Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
As we approach the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, I would like to share a true account of a bold initiative taken by the youngest member of our advisory council, which involved Mr. Vladimir Putin, the president of the Russian Federation, and his appeal to Pope Francis to make the Fatima Consecration of Russia. The purpose of sharing this account is twofold: first, to show what great things our young people can do when they follow the inspirations of the Lord with the blessing of their fathers; secondly, to invite you to pray for the success of the efforts now being made to persuade Major Archbishop Shevchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, to ask all of the Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchs to join him in asking Pope Francis to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with all the Bishops of the Catholic Church.
Several years ago, the Kolbe Center was invited to give a seminar to priests, seminarians and religious of the Institute of the Incarnate Word near to their seminary in Montefischione near to Rome. World-renowned plant geneticist Dr. John Sanford, author of Genetic Entropy, agreed to participate in the seminar, and since he and his wife are not Catholic, a young biologist on our advisory council, Hannah Holden (now Mrs. Hannah Oster), agreed to accompany him and his wife so that they would understand the Catholic way of doing things while they were in Rome and Montefischione.
After Dr. Sanford and his wife left Rome for a Kolbe conference in London with Greg Clovis, the head of Family Life International in the United Kingdom, Hannah stayed in Rome to follow an inspiration that she wanted to pursue with the blessing of her father. She had seen in the news that a young man from South America who was not a Catholic but who was riding his bicycle around the world had been invited to have a private meeting with Pope Francis. Hannah reasoned that if the Holy Father would grant a private audience to a non-Catholic cyclist, he would grant an audience to her, if she respectfully persisted in her request for a brief meeting. Her specific inspiration was to seek a private audience with Pope Francis to tell him how the teaching of evolution in Catholic schools was destroying the faith of her generation. But I will let Hannah tell the rest of the story in her own words.
I felt called in adoration in 2013 to go to Rome to try to speak to the Pope about this topic (the Consecration of Russia and the error of evolutionism corrupting youth). I asked Mary what she thought, then I heard a strong interior voice from Our Lady..."Yes! Go!"
I spent two months there in Rome, alone, writing a letter to Pope Francis every day and trying to get an audience, spending my other time in Masses and Confession around Rome, and staying in various hostels. I could write a book. Several times I should have been able to meet with Pope Francis about this, but very unusual forces barred my way. On the last day I was there before I left for the U.S. and returned home, that is, on November 25, at about 9 a.m., I was able to meet with Vladimir Putin very early and give him a letter I had written about the meaning of Our Lady of Fatima’s request for the Consecration of Russia and that he should ask for it. A good friend, Hugh Owen, had informed me of this meeting only three days prior, on the 22nd. Hugh helped me with my letter to Mr. Putin. (Incidentally, this was the first time Mr. Putin met with Pope Francis—later on the very day when I spoke with him.) I learned through a contact that his office got in touch with a Fatima organization shortly afterwards, to ask what the Consecration and Fatima were all about.
My letter asked Mr. Putin to ask Pope Francis 1) to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a sign of respect for Russia and her role in the future evangelization of the world; 2) to encourage the Pope to support the teaching of the true doctrine of creation as opposed to evolution, as the Russian Orthodox Church authorities are doing in Russia right now; and 3) to grant me an audience before I had to return to the United States on the 27th, so that I could point out the great joy that comes from knowing that real science supports the traditional teaching of the Church on creation--a joy that many Russian youth have experienced, thanks to the work of Russian Orthodox priest and martyr Fr. Daniel Sysoyev and others who in recent years have boldly defended the true doctrine of creation and the scientific evidence that confirms that doctrine and refutes evolution.
Fr. Daniel Sysoyev (1974-2009) gunned down before the altar of his church in Moscow by a Muslim assassin
I did not know until a few days ago through a Russian priest's interview on YouTube (July 2020) that Putin had reportedly asked for the Consecration that day in 2013, but Pope Francis said no. God blessed me with a godly husband shortly after I returned, after many years of struggling to find my vocation. It was all definitely planned by God. I had no idea Vladimir Putin would come into my life when I planned my trip. I was so downcast as each day had gone by in Rome, knowing I would have to return home soon. The only reason I was still in Rome on that date was because I felt when I chose my round-trip tickets that I should return home on the 27th...the Feast Day of the Miraculous Medal.
I had been fearful all of these years that I had failed the Lord, being a sinner. I thought I had wasted the Lord's time because I was unable to meet the Pope, and was not holy enough, but I was thankful to find out that He was able to use me. Praised be Jesus Christ, Lord of the Universe, and thanks be to His Blessed Mother! Trust in God and He will use you in ways you cannot expect!
A few weeks after Hannah’s providential meeting with Vladimir Putin, I was in Guadalajara, Mexico, with two of my colleagues to give some seminars at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara. Our host, a devout Catholic with an important position in the university, told us that a priest-friend of his from South America, who knows Pope Francis very well, had been present at the meeting between Vladimir Putin and the Pope. The priest testified that Mr. Putin had asked the Pope about the Fatima consecration, but that the Pope had replied, “That is not on my agenda.”
Could Ukraine Hold the Key to the Consecration of Russia?
May 13 will mark the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima who came to warn us of “the errors of Russia” and to give us the antidote to those errors—the total consecration of ourselves to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope and all of the Bishops. Since we have not done our part, and the Immaculate Heart has not triumphed sufficiently in our souls, the Holy Father has not received the grace to do his part, and the consecration of Russia remains undone.
