Pope’s foot steps in Kraków – Łagiewniki …
Divine Mercy Shrine i Kraków – Łagiewniki
History of the Shrine: The Divine Mercy Shrine was established on the property of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy which, until World War II, was closed to the public because of the nature of the apostolic work carried out by the Sisters. Here, thanks to a generous endowment of the Prince Alexander Lubomirski , a House of Mercy was founded for girls and women who, thirsting for moral renewal, desired to change their way of life. With the outbreak of war, the gates of the property were opened to the people in need of support, pilgrims who came to the grave of Sister Faustina and faithful who attended solemn devotional services in honor of God’s Mercy. The latter was initiated by Father Józef Andrasz SJ in 1943. In 1968, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła inscribed the Convent chapel into the list of Shrines within the Archdiocese of Kraków. A separate decree was issued by Cardinal Franciszek Małachowski in 1992.
The Łagiewniki Shrine is a place chosen by God, with the death of Sister Faustina, laid down all her spiritual heritage here. This is a place of extraordinary experiences (in her Diary there are over 280 revelations that occurred here) and a place of miracles experienced by pilgrims. This place was visited twice by Pope John Paul II, who in 2002 consecrated the newly-built Basilica and entrusted the whole world to Divine Mercy. He was followed by Pope Benedict XVI (2006) and by Pope Francis (2016). The Shrine belongs to the 30 largest centers of worship of all religions in the world and is among the world’s top Shrines in terms of the number of countries from which pilgrims come (annually about 100 countries).
The Shrine in Kraków-Łagiewniki grew out of the spiritual heritage of St. Faustina Kowalska from Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. The central place, therefore, is the Chapel with the miraculous image of the Merciful Jesus and the tomb of the Apostole of Divine Mercy.
The image of Merciful Jesus was painted in 1944 in the studio of The painter Adolf Hyła based on the description of the vision of Sr. Faustina and under the direction of Father Józef Andrasz SJ, her Krakow’s confessor and spiritual director. This is the most famous image od Jesus in the world. In this image , Jesus’s words to st. Faustina have been fulfilled: “I want this picture venerated first in your chapel, and in the whole world.” (Diary, 47)
The image is a sign of the message of Mercy, in which Jesus reminds everyone about the biblical truth of God’s merciful love for men. It is also a summons to trust in God, to be merciful towards others and to bring forth the message of Mercy to the world be the witness of one’s life, by deed , word and prayer.
A Tomb of St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) Under the side – altar where the miraculous image of the Merciful Jesus hangs, there is a white, marble reliquary-tomb. Here rest the mortal remains of the Apostle of Divine Mercy and Prophet for our times who proclaims to the world the message of the merciful love of God for man – a message written in a famous “Diary”. In front of the altar, there is a marble kneeler with a large piece of St. Faustina’s relic (first-class) for the veneration of the faithful.
The convent and the Cemetery. In the back of the garden of that time – at present, next to the basilica – was the convent cemetery where Sister Faustina was buried in 1938. During the Diocesan level informative process, her mortal remains were transferred to the chapel (1966)
A replica of the St. Faustina’s Cell: In the place where st. Faustina worked as a doorkeeper, a religious cell was built with a small exhibition of items from that time, above all, the few preserved items that she used. There is an altar (2 religious statues and crucifix) from her family home, the lamp by which she wrote the “Diary” in Vilnius, a cup form Kraków refectory and a summer cape.
Basilica of the Divine Mercy. The lively spread of worship of Divine Mercy and the rise of the numbers of pilgrims led to the expansion of the Shrine. In 2002, Pope John Paul II dedicated a new, spacious temple, built according to the design of Witold Cęckiewicz. Its shape resembles a ship and brings to mind a modern “ark of the covenant”, in which all those who hope in God’s mercy find salvation. In the center of the basilica, above the tabernacle, there is an image of Merciful Jesus, painted by Jan Chrząszcz, atop a wind-blown bush. On both sides are the images of the two apostles of Divine Mercy: St. Faustina. and St. John Paul II. In the vestibule of the basilica is part of cornerstone – a stone from Golgotha, where Jesus most fully revealed the mystery of God’s merciful love. Since 2003, the new temple has been granted the title Minor Basilica. In the lower part of the basilica there are five beautiful chapels, whose architectural design is a gift of churches from European countries: Chapel of St. Faustina “Italian”. Chapel of the Communion of Saints “Hungarian”. Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows “Slovak”. Greek Catholic chapel of St. Andrew. Chapel of the Holy Cross “German”.
Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. Built in a circular shape, it was opened in 2004 to all-day adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A year later on the Feast of Mercy, the desire of John Paul II related to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at this Shrine was fulfilled. In the center of the chapel there is an altar in the form of blazing fire, on which the monstrance is placed. Above it burns the perpetual lamp with the fire of Mercy, which was lit by Pope John Paul II in 2023 as a sign of God’s message of mercy spreading from this place to the whole world!
Pope’s foot steps in Kraków – Łagiewniki …