A free day to explore Krakow, after Mass in her chapel in front of St Faustina’s crypt. We have a great day exploring the old town. We pick up our trains tickets for Prague. In the evening, Fr John gives us a talk on the sacrament of reconciliation followed by a Q&A. We sleep well.
A sister of the Divine Mercy reads us a poem from St. Faustina’s diary – the incredible power of the Divine Mercy. Do not think that your sin is so great that God’s Mercy will not be given you. The Father hugs the Prodigal Son. Give God your sins every day and accept his forgiveness and mercy. We need a close relationship with Jesus. We just have to want to come back to Jesus and he walks toward us. He shows us the Father. Our answer to the Lord’s Mercy is “Jesus, I Trust in You!”. God then trusts us and gives us graces. We are to show each other Mercy every day and everywhere. By deeds, by words and by prayer.
June 1940. Originally Polish army barracks converted to a “concentration camp” for Polish political prisoners. Then in 1942 becomes an extermination camp for Jews. 1.3 million sent here, 1.1 million died. Each prisoner was registered on a card. Men were separated from women and children, Women and children were told they were going to have a shower. They undressed and entered a big room with fake shower heads. Then they were gassed with Cyclone B gas. Corpses were then incinerated. Gold teeth and any other jewelry was gathered. Artificial legs, glasses, prayer shawls, cooking pots were collected up. Ashes were removed by the ton and dumped in a river. Between Block 10 and 11 we see the death wall where political activists were tortured and shot. Tears overwhelm us. We pray a decade of the Rosary.
We move on to Auschwitz-Birkenau – a much larger camp with 300 wooden barracks. We gaze at the triple spur line within the camp which is 1 km long. Deportees arrived here with no idea where they were or what was about to happen to them. 400 prisoners in each barrack, typhoid fever and other diseases were rampant. 1 sanitary barrack for each 5 dormitory barracks. Not much time to use was given. Many worked on farms and nearby factories 14 hr/day until they were too weak to stay alive. Of 200,000 Jewish children brought here, only 600 were found alive on liberation in Jan 1945. Prisoners were fed rotten vegetables, a tiny piece of bread. Sick, dying and dead were moved to the back of the camp where huge gas chambers and incinerators were their final fate. We are sickened. May this never happen again we all pray. Amen.
In the evening we celebrate a healing Mass. Although it was a troubling day, we know that good overcomes evil. Mercy and love are stronger than death and sin. Be not afraid.