Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Divine Mercy Shrine

I spent a sleepless night in our hotel at Krakow because of pain in my face- I found out late that I had a sinus infection. Needless to say, I stayed in bed most of the following day to catch up on sleep. It was Saturday, and althought I knew the other students were out exploring the city, I did not feel sorry for myself- I was so relieved to have a warm room and comfortable bed in which to recover from the previous day. Eventually, I got out of bed and perched on the window ledge, looking out over bleak Krakow under snowfull. The sky was a dark gray and I couldn't see much besides the tops of other hotel buildings. 

Around noon, the buses were to depart for the Divine Mercy Shrine, and at the last minute I decided to go; I would never be able to live with myself afterwards if I missed my chance to pray there. First we visited the convent of St. Faustina, which is beside the shrine. The convent was a red brick complex with a beautiful, colorful chapel containing the remains of Faustina. We said the chaplet there, although I had trouble concentrating because of a slight fever.

Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy

After that, we trooped through the snow to the shrine, a giant structure which unfortunately looks like an alien spaceship, or maybe an airport. The inside of the shrine was a large, white space, lacking statues or artwork except for the Divine Mercy image of the Lord. The tabernacle was a large, bronze globe of the earth with an electric red light above it; this I found to be very odd. Nevertheless, we celebrated a beautiful Mass there. I sat next to my household sister, Olivia, who kindly stroked my feverish head as I sat during the creed. When it was finished, we crowded the gift shop, and then we were off again. Upon reaching the hotel, I went straight to my room, and after taking a hot shower, a granola bar, and lots of Vitamin C, I fell into a restful sleep.

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