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A parish retreat on Divine Mercy will be held at the Vasil Hopek Greek Catholic parish in Stropkove, Slovakia, on December 1-3. At the invitation of Fr. Slavomír Tarasovič, V.F., it will be led by Sr. M. Benediktína Fečová from the Košice community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. The program includes conferences (on Saturday especially for women and mothers), Adoration, praying the Hour of Mercy and the Chaplet to Divine Mercy, and veneration of the relics of St. Faustina.

On December 3, the first Sunday of the Advent, Sr. Ignacja Bazan from the convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in Łódź will share the message of Mercy and the spiritual legacy of St. Faustina as recorded in her Diary, with the faithful in the parish of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Horyniec Zdrój (Diocese of Zamość-Lubaczów). At 7 p.m. there will be Adoration and meeting with Jesus the Merciful under the theme: Kindle the Spark of Mercy.

On November 26-29, the parish of St. Florian the Martyr in Mogielnica, the Diocese of Warsaw, will host a Divine and human mercy parish retreat. Based on the Bible and the heritage of St. Faustina, it will be delivered by Sr. Maria Vianneya and Sr. Tobiana from the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki and Sr. Mariam from the convent in Warsaw. Conferences for adults, teens and kids are on the agenda, as is the practice of the new forms of Divine Mercy devotion which Jesus Himself entrusted St. Faustina with.

Advent is approaching, Sister Faustina wrote in her Diary. I want to prepare my heart for the coming of the Lord Jesus by silence and recollection of spirit, uniting myself with the Most Holy Mother and faithfully imitating Her virtue of silence, by which She found pleasure in the eyes of God Himself.  I trust that, by Her side, I will persevere in this resolution (Diary, 1398). This year, the first Sunday of Advent falls on 3th of December. Liturgically, Advent and the new year in the liturgy of the Church begins with vespers on December 2th. It constitutes a time of joyful anticipation of Christmas, spiritual preparation for this holiday and for the second coming of Christ on Earth, in addition to building our sensitivity to His everyday coming to us here and now, as St. Faustina did, through exercise in silence and recollection of spirit. The joy of experiencing the mystery of faith which tells us of the birth of the Son of God in human flesh, Mercy Incarnate, depends on this expectation and spiritual preparation.

Starting on November 20, the Apostles of Divine Mercy Faustinum Association will be accepting applications for retreats with the Bible and the Diary of St.  Faustina, to be organized in the first half of 2024. Registration for the retreat can be done only through the registration form at www.faustinum.pl or sent in paper form to the address of the secretariat of Faustinum at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki. Only receipt of confirmation from the secretariat of the Faustinum is tantamount to enrollment in the selected retreat.

The Retreat with the Bible and the Diary of St. Faustina is a time to explore the mystery of God’s mercy revealed in the Bible with Sister Faustina, as well as a time of personal encounter with God in seclusion and in complete silence.  The retreats are conducted by priests in cooperation with sisters from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. All members and volunteers of the Faustinum and those who wish to learn more deeply and experience the mystery of God’s mercy are invited to attend.

Program and application form and more information at: www.faustinum.pl.

On 18-23 November, Sister Faustia and Sister Grace from the D.C. Community of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy will deliver a retreat at the parish of St. Anne in Georgia, Diocese of Savannah. The conferences will focus on God’s mercy in the holy sacraments and in daily life. During the first few of the retreat the target participants will be adults, while just before November 20, the retreat program includes meetings with young people about God’s mercy in the family and mutual relationships.

This is the theme of a retreat devoted to vocation discernment which will be held at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki on November 24-26, 2023. It will be delivered by Sr. M. Evangelista Sobkowicz, I.S.M.M., and Dr. Monika Guzewicz. Participants of this retreat will discover what the true happiness of God and man is, and will explore it in the perspective of earthly and eternal life.

A spiritual retreat for priests will be held at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki on November 13-17. The theme of the event is By the merciful heart of Jesus with the beloved disciple. It will be delivered by Fr. Piotr Kwiecień, C.M., Vincent à Paulo missionary, spiritual director and retreat giver. Retreats experienced in silence at the merciful heart of Jesus can become an opportunity to renew and deepen one’s relationship with Him and to draw strength for the hardships of priestly ministry. Jesus said to St. Faustina: During this retreat, I will keep you close to My Heart all the time, so that you may obtain a better understanding of the mercy I have for humans, especially for poor sinners (Diary, 730). The organizers of the retreat, the Faustinum Association, also apply these words to the priests who will participate.

November is a special month of acting out of mercy towards the dead, whose souls are maturing in Purgatory to fully experience love. Saint Faustina visited that place in her mystical experiences and described it in the Diary: … I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her ‘The Star of the Sea’. She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of that prison of suffering. [I heard and interior voice] which said, My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it (Diary, 20).