Meanwhile, in Eastern Ukraine, fighting is going on almost continuously between Ukrainian government forces and soldiers aligned with the Russian federation. Two million people have been displaced. Women, children, and elderly people are suffering greatly. A massive military build-up is taking place on the border between Russia and Ukraine. It is apparent to anyone who monitors the conflict that it is a humanly hopeless situation, but I feel compelled once again to use this newsletter to commend to your prayers a way in which the Holy Father could be persuaded to carry out the Consecration or Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Biblical history and Church history prove that, especially in humanly hopeless situations, God’s commands must be obeyed precisely to obtain His promised rewards. When Naaman the leper was told by the Prophet Elisha to wash seven times in the Jordan River, he asked his Hebrew servant why he should wash in the Jordan when he had better rivers to wash in back home. But when he obeyed the command of Elisha, he was healed instantly. In 1531, Archbishop Zumarraga faced a humanly hopeless situation in Mexico as his efforts to reform the Spanish colonists had failed miserably and, as a result, the indigenous people were preparing to rise up in bloody rebellion against the scandalous abuses of the tyrannical Spanish lay leaders. However, when the archbishop immediately and completely obeyed Our Lady of Guadalupe’s precise instructions—conveyed through Saint Juan Diego—to build a shrine in her honor on Mt. Tepeyac, ten million Indians converted to Christianity in the next ten years. In the same way, we can be quite sure that when the Pope obeys the specific requests of Our Lady of Fatima, Russia will be completely converted and a period of peace will be granted to the people of Ukraine and to those of the whole world.
We know that some Church leaders argue that the Pope does not have the proper jurisdiction to consecrate a non-Catholic country, but that argument has already been made and was refuted at the highest levels of the Church when Pope Leo XIII announced his intention to consecrate the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1899. Highly influential Churchmen argued that the Pope could not consecrate pagan and other non-Catholic nations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, after thoroughly studying the arguments pro and con, Pope Leo XIII firmly rejected the argument of those who sought to dissuade him from consecrating all nations, Catholic and non-Catholic, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In Annum sacrum he wrote:
Twenty-five years ago, on the approach of the solemnities of the second centenary of the Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque's reception of the Divine command to propagate the worship of the Sacred Heart, many letters from all parts, not merely from private persons but from Bishops also were sent to Pius IX. begging that he would consent to consecrate the whole human race to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was thought best at the time to postpone the matter in order that a well-considered decision might be arrived at. Meanwhile permission was granted to individual cities which desired it thus to consecrate themselves, and a form of consecration was drawn up. Now, for certain new and additional reasons, We consider that the plan is ripe for fulfilment.
This world-wide and solemn testimony of allegiance and piety is especially appropriate to Jesus Christ, who is the Head and Supreme Lord of the race. His empire extends not only over Catholic nations and those who, having been duly washed in the waters of holy baptism, belong of right to the Church, although erroneous opinions keep them astray, or dissent from her teaching cuts them off from her care; it comprises also all those who are deprived of the Christian faith, so that the whole human race is most truly under the power of Jesus Christ.
While Pope Francis has paid no heed to the arguments of clergy and lay faithful who have begged him to make the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with all the Bishops, he has demonstrated that he is deeply moved by human suffering and that, when moved, he is willing to act decisively. Major Archbishop Shevchuk, the head of the Ukraine Catholic Church, has a long-standing relationship with the Pope going back to their days together in Buenos Aires, when Archbishop Shevchuk presided over the Ukrainian Catholic community in Argentina and then-Archbishop Bergoglio served the Church in Buenos Aires.
In a recent international Gallup Poll Ukrainians expressed the greatest degree of desperation and hopelessness of any people in Eurasia, surpassed only by the people of Haiti and Sudan. Although the international mass media largely ignores the crisis, the situation in Eastern Ukraine continues to deteriorate, with no sign of a diplomatic solution on the horizon. Since the Bishops and clergy of Ukraine are in the best possible position to testify to the horrendous suffering that is taking place in Eastern Ukraine, it would not be difficult for Archbishop Shevchuk to ask the Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchs to write—or even to accompany him—to Rome, to show Pope Francis the documentary evidence of the terrible suffering of women, children, and elderly people in Eastern Ukraine, and to beg him to make the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain the miracle of a peaceful resolution of the humanly hopeless situation in Ukraine.
Faced with the photographic evidence and eye-witness testimony of witnesses to the horror of the situation there, it is hard to imagine that the Pope would be able to say “No” to such a request. At any rate, given the state of the world and of the Church today, I do not believe that there is any other approach to Pope Francis that offers a greater hope of success in persuading him to make the Consecration of Russia than the one I have just described. If anyone reading this newsletter has any influence with any of the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops, I urge you to use your influence to persuade them to ask Archbishop Shevchuk to unite with the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of the whole world in asking Pope Francis to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as soon as possible.
Our Lady of Fatima promised that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph, the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Her, Russia will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. During her last apparition on October 13, She appeared as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, a word which in the Hebrew language can be translated as “Garden,” so that Our Lady of Mt. Carmel could be taken to mean “Our Lady of the Garden.” This title has a special significance in relation to the promised period of peace, since it suggests a partial restoration of Creation to a condition much more similar to the first-created world in the era of peace. This in turn agrees with the prophecies of many saints whose writings were approved by the Church, including St. Maximilian Kolbe, who foresaw:
in every country . . . Cities of Mary Immaculate . . . tears flowing from the eyes of the most hardened sinners; prisons will be emptied; honest workers will unite; families will overflow with virtue, peace, and happiness; all discord will be banished, for it [will then be] the new era.
Please join me in praying that the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops will petition the Holy Father to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that an era of peace will be granted to the world—an era in which the whole world will be evangelized with the pure Gospel of the Catholic Faith, on the foundation of the true Catholic doctrine of Creation.
Yours in Christ through the Immaculata, in union with St. Joseph,