What do a fourteenth-century queen and a poor religious in a gray habit who lived with the homeless in a shelter five hundred years later have in common? Or a humble nun who, while dying in a monastery at the age of 33, was a virtually unknown figure and two Franciscans who were shot in the head and killed in Peru?
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" – this is the theme of World Youth Day Krakow 2016. It was from here, from the capital of Małopolska, that the Message of Divine Mercy, whose secretary was St. Faustina Kowalska, went out to the whole world. But this message was not something absolutely new – rather, it reminded and placed in a stronger light that which the whole Bible talks about and what made up the essence of the lives of the blesseds and saints of all nations and epochs. It is about the infinite, unchanging, and merciful love of God to people, and also mercy manifested to man by man.
The history of Krakow and Małopolska could actually be written from the perspective of the following saints, yet their fates are associated with particular places, which are permanently etched into European culture and tradition – no respectable guide would fail to include information about these churches, shrines, and museums. Thus, on our Trail of Mercy, the pilgrim imperceptibly becomes a tourist, and the tourist – a pilgrim. By any means, we invite not only believers on our common journey. It is hard to imagine a friendly world without everyday mercy – without forgiveness and reconciliation, without the selfless help and support of our spiritual neighbors. And the blesseds and saints whom we want to bring close are not sanctimonious persons from pretentious pictures, but authentic heroes of their time who continue to inspire to act, to not be indifferent, and to never stop believing that anyone can change their lives for the better.