Posted by: Jil Yong | September 22, 2010


So for this blog, I’m choosing to go a little bit of a different route. First I’ll say that I loved Poland, it was amazing and there is such a presence of the Lord there. The people have overcome so much and I do believe that Professor Cassidy was right in saying the Poland is so under appreciated… Europe, does not appreciate Poland, and America sure as heck does not appreciate Poland either. I never understood what he was talking about when he said that “if you were to take the soil of Poland and squeeze it in your hand, the blood of the martyrs would flow out.”  This is true. Poland was amazing but it is not a fun place to go on the weekend, its not like going to Amsterdam or Prague, this country is amazing to go to because of where they have been. So many people say its the best place you’ll go in your semester in Austria… why? I think its because when you get there you see humanity for what it is. We are hopeless without the Lord. Without Him. When i arrived in Poland I believe that is the closest I will ever come to experiencing what I will experience on the day of my judgment, here on earth. Cassidy wasn’t lying when he said that you are asked, “You’ll get to Poland and be faced with a question. Are you are going to be selfish and let what has happened in Poland happen to your neighbor? Are you going to piss away your life doing what you want and taking care of yourself? Or are you going to choose the Lord and do everything in your power to ensure this doesn’t happen again?” You see, walking through Auschwitz, was just this feeling of desolation, it was not even a feeling of depression. For once I actually experienced physically what sin and selfishness do to you. Selfishness and sin isolates you and brings you to this desolation, this leads to death. But when you walk through Auschwitz you come to the death wall, crematorium, and torture cell, and in this place where you feel that there is not a worse place in this hell hole to be, you encounter the most hope, St Maximilian Kolbe’s cell where he died. This cell is the “starvation cell”  and stands in the middle  of those 3 things. But this is a man who died in the place of another because he knew what this love of neighbor was. He was not selfish, he loved as Christ loved. In this desolation there was hope, there was love. The sign above the gate of Auschwitz reads, “Arbeit Macht Frei” or “Work sets you free” in one way this is true, in one way this is such a lie. Work did set the people free from their suffering in this life, that is true, but this place, they could never physically leave, no matter how much work they did, they would never be freed (with the exception of the few that were set free at the end of the war). This lie twists the truth, its not about your work here on earth, work does not give you freedom, its faith, hope, charity, and love in the Lord that sets us free, physically and spiritually. This freedom can never be taken away, even in the midst of pain and suffering, no matter how much you are forced to work, beaten, tortured, and hurt. Not even death can take away this freedom, it only allows us to experience the freedom of the beatific vision without our fallen nature and eventually all of this reunited with our glorified body.

So just to wrap up I’ll wrap up with what I wrote in my journal last night about my trip, its kinda long but hopefully good enough that you wont notice too much:

Sept 21, 2010

My Love,

This weekend was such an amazing experience. To behold your mother at Our Lady of Czestochowa was beyond amazing. I offered my intentions to her on the crawl around the altar. Her beauty is so astounding, I desire only to be more and more like her with every beat of my heart. I wish to be the physical manifestation of what a woman in love with the Lord is. This weekend i was taken away by Our Lady of Czestochowa not only in her enthronement or rather her glory, but what she meant to the country of Poland. After going to Auschwitz I realized that Our Lady of Czestochowa was what got these suffering souls through their days in a living hell. This is Our Lady for all of us.  She is our hope in the midst of suffering, I read today in my time with You in the Blessed Sacrament about how St Faustina saw the suffering souls in purgatory.

“One day I asked the Lord, ‘Lord, who else should I pray for?’ Jesus said that on the following night He would  let me know for whom I should always pray for. The following night, I saw my Guardian Angel who asked me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her ‘The Star of the Sea.’ She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of the prison of suffering. [I heard an interior voice] which said, My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it. Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls.”

