Sin begets pain, sickness, suffering and death. Ursula died; who is to be blamed? In January 2013, after breaking through the barrier separating me from the Lord, I desired to be closer to Him.
In the early morning of 21 January, I made a confession of my entire life. At last, I felt so close to God… In prayer, I surrendered my entire self and everything that He had endowed me with in my whole life: my family, my dear ones, feelings, possessions… The priest told me then that I would have to be careful in the future because Satanwould be struggling to get me back. That evening, my daughter Ursula had such a high fever that she was having spasms. My wife and I prayed for her, and the fever abated, but we took her to the emergency room. We got a referral from the emergency room, took her to the hospital, and in the morning received the diagnosis: leukaemia!!!
I wasn’t scared. I showed my cross to the doctor who had confirmed the likelihood of the disease and told him: “We have a Defender.Nothing will shake us.” Inside, however, I was haunted by thoughts of “What’s going on? How is this possible? Certainly the doctors are mistMeanwhile, the test confirmed the initial diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. “What on earth is this? What have I done? Why did I offer up my daughter to Him? Isthis the price to pay for being close to God? Despair. Where are you my Jesus? I’m oppressed, save me, save my daughter! Is this why you blessed me with this gift, to take her back from me now? Is this why you gave me a heart full of love for my children, so that I should aken! Let’s wait for the biopsy results. The tests will explain the situation. I need only give due glory to God and the matter is settled. Ursula will return home!” now suffer for it? So I would doubt? Sweet Mother Mary, save me!” I screamed.
Ursula’s fever fell immediately once we took her to the hospital. She smiled at everyone as usual. We kept praying: in the chapel, in the treatment room and at home, the rosaries never left our hands. He will not abandon us, but how to ask Him? Sweet Mary, Mother of God, your Son left you with us. If we beg for your help, you will have all our prayers heard. There’s no other way. We sent requests for prayers for Ursula to all our friends and acquaintances, and they sent them to theirs. The junior high and high school youth and members of the Oasis youth group sent out the message to pray for Ursula. An avalanche of prayer was set in motion. Even people who had never before prayed a rosary began praying it. I myself didn’t even know the mysteries, since I only prayed the rosary occasionally. Now, I didn’t need a booklet or any prompting. I prayed. I had never prayed so openly, but I felt good about it. I prayed the rosary with my brother- in-law, with my mother-in-law and with others, but most importantly I prayed with my wife and our daughters; we had never prayed like it before. Of course, we attended Masses together, and in the morning we prayed together before breakfast (as Ursula taught us), but the rosary? During this time, I went to mass every day. While praying, I was always listening for that Voice which was supposed to tell me “It’s all right”. But I didn’t hear it.
Once we were taking Ursula back to the hospital after a short break at home. I left the ladies at the admissions office and went back to the car for the bags. It was Sunday, and there was no one around. I pulled the things out of the trunk and when I turned around there was a woman standing there asking me if I needed help with anything. I thanked her and told her no, that I would manage. “Have you brought someone in today?” she asked. “Yes, my daughter… She has leukaemia.” “Well, I’ll pray for her. What’s her name?” “Ursula”, I said. “So I will pray for Ursula”, she answered. BecauseI was preoccupied, I didn’t even thank her, and when I raised my head, she was gone. But I was still listening intently!
We forget to thank God and people for day-to-day things, and it’s thanks to them that our everyday life has meaning
Ursula wrote a testimony that she didn’t want to show me. “I’ll write another one and then you will read it. This is the first one, and it’s not very good”, she explained. But one day, when I was collecting things from the hospital, I picked up her notebook, so I had a chance to read it. I think I cried an entire hour. Then I made a film presentation and uploaded it to YouTube. I was still listening… We received word of prayers for Ursula. Priests, nuns and lay people from all over Poland, from overseas and from missions were praying. I wondered where all these prayers were coming from. We see so few people in the streets who smile at us. It seems like we are surrounded by gloom and apathy, constant rushing and worrying over earthly things, and here such a response, so many prayers and reassurances about it. We were amazed. I thought: “God exists, since He sends the grace of prayers for Ursula, because He wants to heal her. Perhaps finally it is all right! Now we just have to wait out the illness, not get discouraged, trust, praise, worship and bless.” I was listening – it was still quiet.
The testimony that Ursula left us is the greatest gift: the miracle of recognising God’s love in everything that happens in the world every day
Meanwhile, the illness returned. We were praying and looking for donors. God exists… once again so many people responded. Then another return, but this time the doctors refused to treat it. God exists… I don’t hear Him, but He’s there. I listen in silence… nothing. But He’s there, I’m sure of it. We return from the hospital smiling, because we’re not going home to die. Ursula tells me not to worry, since Jesus is with us. He told her in Sokółka (where the Eucharistic miracle occurred in 2008) that she still had to suffer, but it was not going to be much longer. “He can’t take her, He can’t let her die; we trust Him. So many people are praying for her. He won’t disappoint us, he won’t risk losing so many followers, and He won’t let the evil which is laughing at us prevail”, I thought. “Ursula feels very bad, she’s dying; what are you waiting for, my Lord Jesus?” I asked… Silence. Again no answer.