Sister Faustina put this question to her deceased sisters while walking by the convent’s cemetery in Krakow-Łagiewniki. She received the following answer: We are happy in the measure that we have fulfilled God’s will (Diary, 515 and 518). Afterwards, the Saint meditated at length on how she was fulfilling the will of God and how she was using the time of her earthly life. This is something to think about when we visit the graves of our loved ones at this time of the year. Every cemetery contains unusual life stories of many people and at the same time it reminds us of the transience of human life, provoking thoughts on its meaning and purpose. Through the life of St. Faustina and her mystical experience, God, who wants happiness for every human being in both this and eternal life, reminds us in a powerful way where happiness lies and how to achieve it.

The Shrine in Łagiewniki has one of Krakow’s oldest cemeteries. It is a religious cemetery established in the late 19th century in the back of the former garden of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Here lie the remains of sisters, chaplains, pupils and other persons connected with the convent in Łagiewniki. Also the body of St. Faustina used to be buried here for 28 years. Another Sister who was interred here is Sr. Faustina’s Superior General, Mother Michael Moraczewska. Others include Sr. Kaliksta Piekarczyk who devoted her life for the intention of saving Krakow during World War II, Mother Ksawera Olszamowska who offered hers for the intention of establishment of the Feast of Divine Mercy in the Church and the message of Mercy, along with many sisters who offered up their daily lives for different intentions. The Convent’s cemetery is right outside the southern wall of the basilica in the Łagiewniki Shrine and is often visited by pilgrims. Near the eastern wall of the basilica, there is a military cemetery from the time of WWI. No individual graves are found here. Instead, there is a large cross and an obelisk with a plaque which says that 266 soldiers from 15 European countries are buried in this place. During the Great War, part of the Congregation’s garden was converted into a large military hospital for over 1,000 patients. It had several temporary wards, where soldiers of different nationalities were treated for typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, pox and scarlet fever – in other words, infectious diseases. Some of the soldiers who could not be saved died in this hospital, which was why they were buried in the cemetery outside the Convent’s wall.

Sister Faustina wrote in her Diary: My beloved native land, Poland, if you only knew how many sacrifices and prayers I offer to God for you! (Diary, 1038) and There is no day in which I do not pray for you (Diary, 1188). And when she begged Jesus for a blessing for Poland, He said to her: For your sake I bless the entire country (Diary, 39) and For your sake I am blessing the earth (Diary, 980, 1078). Another time, He said: For your sake I bless the world (Diary, 1061). Now, when she has a greater ability to act, she has not ceased her intercession in Heaven. May she today, in the light of the mystery of God’s Mercy, show the modern generations the treasure which is our Homeland with all its heritage, and may she support all our people in their efforts for the common good and moral rebirth of Poles, so that they confidently turn to God in Whom the world finds peace and human beings find happiness.

On November 5 (Sunday) at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Plock at the Old Market Square, another formative meeting of the Faustinum Divine Mercy Apostles Association community will be held.  The topic of the meeting is: “Spiritual life as a work of God’s mercy in us”.. It will begin at 2:15 p.m. with communal adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to be continued with prayer at the Hour of Mercy and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  At 3.20 p.m. Eucharist, followed by agape, conference and sharing of thoughts and experiences on this topic. The meetings are hosted by Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy and priests.

On Sunday, October 29, there will be a ceremonial introduction of the relics of Saint Sister Faustina to the church dedicated to Saint Adalbert the Bishop and Martyr in Momoty Górne. The relics will be handed over and the spiritual heritage of Saint Faustina will be shared by Sister Terezjana Klepacka from the convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in the Sanctuary in Kraków-Łagiewniki.

October 23 marks the beginning of a novena to be celebrated before the 161th anniversary of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which was founded in Warsaw on the feast of All Saints, November 1, 1862, by Mother Teresa Ewa Countess Potocka of the Sułowski Dukes. God called St. Faustina Kowalska (spiritual co-founder) to this Congregation, to whom He gave the message of Mercy and sent her on a prophetic mission to proclaim it to the world. In this novena, Sisters in all the Congregation’s convents in Poland and around the world will give thanks for the graces received throughout the history of the Religious Community, ask for the grace to make God’s mercy present today and trust in the mercy of the Holy Trinity for the coming years of witnessing and apostolic service.

At the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, this novena will be celebrated on weekdays at 7 p.m. and on Sundays at 6:20 p.m., followed by an October rosary service.

