Treasures of the Church- Holy Sites
SANCTUARY OF DIVINE MERCY
first, the sanctuary was located in the convent of the Congregation
of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, located on a hill in Lagiewniki.
The convent was built between the year 1888 and 1891 from the
charity funds given to Albin Dunajewski, the cardinal of Krakow, by
prince Aleksander Lubomirski. One of the monastery's buildings was
called the House of Mercy. It was an educational facility for women
and girls in need of a deep moral reform ran by nuns
During the World War I a part of the congregation became a military
hospital, where nuns brought help to the wounded. During the period
of the Nazi occupation German troops were stationed within the
monastery. Despite that fact, the Sisters continued to work in the
House of Mercy. They also provided for the expatriates and organized
underground education for children.
During the period between the two wars, Sister Faustina Kowalska
resided and died in the congregation. It is her life and work that
contributed greatly to the development of the sanctuary. Till World
War II the convent was closed for visitor however after her death it
has become a destination for many pilgrimages connected with the
Divine Mercy worship.
In 1992 the chapel of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of
Mercy was made into the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy. A dynamic
development of the place occurred over the years, closely related to
the beatification of Sister Faustina Kowalska and to the pilgrimages
of John Paul II. Lagiewniki became an international centre for the
Divine Mercy worship. In this context, building a basilica and
facilities to accommodate incoming pilgrims was a necessity.
In 1996 metropolitan cardinal Franciszek Macharski started the
Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy Foundation which, from the very
beginning, has been gathering resources for finishing the temple and
supervised the work itself.
The project of the basilica and other building was done by Professor Witold Ceckiewicz from the Krakow School of Engineering. On 7th of
June 1997 pope John Paul II gave his signature on the project of
further construction of the sanctuary. 5 years later, on 17th of
August 2002 he consecrated the newly erected basilica and offered
the whole world to the Divine Mercy.
John Paul II visited the sanctuary twice during his pilgrimages to
Poland in 1997 and 2002. Four years later pope Benedict XVI also
visited the basilica. A
memorial statue of John Paul II was revealed during his stay in the
sanctuary. Right now, the complex includes a two-floor temple, a
tower and a Way of the Cross, richly decorated with bas-reliefs made
by Czeslaw Dzwigaj in 1996, as well as other facilities for pilgrims
including parking places and shops.
The temple was build to resemble a boat and consist of the upper
church, which can accommodate around 4000 people, and the lower
part, still under construction. A shrine to St. Faustina and four
national shrines are located in the lower part. The altar in the
basilica hosts an image of Jesus the Merciful, worshiped around the
World, and relics of St Faustina Kowalska.
In front of the temple, there is a 77-meter tower, with 315 steps,
with a watching point located at 41,6 meters. The tower is the
highest watch point in Krakow, from which Tatra mountains can be
seen when the weather is good.
A Centre of the Divine Mercy helps people with various problems.
of His Holiness John Paul II, during the Holy Mass in the Dedication
of the Shrine of Divine Mercy
August 17th, 2002
"Today, in this Shrine, I want to consecrate the world to the Divine
"O incomprehensible and limitless Mercy Divine,
To extol and adore You worthily, who can?
Supreme attribute of Almighty God,
You are the sweet hope for sinful man."
Into one hymn yourselves unite, stars, earth and sea, and in one
accord, thankfully and fervently sing of the incomprehensible Divine
(Diary #951, Third Edition, 2007, pg. 370).
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Today I repeat these simple and straightforward words of Saint
Faustina, in order to join her and all of you in adoring the
inconceivable and unfathomable mystery of Godís mercy. Like Saint
Faustina, we wish to proclaim that apart from the mercy of God there
is no other source of hope for mankind. We desire to repeat with
faith: Jesus, I trust in you!
This proclamation, this confession of trust in the all-powerful love
of God, is
especially needed in our own time, when mankind is experiencing
bewilderment in the face of many manifestations of evil. The
invocation of Godís mercy needs to rise up from the depth of hearts
filled with suffering, apprehension and uncertainty, and at the same
time yearning for an infallible source of hope. That is why we have
come here today, to this Shrine of Łagiewniki, in order to glimpse
once more in Christ the face of the Father: "the Father of mercies
and the God of all consolation" (2 Cor 1:3). With the eyes of our
soul, we long to look into
the eyes of the merciful Jesus, in order to find deep within his
gaze the reflection of his inner life, as well as the light of grace
which we have already received so often, and which God holds out to
us anew each day and on the last day.
2. We are about to dedicate this new church to the Mercy of God.
Before doing so, I wish to offer heartfelt thanks to those who
contributed to its construction. In a special way I thank Cardinal
Franciszek, who has put so much effort into this undertaking as a
sign of his personal devotion to the Divine Mercy. My thoughts turn
with affection to the Sisters of the Merciful Mother of God, whom I
thank for their work in spreading the message left behind by Saint
I greet the Cardinals and Bishops of Poland, headed by the Cardinal
Primate, as well as the Bishops coming from various parts of the
world. I rejoice in the presence of the diocesan and religious
priests, and the seminarians.
My cordial greeting goes to all those taking part in this
celebration, especially the representatives of the Foundation of the
Shrine of Divine Mercy who oversaw the work of construction, as well
as the builders involved in the various projects. I know that many
of those present offered generous material support to the work of
construction. I pray that God will reward their magnanimity and
their commitment by his blessing!