I open my eyes and I see Maggie and Magda holding Ursula’s hands by the bed. I can’t do that, so I stroke her cheek and head, tears pouring down my face. “I won’t give her to You. I want her to be here with me. You can’t take her from me. My God, where are you? Come now, I beg You. Rescue my Ursula, she’s suffering so!” I cried.
There are four priests in the room with us. There are many people around: family, doctors and nurses from the hospice. Everyone is praying. And my prayer is: “if you are there, God, come and end my Ursula’s suffering. I give her to You, because You are her one true father. I’m just Your shadow, and there’s nothing more I can do other than to simply give her up to You.” “Ursula, don’t be afraid my sweetheart; Jesus loves you. You’ll be better off with Him than anywhere else or with anyone else in the world. Give Him your hand and go” – my last words. “God, come and free her from this illness, take her to Your bosom, let her feel Your fatherly love”.
The Lord gives us many graces. He gives us everything. Will I acceptwhat He gives me? Faith? Hope? Joy? Love? Do I still believe in God when I’m losing my daughter? Yes, I believe. I can’t see Him, I don’t feel Him physically, but I know that He is there. I know that Jesus conquered death with nothing more than love. I know that He rose again and lives.
The last words that I heard from Ursula were “me too, Daddy”. They were an answer to my “I love you my dear, my sweetheart”. There was so much love in them, the same love that overcomes evil, that overcomes every obstacle, that overcomes death.
After all, she didn’t die!!! She is with Jesus! With my God, my Lord, my Father, my King, my Saviour. I’m not a madman, even though many may think so; many who don’t see or hear; who don’t believe. My daughter is alive; she is with me forever. She prays with me and intercedes for me. Now everything is so simple.
Ursula left a beautiful testimony that she had written in February. It occurs to me now that her entire life – for which we are very thankful to God – made sense through the graces of joy and the love of being with her which He offered to us. The testimony that Ursula left us is the greatest gift: the miracle of recognising God’s love in everything that happens in the world every day, in every sip of bitterness or sweetness, in shouting or hearing shouting, in everything that happens to us not necessarily for the better, sometimes linked to suffering, grief or anger; love is in everything, if only we are able to recognise it. Love is in my wife irritating me sometimes and in my irritating her sometimes. I know how hard it is for me to say to my dad: “I love you”. Ursula taught me that. She gave me an example that works in every situation. You have to stand before God and tell Him that you love Him and that everything is all right now.
Every person in your life is a blessing from God. The one who helps you, and the one you helpEvery person in your life is a blessing from God. The one who helps you, and the one you help
When I read my daughter’s testimony today, the part in which she compares people and angels and writes how they are jealous of us because we can suffer for Jesus and we can receive Holy Communion, it all hits me that much more powerfully, and I believe that much more that God exists. Now I know where the peace in me comes from, where my self-control comes from. That disease, and especially that testimony, opened my eyes to something that I hadn’t seen in her before. I had never seen that Ursula had such great faith in God; I hadn’t seen what great closeness she had to Jesus. For me, her testimony is not only a legacy that she handed down to us, but also a form of prayer. I don’t want to be artificial for even a moment. I simply live on and pray to the Lord that He will give me strength and be my guide. I pray for the strength of love and faith.
K. J. – Ursula’s earthly father
Ursula’s testimony: Did you see the love today?
You can really see it! You just have to take a really close look. I have lymphoblastic leukaemia. I was just recently diagnosed with it, and I’m just beginning treatment. So, you might think, “why write a testimony if you are just beginning this experience”, but it turns out that it’s possible. The disease itself is not very noticeable, but the treatment for it is incredibly draining. There’s no getting away without the chemotherapy, along with a bunch of other medications (both tablets and injections). It’s now the beginning of February. My immunity has dropped and I’m confined to a protective isolation room. I’m alone in the room and can’t even step out the door. With the exception of the doctors and nurses, no one other than my closest family, like my motherand father, are allowed to visit me, and even they have to be 100% healthy. Of course, everyone has to wear a mask and gown. I have a big window here. Through it I can see a small part of the hospital grounds. There is a terrace, but it’s cold now, and that immunity of mine… So, for the time being, I’m locked up. That’s an introduction.
One evening, I was lying in bed and thinking. I was looking at a picture of my dog, who is waiting for me at home. I thought about how happy he makes me in my daily life. At first, I was thinking only about the dog, who gets all excited just from seeing me. He’s just a dog, but I noticed what great significance he holds for me. Then I started thinking about other things, and about people… If I hadn’t appreciated this ordinary animal until then, how much more was I overlooking in life? My parents… I would come back from school every day, talk for a while and go to my room. In the evening, we would usually sit and watch TV. What was missing? Love! We should sit together, pray, talk to each other and show how much we love each other. Now I’m lying in the hospital and I would give anything to spend just one evening or one day with them. We have to appreciate each other!!!
