Father Paul Naumowicz MIC, Superior of the Polish Province of the Congregation of Marian Fathers, presided over a solemn Mass in our church of Our Lady of the Ten Evangelical Virtues and delivered the homily to the many faithful in attendance.
In his homily, he focused on the first reading from the Book of Isaiah (54:2-5):
“Enlarge the space for your tent, spread out your tent cloths unsparingly; lengthen your ropes and make firm your pegs. For you shall spread abroad to the right and left; your descendants shall dispossess the nations and shall people the deserted cities. Do not fear, you shall not be put to shame; do not be discouraged, you shall not be disgraced. For the shame of your youth you shall forget, the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember. For your husband is your Maker; the LORD of hosts is his name, Your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth.”
Israel greatly suffered before God spoke these words to him. His people were expelled, and the Temple destroyed. In human terms, all seemed lost, hopeless, without any future.
And in these tragic circumstances God wanted to make a covenant with His chosen people, to make them happy, espoused, and loved.
Just like the people of Israel, St. Joan also suffered reproach and misery in her lifetime. Neither her father nor her husband liked her. Being marked from childhood by physical disability, she knew rejection, humiliation, unjust judgments, and physical, moral, and spiritual suffering. From the human viewpoint, her life was a path of suffering and hardship.
But St. Joan did not shut herself away or become engrossd in herself, her misery, and her sufferings. Looking for comfort and trying to make sense of these events, she turned to God and drew strength from Him, uniting with Him in confidence in the Eucharist, meditation on the Word of God, and contemplation of His Passion. On these three pillars, she based her life.
Just like the people of Israel, St. Joan opened up to God and lived out loving union with Him.
The history of the covenant is the history of mercy, not only for Israel and St. Joan, but also each one of us. We all are in need of something. Perhaps we lack love, good relationships with other people, money, or good health. In our lives, full of adversities and difficulties, God wants us to live in loving intimacy with Him.
After the Eucharist, the faithful had an opportunity to give honor to St. Joan de Valois by kissing her relics, located in our Grąblin shrine.
Later, we invited all the event participants to partake in hot tea and pastries that we prepared with our own hands.