~St Faustina Diary No. 20

Our Lady is their hope, they call her Star of the Sea,  she tends to them in their longing for the Lord. Mary, by her nature, does this for each and every one of us. I look to her in my times of suffering too little, but she has always been there. She was there in Your suffering, in the suffering of the Disciples when they lost hope after You died,  she is there in the suffering of the holy souls in purgatory, she was there in the suffering of the saints, she was there in the suffering of those in Auschwitz, she was and is there for the country of Poland in its suffering, and she has been and continues to be there in my own suffering as well. All through this she does not take away our suffering but rather shares in our suffering and reminds us of Your Divine Mercy. She was there in Your suffering and is there in all of our suffering. It is there that she takes us to a place to transcend time and unite the two, our suffering and Your suffering.  Anytime I feel myself with my cross, even I feel myself nailed to it, hanging in anguish, I know that I can look down and gaze into the face of  Our Mother, and she will be suffering with me. And when I look to my side, I will see the loving and comforting stare of You, My Beloved, hanging right there with me. But Our mother does not stop there in our suffering and death, but she is also the first to greet and rejoice in Your resurrection. So if we are Your body, “The Body of Christ,” then would she not give us the same treatment and be with us in our suffering, death, and resurrection?

Today in Christology we spoke of the Wedding at Cana, and the words You spoke to Mary, “Woman, what have you to do with me?”  In this You are not rebuking her, but in fact You are saying, “Woman, what has this to do with you and me?” Then You go on to say, “My hour has not yet come,” and Mary, Our Mother, does not just ignore what You said, she does not ask anything that is not against Your perfect will, but instead she echoes her, “Yes!” at her fiat, and Her words, “Behold I am the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy Word,”  when she says to the servants “Do what He tells you.” Because in these 5 words she is replying to You saying, “Not just Your our, but Our Hour. Our suffering will not be separated, but right now I am uniting my suffering to Yours, because of my complete belonging to You. I love you so much and You are such a part of me that it is Our Hour, not Your hour.” This is not her correcting You, but exercising her free will to choose suffering with You or not. She is telling You that she will choose You yet again in her life. This “yes” to partake in Your suffering goes beyond the Passion to come, but extends to the suffering of Your Body, the Church.

So my point is that this weekend brought me to understand the role of our Lady in a new light. I see the pieces coming together little by little. I was able to walk with Our Lady, to see how she has done and continues to do the work of her son here on earth, being always a vessel of His Mercy. So it is interesting how the order of the events of the weekend took place, we met Our Lady, at her unveiling at the Shrine of Our Lady of Chestochowa. From there she walked with us in the midst of desolation, and suffering, and death at Auschwitz. There we stood in the place of a man who realized her role in human suffering and redemption, and gave himself completely to another, through her, with her, in her, and for her, so to love another more perfectly through Christ, with Christ, in Christ and for Christ. Then from this place she took us to the Shrine of Divine Mercy, where we experienced the Mercy of Her Son. Then we followed in the footsteps of our Pope John Paul II which was a living example of the hope and comfort she brings to a soul. He gave himself completely to her “Totus Tuus Maria” and and was able to rise above and beyond the circumstance and suffering in which he lived.

In Mary, With Mary, Through Mary, and For Mary, to do more perfectly In Christ, With Christ, Through Christ and For Christ…


Our Lady of Czestochowa, Pray for us

Our Lady Queen of Poland, Pray for Us

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Pray for Us

St Faustina, Pray for Us

Oh Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for Us, I Trust In You!



  1. this was beautiful, jil. thanks for sharing.

  2. My dearest daughter, I fell in love with you before I met you and once agin even deeper when I met you. Through the years my love and admiration for you has grown. But with this posting nd insight into to your mind, heart and soul I am even deeper in love with you and am in awe of how devoted and loving a child of Christ you have become, the world and all those who know you are much better because of you and your love and devotion to hem and mostly to the Trinity and ou Holy Mother. I beg you to stay on this path and to keep me in your prayers.

    Love you always

  3. You are a blessing! thanks for sharing your experiences and insight. Miss you!

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