My older sister… I never really thanked her for singing with me, for playing with me, for talking, for laughing. We forget to thank God and people for day-to-day things, and it’s thanks to them that our everyday life has meaning.
Friends and acquaintances… You spend time with them, but do you appreciate that time? Do you thank God for them? It sounds outdated and simple: “You never appreciate what you have until you lose it.” Of course, your grandma talks like that and I hope you never find out how it really is. I found out and I keep on finding out during this illness.
We all have to learn quickly to look with love at everyone and everything that God blesses us with, and to appreciate every moment that leads us to salvation
When I think I could be taking a walk now and thanking God for the sky, for the air that I breathe… For the time being, I can thank Him for the stuffiness of the hospital, and I do thank Him even for that, because it’s really a lot to have.
When you were leaving your house today, did you notice how many gifts and graces God had already given you?
I can bet you didn’t! Yes, my point is that the tree you can touch on your way home, to school or to work is an extraordinary gift. Being able to taste and eat, that’s a gift. It will not always stay that way, and one day it might be too late to regret that you didn’t manage earlier to take pleasure in all the simple things.
Look for love!!! It’s everywhere! 100 percent sure! It’s enough just to look into the eyes of your own mum, and you’ll find love! Grandma’s pastry is full of love! Grandpa has it! Your dog has it! Consider how much you still have to appreciate; how much God has given you, and how much He still has to offer you! But you finally need to appreciate it! And the most important thing to remember is that every person that you meet on the path of your life is a blessing from God. The one who helps you, and the one you help; the one who prays for you, and the one you pray for. Especially the people who are unreasonable – they are a blessing for you. You have to help them and you have to thank them, because they are directing you onto the path of holiness.
I didn’t write the kind of testimony that you would expect: about my miraculous cure from leukaemia.But the Lord healed the perspective of my heart and now I can be thankful for even the tiniest detail of my life. For the fact that I can sit, stand or walk, because these things aren’t always possiblefor me now. I believe that God can heal me from this disease even faster than the prescribed treatment. But if he wills it, the healing may drag on slowly or not happen at all. This is not an incurable disease, but I know that whatever the Lord does with my life will be a testimony to faith and love. I am convinced that whether I recover or die, my life will be proof that we all have to learn quickly to look with love for everyone and everything that God blesses us with, and to appreciate every moment that leads us to salvation.
Sometimes we wonder why we have to suffer. “After all”, we might think, “Jesus suffered for our sins. He gave His life so that we could live in peace”. Apparently that’s not necessarily the case.
Suffering dignifies us. These are very beautiful words, but they aren’t true if you don’t offer your suffering up to Jesus. The pain itself can’t cause good. Whoever thought that up anyway? Pain comes from Satan, so it can’t be the source of anything good. It’s God who always wants what is best for us, that’s why He took all our suffering upon Himself. He suffered and died for us, then He rose from the dead. By His design our suffering, if offered up to Him, dignifies us and leads to victory – to heaven. If we can internalise that idea, then we can be proud that we are honoured to suffer along with Jesus. It’s only God who has the answers to all questions. But we can be proud of ourselves that we can unite ourselves with Jesus through suffering. So let’s not complain if something hurts; rather let’s offer it up to God, and He will free us at the ideal moment. And let’s never think that if pain comes and we pray for relief, then the pain will subside and disappear. Sometimes a single prayer is enough, sometimes much more is necessary, and sometimes our prayers don’t bring us what we expect. But if we ask the Lord to accept this pain from us, then He can bring out a lot of good out of our suffering.
Now that I have leukaemia, I pray and ask God for the miracle of healing. But at the same time, I am open to fulfilling God’s will, even if it is in a way that I don’t want. I wonder what God’s will is this time. I know that I am not capable of understanding it, becauseI am just a human. But I also know that God is infinitely wise and understands my thoughts, even if I don’t understand them myself. We have to pray to be ready to accept God’s will. In our prayers, we should express our wishes and plans, but only with a willingness to accept that God already has a better plan for us. Even Jesus in the garden told God the Father what He wanted, and at the same time that He would do what the Fatherhad planned for Him.
We won’t understand suffering, but I once heard that one thing the angels envy us for is that we can suffer in Jesus’ name. Now I try to remember that whenever I experience suffering. Then it is much easier to bear, and I can be proud, because it means that I am not succumbing to Satan.
If you are experiencing suffering, you have to remind yourself that you love God, because He loved you first; and that He suffered and died for you. If you love God, then life and everything about it makes sense. Even suffering.
Ursula Jeromin, 16 years old