“…faith and prayer are forces that can influence history and that in the end prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies.” (St. John Paul II)
August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, marks the 123th anniversary of the Miracle on the Vistula River, the event that is still very little known in the West; in fact, a watershed moment of contemporary European history, yet so shamefully-overlooked in the shadows of the interwar period, and after the Second World War when the Communist governments openly declared religion as the ‘opium of the masses’.
The Polish-Soviet war (1919-1920) has taken on symbolic meaning for many people around the world, not just the Poles. G. K. Chesterton compared it to the defeat of the Turks at the gates of Vienna in 1683. A few centuries later, in 1920 a Polish force was defending our Christian civilization against an ideology of militant atheism. Nowadays, not many realize that the primary source of this stupendous victory lay in Our Lady’s intervention, preceded by fervent national prayer. As I alluded in the Miracle on the Vistula River -Rediscovered, published in 2020, there was the double appearance of the Virgin Mary on the outskirts of Warsaw.
In this era of crisis of the European culture and Christian values, it is even more urgent to constantly recall the existence of Almighty God whose Providence guides the destiny of nations.
During the restoration of a nearly century-old wooden trunk, a woodworker stumbled upon a surprising revelation: a concealed compartment with a mysterious envelope. This hidden letter, once belonging to Wiktoria`s grandfather, had remained untouched throughout the entire period of communist rule in Poland, patiently waiting for the opportune moment to shed light on the Miracle on the Vistula. Here is a large portion, published by a biweekly magazine:
One must come to recognize that there is a lack of historical records concerning Red Army soldiers due to a predominant illiteracy among their ranks. Furthermore, political Commissars took proactive measures to prevent the documentation of individual soldiers from revelation. It should make the enemies of the Church wonder how could several hundred atheist soldiers collectively encounter a mass hallucination.
On the 14th of October 2008, Fr. Dr. Józef Bartnik S.J. (1927-2013) who worked for 30 years at the Jesuits` sanctuary, on the air of Catholic Radio Maryja said:
My objective is to raise awareness about this case and ensure long-overdue thanksgiving to the Virgin Mary after 88 years. […] We are deeply indebted to the Mother of God for Her spectacular assistance given to our army. The Mother of God’s public appearance before hundreds of atheists, which is virtually unique to the world, played a pivotal role in saving Warsaw, Poland, and Europe from the Bolshevik revolution in 1920. ... It was only after a series of articles published in the Catholic press, collectively titled “Bear Witness to the Appearance” that relevant documents and testimonials started to emerge. I received them from Senator Jadwiga Stokarska, Pastor Father Wiesław Wiśniewski, Józef Domagalski, and several others. However, many testimonies I learned could not be included in the book as they did not provide new information. Examples of such testimonies were those of Eugenia Władysława Papis and Wacława Jurczakowska.
The City of Warsaw has not yet incorporated Our Lady of Grace, the Patroness, into its official coat of arms, despite her significant role in protecting against the Bolsheviks. Despite numerous efforts of Catholics, since 1938 the symbol of the Polish capital continues to be a fish-human hybrid commonly referred to as a mermaid. Hence, Fr. Bartnik deplored so much the fact the Virgin Mary is not duly honored and venerated.
In Radzymin, since 2010, work has been underway to build the sanctuary in honor of St. John Paul II. The church that is being constructed, is a votive offering of gratitude for the Miracle on the Vistula as well as a thanksgiving to God for the pontificate of St. John Paul II.
In his memoirs, stunned by the unexpected change of events, Marshal Pilsudski noted: During the Battle of Warsaw, the perplexing and abrupt role reversal of the opposing sides leaves everyone pondering. The victor becomes the vanquished, while the conqueror is now conquered. […] One unwittingly looks for reasons for this rapid transformation, this crucial breakthrough.
Charles de Gaulle, Future French President, who served as a military adviser during the war, put down on August 17: Our Poles have grown wings. The soldiers who were physically and morally exhausted only a week ago are now racing forward in leaps of 40 kilometers a day.
