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Mercy on the motorways


Melburnian Danuta Sedrak’s visit to St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral in late August certainly sparked plenty of interest among parishioners and passersby.

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For it was hard to miss Danuta’s mode of transport – a colourful motor home adorned with artwork promoting the work of Divine Mercy in the Oceania region. Inside the van on the passenger seat was a large portrait of Pope John Paul II and lots of brochures to hand out to people wanting to know more.

After leaving Melbourne and a stopover in Penola to learn about the work of Mary MacKillop, Danuta rolled into Adelaide and quickly headed to the Cathedral for Mass. Born in Poland, she also made time to visit the Resurrection Church in Unley.

Her trip across the border is part of a much bigger journey as over the next few months she plans to drive the van around Australia.

“I’ve been involved in the Divine Mercy Mission for 47 years, since I started in Poland in 1976,” she explained.

“Now I am retired I am driving around Australia to tell people about the Mission.”

Growing up in a strong Catholic family in Poland, Danuta said her faith was everything to her. She worked in catechesis with various youth groups in different parishes and as a university student protested against communist rule.

She spoke of meeting St John Paul II (Cardinal Karol Wojtyla) and being “privileged to have lunch with him” and attend Masses celebrated by him.

“My best friend was Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko,” she added, referring to the Catholic priest who spoke against the Communist government in Poland during the 1980s.

Her political and religious beliefs eventually led to her leaving Poland in 1987 and settling in Australia.

This is the third time Danuta has made the around-Australia journey promoting Divine Mercy – the first in 2014 in a small red car and then again in 2016, the Year of Mercy.

Along the way she visits different parishes and meets with a diverse mix of people. Divine Mercy Qld is helping to fund this trip and Danuta said people also generously provided donations to assist with the purchase of fuel.

Leaving Adelaide after a few days Danuta headed west, bound for Perth. She laughed how she is ‘old-school’ and relies on a printed map for directions, not a GPS, so sometimes the destination changes.

“I just let God guide me,” she said.

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