The first day of November is celebrated in the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy as the day when the Church pays homage to all the Saints and, additionally, as the anniversary of the establishment of the Congregation in Poland. On this day, in 1862,  Archbishop Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński consecrated the first chapel and House of Mercy in Warsaw at ul. Żytnia. On this day, the sisters refer especially to the early history of their Congregation. They commemorate its founder, Countess Teresa Ewa Potocka nee Sułkowska, who accepted the invitation of Archbishop Szczęsny Feliński and came to Warsaw to aid “fallen” women in returning to a life of dignity, and to establish a house for them inspired by the House of Mercy in Laval (France), which became the model for their apostolic work and religious life. Together with the Church, the sisters also revere all those who have achieved the goal of their lives: eternal union with God. These saints also include the Divine Mercy apostle, Sr. Faustina Kowalska, raised to the altars as a saint and known all over the world. Saint Faustina was the spiritual co-founder of the Congregation, along with St. Archbishop Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński and the deceased sisters, pupils and Divine Mercy apostles who were members of the association “Faustinum” and who participated in the mission of the Congregation by making the merciful love of God present in the world through their lives, deeds, words and prayers. The sisters in all the convents their gratitude for the Congregation’s past, entrusting its present and future to God’s mercy, so that all Divine plans for it are fulfilled.

On the Feast of All Saints, the Church honors those raised to the altars, known by name and biography, but also all the priests, other consecrated persons and lay faithful who have reached the goal of human life that is eternal union with God in love. There are more saints who live among us than there may seem to be. One piece of evidence for this is the history of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which has been intertwined with the lives of many unusual people, in addition to St. Faustina Kowalska. Throughout the over 160-year-long existence and activity of the Congregation, some of these individuals were raised to the glory of the altars by the Church. They include Archbishop Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, who was a co-founder of the Congregation; Pope St. John Paul II, who visited Łagiewniki so often and has done so much for the mission of Mercy; Bl. Julian Nowowiejski, the Bishop who invited the sisters to Płock and who wrote the first history of the Congregation; Bl. Jan Balicki, who initiated the Congregation’s works in Przemyśl and served the sisters and their pupils for three years; Bl. Maria Karwowska, who spent her formation period in the Łagiewniki convent and Bl. Michael Sopoćko, the Vilnius confessor of the convent on the Antokol and spiritual director of St. Faustina. The following are included as candidates for sainthood: the fathers who served as confessors to the convent in Krakow-Łagiewniki: the servant of God Fr. Wojciech Baudiss, S.J.; Fr. Bernard Łubieński (Redemptorist); Fr. Stanisław Bednarski, S.J.; Fr. Stanisław Podoleński, S.J.; Fr. Marian Morawski, S.J.; Fr. Józef Cyrek, S.J.; or the servant of God Fr. Jacek Woroniecki, O.P., the author of The Mystery of Divine Mercy, which was copied from the original manuscript by the sisters in Łagiewniki. This list of saints, blessed and servants of the Lord is much longer, particularly because it can include individuals who did not cooperate with the Congregation permanently, but had a different type of relationship with it. Today, too, saints are among us. They are the people fascinated by the merciful love of Jesus, who participate in His life and His mission to reveal the mystery of Divine Mercy to the world.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy expresses gratitude to all Benefactors and Donors for supporting the apostolic works that are used by thousands of Internet users and dying people in need of prayerful support. Thank you for the gifts sent to support the work of “Chaplet for the Dying,” on-line broadcast from the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Kraków-Łagiewniki and the website: www.faustyna.pl and its versions in foreign languages. In these gifts of the heart, the mercy of God is visible, which is poured out on the world through human hearts and hands. In their daily prayers, the sisters respond with prayer, commending all the Donors and Benefactors to God’s mercy and asking for God’s blessing and needed favors for them. Let God’s Mercy be glorified in all this!

The October formation meetings of members and volunteers of the “Faustínum” association in Borši (Streda nad Bodrogom parish) in Slovakia will be held on Monday, October 23 at 5 p.m. for the Hungarian-speaking community and on Tuesday, October 24, at the same time for the Slovak-speaking community. Both meetings, the topic of which will be God’s mercy in the Holy Scriptures and in the “Diary” of St. Faustina, will be led by Sister M. Hedvig Uličná from the community of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Nižný Hrušov.

On October 25-28, the annual meeting of superiors and formators from Poland and abroad will be held in the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Kraków-Łagiewniki. The meeting will be of an informational and formative nature and will be led by Mother Miriam Janiec, Superior General of the Congregation. The meeting will end with a night vigil before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel with the miraculous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of Saint. Faustina, during which sisters from many communities of the Congregation will also ask God to kindle the charism of mercy in their hearts.

On October 22, the next meeting of this formation year held by the community of Faustinum Apostles of Divine Mercy Association will take place at the Santo Spirito in Sassia Church in Rome. The theme will be : “Getting to know God in the mystery of his mercy”. The meetings are hosted by sisters from the Roman community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy and Priest Łukasz Brus, spiritual guardian of the Roman “Faustinum” community. The meeting agenda includes prayer at the Hour of Mercy and the Divine Mercy Chaplet to begin the meeting, Mass, conferences and a fraternal agape.