“For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.” (Phil 2:13)
One can find it completely foreign, that before the David and Goliath decisive battle, Bartolo Longo launched an urgent appeal to the Catholics of the world to pray for Poland. In a private letter to Fr. Stanisław Mystkowski the Blessed wrote: I am utterly convinced that Our Lady of the Rosary who is Queen of the Polish Crown will not permit her beloved nation to live again under the yoke of Russian bondage… (Polak Katolik, Warszawa, 26.10.1926)
Though the participants and witnesses of those events become fewer every year, the memory lives on – the new generations do remember. In 1950 the Australian Catholic weekly reported: In pious recognition of the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin for the Miracle on the Vistula banks, a huge delegation of undergraduates from all Polish universities went as pilgrims to Czestochowa.
Captain Zenon Jankowski, a veteran of the Polish-Bolshevik war, reiterated: Everyone here is convinced that it was a miracle. When the Russians unleashed the attack, a glow appeared in the sky. The Russians ran away from it in panic, covering their eyes. While fleeing they lost their shoes and guns.
Written testimonies of Polish farmers in Zambrów, a small town off the beaten track, confirm that terrified Red Army soldiers would say: You did not see it. There was a big army near Warsaw. We saw the Mother of God who protected the Poles. (J. Zawitkowski, Okazał moc swego ramienia)
On July 26, 2020, Bishop Józef Zawitkowski, in the dedication to the booklet “Matka Boża Łaskawa, Patronka Warszawy, Strażniczka Polski”, incuded the following words: [Had it been Our Lady], tell it to the atheists in the EU, they would have worn soviet padded jackets for 100 years; history tends to repeat itself. Tell it to the divided people in Poland that the faithful have been praying for the next Miracle on the Vistula. […] Do not ask if there was truly the Miracle on the Vistula. The Mother of God (Matier Bożju) rescued us. Facts speak for themselves. Miracles speak for themselves….”
These are all incontrovertible facts belying the official narrative which underpins solely the skill, discipline and determination of the Polish defenders as well as the military genius of Marshal Józef Piłsudski. God forbid that someone happen to believe in Providence; worse yet, in the miraculous intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
No wonder, fueled by anti-Catholic prejudice, it had no place on the intellectual radar screens of British historians, since such things they dared to put in print or publish on-line:
The Cud nad Wisłą, the ‘Miracle on the Vistula’, was no miracle. It was a hard-fought battle, which took place in August 1920 near Warsaw…
Meanwhile, history has made a circle. No longer, slogans, written in Cyrillic characters, Варшава наша (Our Warsaw) are carried on banners by Red Army soldiers. Poland is standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation, between the Church and the anti-Church and between Christ and the Antichrist, that it has ever experienced. As elsewhere in the West, secularism has been making headway in Poland. It seems that wide circles of Christian communities do not fully realize this.
Father Dr. Tadeusz Rydzyk CSsR, the Founder and Director of the radio station Radio Maryja has recently called from Jasna Góra sanctuary: We should defend Poland, for she must remain Christlike!
Those who dream of Poland becoming the next Ireland or Quebec may suffer a major upset in upcoming months. With your and my prayers, through the intercession of the Black Madonna, Our Lady of Mercy, it is possible to stop the coming tribulation, maybe even avert it.
I hope and believe that my compatriots, spread throughout the four corners of the earth, join in storming heaven with the Rosary and a cry to St. Andrew Bobola and St. Michael the Archangel for help to save the Old Country.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
The scheduled October elections to Sejm and Senat will be the next benchmark of the true attachment of Poles to Christian values. Prior to the Polish parliamentary election of 2019, the President of the Polish Bishops Conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, urged the faithful to participate in large numbers and warned against voting contrary to the principles of the Catholic faith. The concerned shepherd reminded: Catholics must not support political agendas which promote abortion, moral corruption of children and youth; seek to redefine the institution of marriage, attempt to restrict the parents` rights of the responsibility for child-raising.