Divine Mercy Pilgrimage to Vilnius, City of Divine Mercy
Every year we organise a retreat pilgrimage to Vilnius, the City of Divine Mercy, in Lithuania. St. Faustina lived the biggest part of her convent life in Vilnius, it was politically part of Poland at that time and this is why many people confuse Poland and Krakow in particular with the message of Divine Mercy, but the only connection Krakow has with St. Faustina is that she lived a part of her life in the convent and her remains are entombed there. (See short history of Vilnius at end of article)
It was in Vilnius, with the help of her spiritual director Blessed Michael Sopocko that she carried out all of the demands that Our Lord made of her in the message of Divine Mercy.This fact and the following is why Vilnius is called the City of Divine Mercy. She met Her spiritual director Fr. Michael Sopocko (now Blessed) in Vilnius. Jesus said: “He [ Fr. Sopocko] will help you to carry out My will on earth" (Diary 53). "His thoughts are closely united to Mine, so be at peace about what concerns My work [of Divine Mercy]. I will not let him make a mistake, and you should do nothing without his permission" (Diary 1408).
- She received the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Vilnius.
- She wrote the Diary in Vilnius.
- She got the Image painted in Vilnius
- Fr.Sopocko celebrated in public the Feast of Mercy for the first time in Vilnius
- The Image was exposed to the world for the first time on this Feastday in Vilnius
- Fr.Sopocko proclaimed the message of Divine Mercy for the first time in Vilnius
- The new congregation Jesus asked St.Faustina to found was founded in Vilnius.
- The Novena was written as a leaflet and printed for the first time by Fr.Sopocko
- The Chaplet which was received in Vilnius was printed for the first by Fr.Sopocko
It was Fr. Michael Sopocko who was instrumental in bringing the message of Divine Mercy to the attention of world, he was the only one at that time who truly believed that the messages which St. Faustina was receiving were authentic. It was his efforts that had the Image and the Feast of Mercy approved by the Church, and celebrated for the first time as a solemn feastday in 1946 at St.Johns Church in Vilnius.
It was Fr. Sopocko convinced her to write the diary and it was he who arranged for the Image of Divine Mercy to be painted in Vilnius and he visited the artist with St. Faustina every time she went there to instruct the artist.
It was Fr. Sopocko who first celebrated the Feast of Mercy in 1935 at the shrine of the Mother of Divine Mercy in Vilnius. He publically revealed the Image of Divine Mercy to the world during this ceremony. It was Fr. Sopocko who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus, that Our Lord asked Saint Faustina to found
We will visit all of the places associated with St.Faustina and Fr. Sopocko on this pilgrimage. Also we have mass in front of the original Image of Divine Mercy which is displayed in a special international Shrine of Divine Mercy, and in front of the Image of the Mother of Divine Mercy which is a shrine that is in Vilnius for the past 500 years.
This very famous image of Mother of Divine Mercy has a long and fascinating history. St. Faustina often visited this shrine and recorded in her Diary that on one occasion that this image came alive and Our Lady spoke to St. Faustina regarding the mission which Jesus had entrusted to her.
Vilnius is a beautiful city and on this pilgrimage we will have some time to take in their culture and see many of the fascinating sites which make this city so special. But we also visit the historic Hill of Crosses and the apparition site of Our Lady of Siluva. Both of these sites were visited by Pope John Paul II during his pilgrimage of holy shrines in Lithuania. Siluva was the first apparition of Our Lady in Europe in 1608.
But our pilgrimage is not only about visiting these holy shrines. It is also a retreat pilgrimage so people have time everyday to spend in prayer and we arrange Mass for our group every day. Furthermore we will be staying in Vilnius’s seminary so we will always have time to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in the morning and evenings, when we return back from our day’s tour.
We have been organising pilgrimages to the City of Divine Mercy for the past six years and we know that everyone who goes on this pilgrimage is truly inspired by their time in this special place. We have included a webpage for every site we will visit so you can read much more about this pilgrimage if you look further into our website.
History: Vilnius was part of Poland from 1920 - 1939
The history of Vilnius and Lithuania being part of Poland began in 1920 when Vilnius and its region was annexed by Poland.
It was called Żeligowski's Mutiny led by Polish General Lucjan Żeligowski in October 1920, which resulted in the creation of the short-lived Republic of Central Lithuania. Polish Chief of State Józef Piłsudski had secretly ordered General Żeligowski to carry out the operation, and revealed the truth several years later. This operation paved the way for the Polish annexation of Vilnius, and the Vilnius Region.
In an agreement between the Soviet Union and Germany in 1939 Lithuania became part of the Soviet Union. When Germany invaded Russia in 1941 they also occupied Lithuanuia. After the Second World War the Soviet
Union again occupied Lithuania up until 1993 when it finally got its independence back. It is now a member of the European Union and NATO.