of the famous bell founder, Jan Felczyński.

On August 22th, at the John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., a virtual Evening with Merciful Jesus will be organized, due to the Shrine being still closed to the public because of the pandemic. Living in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic is not easy, writes Sr. Gaudia from the Washington community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, encouraging people to participate, but living in the time of the ‘spiritual pandemic of fear’ is even harder. This August Evening with Merciful Jesus will be a meeting with our Savior, who gives us all the reasons not be afraid. The program includes a presentation titled Do not be afraid!, which will be delivered by Father Paweł Sass, provost of the Nativity Parish in Washington, D.C. The meeting will start at 7 pm at the image of the Merciful Jesus with prayer of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The prayer will be followed by the Fr. Sass’ conference, and Adoration led by Mike Tenney. Video live will be available at the John Paul II National Shrine’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1221974838170055/ and YouTube channel.

August 17th is the 18th anniversary of the entrustment of the world to Divine Mercy by Pope John Paul II during his last pilgrimage to Poland at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki. After the consecration of the basilica, the Holy Father uttered words in which he entrusted the fate of the world and every human being to God, the Father rich in Mercy. These words became a daily prayer not only for the sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy and the pilgrims coming to the Łagiewniki Shrine, but also to millions of people in the world.

God, Father of Mercy,
Who revealed Your love in your Son, Jesus Christ,
And poured it upon us in the Holy Spirit the Comforter,
today we entrust to you the fate of the world and every human being.
Look upon over us sinners,
heal our weakness,
overcome all the evil,
let all the inhabitants of the Earth experience Your Mercy,
In You, the Triune God,
we have always found a source of hope.
God, Father of Mercy,
for your painful torment and the Resurrection of Your Son
have mercy on us and on the whole world.

On August 8, as on every eighth day of the month, the community of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Gdansk, Częstochowa and Kalisz will support married couples praying for offspring. Already over 940 married couples from Poland, Italy, France and the USA have enlisted for the prayer and 487 of them are already expecting children, with many more already enjoying parenthood. Intentions asking for prayer for this purpose (names of married couples) can be sent by email at: kontakt@modlitwaopotomstwo.pl or through the fanpage: www.modlitwaopotomstwo.pl.

 

The “Woman is Divine” community and Fr. Andrzej Wiecki – its spiritual director and sisters of the Gdańsk community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy cordially invite married couples trying to conceive to Adoration of Merciful Jesus with a prayer for healing, which will take place on 8 August at 7.30 pm at the shrine of the Pregnant Holy Mother in Matemblewo. Live stream: www.modlitwaopotomstwo.pl.

 

On August 5, the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of the Snows, the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy celebrates its patronal feast, honoring its Patroness – the Mother of Mercy Incarnate. On this day, the election of Mary as the heavenly Superior General of the Congregation has been traditionally renewed since in 1937, in the form of a special, ceremonial prayer. Saint Faustina wrote in her Diary: I saw the Virgin Mary and She said to me, Oh, how very pleased I am with the homage of your love!  And at that moment She covered all the sisters of the Congregation with Her mantle. With Her right hand, She clasped Mother General Michael to herself, and with Her left hand she did the so to me, while all the sisters were at Her feet, covered with Her mantle. Then the Mother of God said hen the Mother of God said, Everyone who perseveres zealously till death in My Congregation will be spared the fire of purgatory (Diary, 1244). This day is the anniversary of the dedication of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the oldest church in the West dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Pope Sixtus III, to celebrate the end of the stormy Council of Ephesus (431 AD), which declared the dogma of the divine motherhood of Mary (Theotokos), introduced the feast of the Mother of the Son of God, which was first celebrated in this particular basilica, and with time, successive Popes expanded it to the whole Church. Today, the liturgical calendar of the Church contains the memorial of Our Lady of the Snows, commemorating the miracle associated with the rise of the basilica, and this name is functioning in the minds of the faithful. Therefore, the first circumstance of the establishment of the feast of Mary as Mother of the Son of God – Mercy Incarnate, has been forgotten. For more information about Mary the Mother of Mercy, Her title, worship and iconography in the Church and Congregation, follow the link: Our Lady of Mercy.

On August 5th of this year, at the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, the diamond anniversary of the religious profession of Sister Alfreda and Sister Marcela will be celebrated. At 11:00 a.m. in the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, a solemn Holy Mass will be celebrated with the renewal of the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience by the Jubilarians, whose outer sign is a silver ring with the engraved name of Jesus. Sisters from other convents of the Congregation, Family, as well as persons entrusted with apostolic work will join the celebration praying in of thanksgiving for the gift of the Jubilarians  and for their intentions.

