After a good night’s sleep we were on the bus into Warsaw. The first thing the tour guide said is that Warsaw is an ugly city. We had a laugh because it is sort of true. Some old crumbling buildings, untrimmed grass in the medians, sort of grey and dingy. But then the sun came out and our opinion changed quickly.
First stop was at the church where Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko preached and where his museum is. Fr. Jerzy was very outspoken against the communist regime. In 1984 he was kidnapped by the security service, badly beaten, tied up and dumped n the Vistula River. His funeral was a huge religious-patriotic manifestation. His cause for canonization started immediately.
We then visited Warsaw Cathedral in the old town after walking through the Holy Doors. The crypt of Cardinal Wysnski, Prelate of Poland is there. We learned that he delicately managed the relationship with the Communists. He was arrested, released and lived to see John Paul II become Pope. They were close friends.
We were told about the Warsaw uprising and drove by the monuments and cemeteries. Interestingly only 5% of current Warsaw families have relatives that were living here during WWII. A long and dark history.
Our last stop was the convent that took in little Helen Kowalska (St. Faustina) in 1925. She had knocked on the doors of several convents before the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy accepted her. We had Mass said in the Chapel where she had attended. We joined in with the nuns to sing Jezu Ufam Tobie – Jesus, I Trust in You. We toured the wonderful St. Faustina museum that they were so proud to show us.
Back at the residence in Niepokalanow we paused for dinner. Then it was over to the cathedral for a short session on Mary Immaculate by Fr. John Fletcher, CC. Finally Fr. Tim Devine, CC led us outside for a candle lit rosary walk.
After the busy day, Dave had a Mr. Bean moment when he thought he lost his BlackBerry. All ended well after a very rich day. We went to bed as a large group of youth were singing to drums in the courtyard.
Poland is still a very visibly religious society. Their Faith and solidarity has gotten them through many wars and much oppression. We are privileged to be seeing it with our Polish friends and guides. The deserts here are very good too!