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A Wounded Pilgrim

On 22 November 1981, Pope John-Paul II comes out of the Vatican for the first time since the aggression on St. Peter’s Square, on 13 May of the same year. And he comes as a pilgrim, still convalescent, to give thanks to the Merciful Love. The Pope said, “We have come to visit this sanctuary because we owe our health to God’s mercy:”

He already knew Mother Esperanza, because while he was bishop of Cracow, he came twice to see her and speak with her. He met her again but this time she was her wheelchair. He approached her, bowed down, and kissed her forehead.

Nothing could have been a bigger tribute for her. The same year, the Pope had promulgated the encyclical “Dives in Misericordia,” in which he summarized, analyzed, studied and proclaimed to the world that God is rich in mercy, a good Father, the Merciful Love, in short what Mother Esperanza had lived and announced throughout her life. In Collevalenza, the Pope said, “This year, I published the encyclical Dives in Misericordia. This circumstance has brought me to the Sanctuary of Merciful Love. By my presence, I want to restate in a special way the message of this encyclical … Since the beginning of my ministry in the office of Saint Peter in Rome, I have considered this message as my particular task.”

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