As part of the Samaritan project, a women’s retreat will be held at the Shchuchinsk retreat house from October 20-22 with the theme If you knew the gift of God (John 4:1-42). It will be delivered by Sr. Anastasis Omelchenko from the convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in Petropavlovsk, Sr. Madlen Hofmann, and Fr. Hans Reiner. The retreat will include meditations on the word of God, conferences, prayer, and workshops.

On October 21-22 this year. Sister Vianneya Dąbrowska from the convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in Kraków-Łagiewniki will share the message of Mercy and the spiritual heritage of Saint. Sister Faustina with the faithful in the parish of St. Wojciech Bishop and Martyr in Momota Górne and the branch church, Sandomierz diocese. These meetings are organized as part of the preparation for the reception of the relics of the Apostle of Divine Mercy, which will be ceremonially introduced on October 29 this year.

The “Garden of Mary” Community, operating at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow-Łagiewniki, would like to invite women to a 9-month women’s hearts renewal experience titled, Pneumatophora. The invitation is for any woman who seeks deep formation and wants to revive her relationship with Jesus. The topic of this year’s conferences is Bride of the Risen One. The meetings are open, require no prior sign-ups, and are held every third Tuesday of the month at the Chapel of St. Faustina (lower part of the basilica).

Meeting agenda on October 17:

6 pm – Holy Mass with sermon, presided over by Fr. Dr. Mirosław Smyrak.
7 pm – worship led by the Garden of Mary team or Michał Niemiec.
8 pm – conference in the “Faustinum” room (in the complex of monastery facilities).
8:30 pm – group discussions.
9 pm – self-entrustment to Mary, the Jasna Góra Appeal prayer.

On Sunday, October 15, Bishop Ireneusz Pękalski will solemnly introduce the relics of St.  Faustina to the parish of St. Luke the Evangelist and St. Florian in Łódź before Mass at 6 pm. The spiritual preparation for this event will be the novena to St. Faustina, which will be celebrated after the evening Mass. The novena prayers will be combined with a catechesis on the spiritual heritage of the Apostle of Divine Mercy, which will be delivered by Sr. Ignacja Bazan from the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Divine Mercy on Krośnieńska street in Łódź.

On October15th in the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Zakopane, a ceremony of admission to postulate will be held for candidates. After the religious ceremonies, Holy Mass will in the chapel of the convent in the intention of the postulants.

The period of postulancy is the first trial in religious life. It is intended, first of all, to gradually introduce new sisters into the life of the Congregation, and also to complement and extend their religious knowledge, to shape the culture of coexistence with others according to the etiquette, to develop the practice of natural virtues and to facilitate a closer familiarization with the life and apostolic mission of the Congregation. This is achieved through attending lectures  and study, but also through prayer and work in the community of sisters.

On October 14, the participants of the “Margaret” apostolate from all over Poland will meet at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki. The pilgrimage will begin in the Shrine of Saint John Paul II at 9:00 am with greeting the pilgrims and a rosary prayer for priests. About 11.00 am –  conference. Solemn Eucharist at 12.00 an will be presided by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz. The pilgrims will also visit the chapel with the grace-famous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina. The pilgrimage will end with prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 pm) and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

On October 11, at 5 p.m., Mass will be celebrated in the intention of all those who have become involved in the work on the Chaplet for the Dying and the Perpetual Chaplet at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki. At the grace-famous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina, we will implore that more people join in these works, bringing mercy to those most in need. This Holy Mass is an expression of gratitude to the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy for jointly bringing the message of God’s merciful love for man to the world. May it bring great glory to Divine Mercy in human souls.

On October 8, at the Shrine of Sister Faustina in Kiekrz, a pilgrimage ceremony will take place. Mass at noon on the Małe Kierskie Lake, in the place of the revelation of Jesus to St. Faustina, will be presided by Bishop Jan Glapiak. It will be preceded by a procession with relics of St. Faustina, which will depart from the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy to the altar over a Małe Kierskie Lake. The preparation for this event will be the triduum from 5 to 7 of October. The Masses during the triduum will be celebrated at 6 pm.

This Sunday, October 8, there will be a solemn introduction of the relics of St. Faustina to the Church of St. John the Baptist in Hruštín, Slovakia’ Orava region. Relics of the Apostle of Divine Mercy will be handed over by Sr. Clareta Fečova from the convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki. On this occasion, she will share the spiritual legacy of St. Faustina, especially the message of Mercy with which Jesus sent her to the whole world.