3. Brothers and Sisters! As we dedicate this new church, we too can
ask the question which troubled King Solomon when he consecrated the
Temple of Jerusalem as the house of God: "But will God indeed dwell
on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain
you; how much less this house which I have built!" (1 Kg 8:27). Yes,
at first glance, to bind certain "places" to Godís presence might
seem inappropriate. We can never forget that time and space belong
to God in their entirety. Yet even though time and the entire world
may be considered his "temple", God has chosen certain times and
places to enable people to experience in a special way his presence
and his grace. Impelled by their sense of faith, people journey to
these places, confident that there they will truly find themselves
in the presence of God.
In this same spirit of faith I have come to Łagiewniki to dedicate
this new church.
I am convinced that this is the special place chosen by God to sow
the grace of his mercy. I pray that this church will always be a
place where the message of Godís merciful love is proclaimed; a
place of conversion and repentance; a place for the celebration of
the Eucharist; a fountain of mercy; a place of prayer and of
constant appeals for mercy for us and for the whole world. I pray in
the words of Solomon: "Have regard to the prayer of your servant and
to his supplication, O Lord my God, hearkening to the cry and to the
prayer which thy servant prays before you this day; that your eyes
may be open night and
day towards this house... Hearken to the supplication of your
servant and of your people Israel, when they pray in this place.
Hear in heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive" (1
4. "But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will
worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to
worship him" (Jn 4:23). When we read these words of the Lord Jesus
here in the Shrine of Divine Mercy,
We are particularly aware that no one can come here except in Spirit
and truth. It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and the Spirit of
Truth, who guides us along the ways of Divine Mercy.
By convincing the world "concerning sin and righteousness and
judgment" (Jn 16:8), he also makes known the fullness of salvation
in Christ. This "convincing" concerning sin is doubly related to the
Cross of Christ. On the one hand, the Holy Spirit enables us,
through Christís Cross, to acknowledge sin, every sin, in the full
dimension of evil which it contains and inwardly conceals. On the
other hand, the Holy Spirit permits us, again through the Christís
Cross, to see sin in the light of the mysterium pietatis, that is,
of the merciful and forgiving love of God (cf. Dominum et
Consequently, this "convincing concerning sin" also becomes a
conviction that sin can be laid aside and that man can be restored
to his dignity as a son beloved of God. Indeed, the Cross "is the
most profound condescension of God to man [...]. The Cross is like a
touch of eternal love upon the most painful wounds of manís earthly
existence" (Dives in misericordia, 8). The cornerstone of this
Shrine will always be a reminder of this truth, for it was brought
here from Mount Calvary, as if from beneath the Cross on which Jesus
Christ triumphed over sin and death.
I firmly believe that this new church will always be a place where
people will come before God in Spirit and truth. They will come with
the trust which accompanies all those who humbly open their hearts
to the working of Godís merciful love, to that love which is
stronger than even the greatest sin. Here, in the fire of divine
love, human hearts will burn with desire for conversion, and whoever
looks for hope will find comfort.
5. "Eternal Father, I offer to you the Body and Blood, Soul and
Divinity of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins
and those of the whole world; by the sufferings of his Passion, have
mercy upon us and upon the whole world" (Diary, 476). Upon us and
upon the whole world ... How greatly todayís world needs Godís
mercy! In every continent, from the depth of human suffering, a cry
for mercy seems to rise up. Where hatred and the thirst for revenge
dominate, where war brings suffering and death to the innocent,
there the grace of mercy is needed in order to settle human minds
and hearts and to bring about
peace. Wherever respect for life and human dignity are lacking,
there is need of Godís merciful love, in whose light we see the
inexpressible value of every human being. Mercy is needed in order
to ensure that every injustice in the world will come to an end in
the splendor of truth.
Today, therefore, in this Shrine, I wish solemnly to entrust the
world to the Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the
message of Godís merciful love, proclaimed here through Saint
Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill
their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to
our beloved homeland and throughout the world.
May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here
there must go forth "the spark which will prepare the world for his
final coming" (cf. Diary, 1732).
This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire of
mercy needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God the
world will find peace and mankind will find happiness! I entrust
this task to you, dear Brothers and Sisters, to the Church in Krakow
and Poland, and to all the votaries of Divine Mercy who will come
here from Poland and from throughout the world. May you be witnesses
6. God, merciful Father, in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have
revealed your love and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the
We entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man
Bend down to us sinners, heal our weakness, conquer all evil, and
grant that all the peoples of the earth may experience your mercy.
In You, the Triune God, may they ever find the source of hope.
Eternal Father, by the Passion and Resurrection of your Son, have
mercy on us and upon the whole world!
At the end of the Mass, before the final blessing, the Holy Father
made these personal remarks:
At the end of this solemn liturgy, I desire to say that many of my
personal memories are tied to this place. During the Nazi
occupation, when I was working in the Solvay factory near here, I
used to come here. Even now I recall the street that goes from Borek
Falecki to Debniki that I took every day going to work on the
different turns with the wooden shoes on my feet. They're the shoes
that we used to wear then. How was it possible to imagine that one
day the man with the wooden shoes would consecrate the Basilica of
the Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki of Krakow.
I rejoice for the construction of this beautiful shrine dedicated to
the Divine Mercy. I entrust to the care of Cardinal Macharski and to
the whole Archdiocese of Krakow and to the Sisters of Our Lady of
Mercy the material, and especially, the spiritual upkeep of the
shrine. May this collaboration in the work of spreading the devotion
of the Merciful Jesus give blessed fruit in the hearts of the
faithful in Poland and in the whole world.
May the merciful God bless abundantly all the pilgrims who come and
who will come here in the future.
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