 

“I betroth you to Jesus Christ”. These are the words 4 sisters from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy will hear from Bishop Jan Zając on August 2nd during their perpetual vows at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will take place in the chapel with the famous Divine Mercy image and the tomb of St. Faustina at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki. The vows of chastity, poverty and obedience will be made in the presence of the Superior General, Mother Petra Kowalczyk. The ceremony will be attended by sisters from many convents of the Congregation, priests, families and friends. It will be one of the most important days in the lives of these sisters, the Congregation and the Church—the espousal of God and the human soul.

On August 1st, it will be 95 years since Helena Kowalska, known throughout the world under her religious name of Sister Faustina, joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Despite explicit instructions from Jesus to go to Warsaw and enter a convent to begin monastic life, her way to start following her vocation was not easy. As she wrote in her Diary, she knocked on the doors of many convents, but she was accepted nowhere. It was only in the convent at ul. Żytnia in Warsaw that she received an approval to join, but not before she spends a year working as a maid to earn a modest dowry. Finally, on August 1st, 1925 she stepped over the threshold of the closure, and wrote in her Diary: I felt immensely happy; it seemed to me that I had stepped into the life of Paradise. A single prayer was bursting forth from my heart, one of thanksgiving (Diary, 12). She then spent 13 years in many convents of the Congregation, fulfilling simple duties, and at the same time leading a very deep spiritual life. The Lord sent St. Faustina to the world to remind people of the Biblical truth about the merciful love of God to each human being and call them to proclaim it with a new power of witness, deed, word and prayer.

On 1 August, at 10:00 am at the Shrine of Divine Mercy, 4 sisters from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, after serving a two-year novitiate and making an eight-day retreat, will make their first vows before the Superior General, Mother Petra Kowalczyk. The ceremonies, taking place in the convent chapel of the miracle-famous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina will be presided Father Zbigniew Bielas. The ceremony will be attended by sisters from many convents of the Congregation and families of the sisters. During the first profession, sisters make vows of chastity, poverty and obedience to Jesus for a year, which are then renewed for five consecutive years. After this period, perpetual vows take place.

On July 31st, the liturgical calendar includes a commemoration of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus and one of the patron saints of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which has benefited from Ignatian spirituality throughout its history. Saint Faustina mentions this Saint twice in her Diary, when she writes about his advice concerning keeping the vow of obedience, and on the occasion of her the vision in 1935: The Feast of St. Ignatius. I prayed fervently to this Saint, complaining and asking how he could watch me and not come to my assistance in such important matters, that is in fulfilling God’s will. I said to the Saint: “You, who are our Patron, you were burning with the fire of love and zeal for the greater glory of God, I humbly ask you, please help me carry out God’s plans.” It was during Mass. Then I saw St. Ignatius on the left-hand side of the altar with a big book in his hands. He said to me: “My daughter, I am not indifferent to your affairs; this rule can be applied to the Congregation as well.” With his hand he pointed to the book and vanished. I was extremely pleased that the Saints have us very much in their thoughts and that they are in close touch with us. O, divine Goodness, how beautiful the spiritual world is, if we can be in communion with the Saints already here on earth. All day long I felt that this Patron Saint, whom I hold so dear, was close by my side.

On July 31th, in the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, one postulant from the Czech Republic will receive new name and costume of novice (black dress and a white veil) after a first, ten-month period of religious life. She will begin another two year’s term of novitiate, after which she will be able to make her first religious vows. The ceremony of investiture takes place within enclosure, but a Mass for the intention of the sister who begins her novitiate will be celebrated in the chapel of the miracle-famous Divine Mercy image and the tomb of St. Faustina, at 11:00 am.

On July 22th, at the John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., a virtual Evening with Merciful Jesus will be organized, due to the Shrine being still closed to the public due to the pandemic. Sisters from the Washington community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy will host the event. A conference on trust will be provided by Sr. Confida and the Adoration will be guided by live music by Mike Tenney.  The meeting will start at 7 pm at the image of the Merciful Jesus with prayer of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. There will also be a Q&A part. You can join the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1221974838170055/

 

The liturgical calendar includes compulsory commemoration of St. Mary Magdalene, who is the patroness of good change, on 22 of July. Since the beginning, this Saint is the patron of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, especially of the girls and women in need of moral regeneration, the education of whom is the main task of the sisters. Images and statues of Mary Magdalene are found in many convents of the Congregation. In the convent chapel of the miracle-famous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina at the Shrine in Krakow-Lagiewniki, her the statue is located in the main altar which is dedicated to the patron saint of the Congregation – Our Lady of Mercy.

