Faith Strong Enough to Save a City

Poland train_Sr Ann Reflection
Image Source Tracks / Image Source Hands
By Sr. Ann Shields, SGL

About a month ago, I was invited to speak at a Catholic Charismatic Conference in Poland.  Having been to that country twice before, I was also curious to see a part of Poland I had not seen in previous trips. This time, I was near the Russian border in the area of Warsaw.

The conference was wonderful.  I was privileged to have two excellent translators, so we were to communicate effectively. Spending some time in the city of Bialystok, the “home” area of Father Michael Sopcko, the confessor of St. Faustina, was another privilege! I was able to visit the church where his body is buried, the Church of Divine Mercy, and to spend time in prayer there for all of us, that we might be more and more channels of His mercy!

But the experience I want to relate in this blog today was one that strengthened my own faith in a substantial way.

In the 1980s, sparks were seen under the wheels of a train that was running through the city carrying some kind of explosive materials. Realizing the danger, officials very quickly tried to solve the problem and, at the same time, to get people to run as fast as they could in the opposite direction of the train. You can imagine the confusion!

In the midst of the chaos, a small group of people—I don’t know how many—simply knelt down on the ground beside the slightly elevated train tracks and prayed. All they prayed was this: “Jesus, we trust in You! Jesus, have mercy.” Though their lives were in danger, they continued to stay and pray. After a very anxious period of time, the train was safely out of the city. Nothing exploded; there was no fire, no destruction, and no loss of life.

A group of young people—and others—took me and the sister traveling with me to the spot where that group of people had so courageously prayed and bravely trusted God. The train tracks have trees on either side—and there among the trees is a kneeler and a large crucifix planted in the ground with the words “Jesus, I trust in You” at the top.

I stood there for a while. Behind me were the scenes of a typical modern city; in front of me was a beautiful, almost country-like scene of flowers, trees, and a train passing by just on the other side of the trees. Forty-some years ago, a group of people had enough faith in God’s mercy to put their lives on the line for everyone else in that city. I stood on that ground where so many knelt and still kneel today, and I wondered . . . would we have the faith to do that if a need called for it? I knelt on that kneeler and prayed the words at the top of the Crucifix—again and again, asking Jesus that your faith and mine would grow.

“Jesus, give me grace that my faith may grow . . . Jesus, I trust in You.”

Sister Ann Shields

Sr. Ann Shields, SGL, is part of Renewal Ministries’ leadership team and a member of The Servants of God’s Love. She is an internationally noted speaker, the author of numerous books on Catholic spirituality, and the host of the popular daily radio program Food for the Journey. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI awarded Sr. Ann the Benemerenti Medal for service to the Church. The Catholic Library Association also awarded Sr. Ann the Aggiornamento Award, for her outstanding contribution to the renewal of parish and community life.

2 thoughts on “Faith Strong Enough to Save a City

  1. How beautiful faith makes us! I love this story and all stories where people just believe that Jesus is above all Good, wants to and will always help us. Thank you for sharing this testimony of God’s love for all of us.

  2. HOW THIS WORLD NEEDS THESE TESTIMONIES OF FAITH, OF TRUST IN OUR JESUS WHO LOVES US SO MUCH AND IS READY TO FORGIVE SO QUICKLY. OH, JEUUS, SEND OUT YOUR LOVE TO TOUCH THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE…THINK WHAT JOY THEY HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED. THANK YOU FOR SR. ANN WHO HAS LONG SERVED WELL.

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