On July 16th, the 18th Greater Poland Walking Pilgrimage will set off from Częstochowa to the capital of Divine Mercy worship in Krakow-Łagiewniki. This year’s “From Mercy to Mercy” Pilgrimage will be themed as “The great mystery of faith”. The organizer of the pilgrimage is the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Ostrów Wielkopolski. This year, due to the pandemic, fewer priests and pilgrims will participate in the event. The pilgrims will arrive in Łagiewniki on July 21st. Listeners of Radio Rodzina of the Diocese of Kalisz will also participate in this endeavor spiritually.

People from many countries of the world participating in the work of the Perpetual Chaplet of Divine Mercy are praying not only in their own intentions, but also asking for “mercy on us and the whole world”. A detailed intention for July is prayer: Coverage of costs: servers and fiber optic cables, streaming carried out by Livestream Vimeo, and ongoing maintenance of equipment needed for broadcasting.

The work of Perpetual Chaplet is a response to the request of Jesus to constantly implore for mercy “for us and the whole world”. The work has been operated by the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at: www.faustyna.pl since 2011. Anyone can participate in it by filling out a short form and declare to say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which Jesus dictated to St. Faustinaat least once.

 

Due to the persistent epidemic threat, the traditional cycling pilgrimage from Ożarów Mazowiecki to the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki planned for this July has been canceled. Nevertheless, the organizers of the pilgrimage, the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Ożarów, would like to encourage you to undertake making this pilgrimage individually. The route goes through Tarczyn, Grojec, Opoczno, Olkusz, and Czerna to Łagiewniki. Find out more at: http://www.pdmb.waw.pl/program-trasy.html.

On July 17-19, in the parish of Vinné, Slovakia, a weekend retreat will be held. It will be co-hosted by Sr. Pavla from the Hrušov community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. The program includes: Holy Mass, conferences, Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the Hour of Mercy, Chaplet of Divine Mercy and praying the rosary together, and individual visits with the sick in the parish.

On July 27, a novena before the feast of the Patron of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which falls on August 5, will start. During the novena, the Chaplet of Our Lady of Mercy is sung or recited. In this prayer we ask Mary to defend us from our enemies, accept us at the hour of death and beg for the Mercy of her Son for us. In the chapel of the miracle-famous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina, the novena is celebrated on weekdays at 7 pm, while on Sundays at 6:30 pm. The words of the Chaplet of Our Lady of Mercy.

July 16 is the 154th anniversary of the death of Mother Thérèse Rondeau, the founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in France (Laval), and co-founder of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland. She was born on October 6, 1793 in Laval, France. She was christened Theresa Agatha. Under the influence of her confessor, Fr. J. Chanon, S.J., Theresa undertook working with penitent women, that is to say women in need of deep moral renewal and willing to change their lives. In order to prepare better for this work, in 1818 she moved to Bordeaux, where Mother Teresa de Lamourous ran a house for penitent women, which was called “Mercy”. After a two-month stay, Theresa Rondeau made private vows and returned to Laval to become the foundress of a new work, independent from Bordeaux, and in time this became the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in France. Mother Teresa Potocka, née Ewa Sułkowska, who later became the foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland, adopted the spirituality of the French Congregation and their way of conducting apostolic work. Mother Teresa Rondeau died on 16 July 1866 and was buried within the grounds of the Congregation in Laval; her tomb is in a garden belonging to the convent. Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland has named a co-founder. The spiritual co-founder of the Congregation is St. Faustina Kowalska.

On July 8, as on every eighth day of the month, the community of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Gdansk, Częstochowa and Kalisz will support married couples praying for offspring. Already over 940 married couples from Poland, Italy, France and the USA have enlisted for the prayer and 476 of them are already expecting children, with many more already enjoying parenthood. Intentions asking for prayer for this purpose (names of married couples) can be sent by email at: kontakt@modlitwaopotomstwo.pl or through the fanpage: www.modlitwaopotomstwo.pl.

 

The “Woman is Divine” community and Fr. Andrzej Wiecki – its spiritual director and sisters of the Gdańsk community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy cordially invite married couples trying to conceive to Adoration of Merciful Jesus with a prayer for healing, which will take place on 8 July at 7.30 pm at the shrine of the Pregnant Holy Mother in Matemblewo. Live stream: www.modlitwaopotomstwo.pl.