The miraculous story of the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Sagar (India)
Sagar is a mission diocese in the central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh. It has an area of 40,000 km. Six million people, mostly Hindus, live here. The Catholic population is less than 3,900. In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI elected Monsignor Anthony Chirayath as its third bishop. The newly appointed Bishop Chirayath found his diocese devoid of minimum infrastructure for his priests, sisters and the Catholics. To remedy this precarious situation he decided to go on mission appeal to Europe and to the United States.
In the beginning of October 2007 Bishop Chirayath flew to San Francisco looking for some financial help. In the evening of Friday 5 th October he was guest of Martin Joseph (name changed). At 9 p.m. he was working on his laptop perusing through his email and suddenly something happened to him. For some moments his mind went blank. He was totally shaken, possessed by a thought that he must build a shrine to Divine Mercy in Sagar. Never before had he thought about Divine Mercy. Humanly speaking there was no reason to connect him to Divine Mercy. He said he was not dreaming because it was only 9 p.m. and he was working on his computer. But it was a very possessive thought. He did not share it with anyone that evening.
Next morning, Saturday 6 th October, he flew to Sioux Falls. At 10 am, during a stop over in Minneapolis St. Paul’s International Airport, as soon as he activated his cell phone, a man totally stranger to him, never heard of him, never seen him, called him from 5000 km. away in Charlotte in North Carolina, to his mobile phone and asked to speak to the Bishop of Sagar. The man on the other end said that the previous evening he was praying to Divine Mercy and he had a vision of a Shrine of Divine Mercy in Sagar. He saw thousands of people going to this shrine to get the blessings of Jesus Divine Mercy.
Bishop was speechless. He recollected his experience of the previous evening. Bishop Chirayath asked him “How could this be? This cell phone number is strictly personal known only to a handful of people. I do not know you. I have not seen you, nor heard of you and where did you get my telephone number?” Bishop told him what had happened to him on the previous evening.
But the man from Charlotte continued to say that his vision was so vivid, that the shrine was there, people were going there to this shrine and they were getting the blessings of Jesus. Bishop told him then that even to build a small Shrine he needed a little money. The man asked how much money do you need. Bishop said the he needed at least 3000 dollars to build a small Shrine, very small one. The man told the bishop: “I will send you right now 5000 dollars and if you need more money I will give you, but do not stop the project, it has to be realized. God is with you. You must realize this project”. Next day the bishop received from him 5000 dollars.
That was not enough. On the third day, i.e. on Sunday 7 th morning, the bishop gets an email from a priest of his diocese back in Sagar who wrote to him that he heard a visitor to Khajuria speaking about a dream he had previous night about a Shrine of Divine Mercy in Khajuria. The shrine was attracting thousands of people to receive the blessings of Jesus. Three days the same vision to three different people totally strangers to each other living in continents apart.
Before returning to India Bishop Chirayath went to visit the National Shrine to Divine Mercy in Stockbridge (MA), in the United States. It was a Friday 5 th October. The Rector of the Shrine invited him to celebrate the Mass for pilgrims at 2 pm. In his homily the bishop shared with the congregation his experience of Friday 5 th October. They all were wonder struck. Before the final blessing the Rector of the Shrine stood up and told the congregation that he has something to add to what the bishop said during the homily. He said that Friday 5 th October, when the bishop had the experience of Divine Mercy, was the feast of St. Faustina, which the bishop did not know till that moment.
Soon after the bishop’s return to his diocese, the clergy had their annual retreat, which was directed by a Vincentian priest, who centered his conferences on the devotion to Divine Mercy. He prepared the whole diocese - all the clergy first of all. The intensity of the visions caused the erection of a shrine on November 9, 2007 in an existing small chapel in the village of Khajuria in the Diocese of Sagar. The shrine was named Dayasagar, which means Ocean of Mercy. In the presence of all the priests and very many sisters and faithful Bishop Chirayath dedicated his diocese to Divine Mercy.
On the same day it was entrusted to the care of the Vincentian Fathers of Rewa Province (India). Attached to the shrine is a Renewal Centre for all who desire to spend time in silence, prayer, adoration and retreat. On July 15, 2008, three Adoration Sisters of Nirmal Rani Province (India) started Perpetual Adoration in the shrine chapel. Individuals and groups are coming regularly to pray at the feet of Divine Mercy. Several miraculous healings are reported. Special prayers are offered daily at the shrine for those who make request.
To accommodate increasing number of pilgrims Bishop decided to build an outdoor shrine. Initially the idea was to put up an eight feet tall statue of Divine Mercy on top of an outdoor stage, but when Fr. Vincent Akkara went to Kerala in search of an artist who could make a statue he met artist Pauly who suggestged to make a 30 feet statue, which when completed became 43 feet tall, India’s tallest statue of Jesus. The statue was blessed on 30 th September 2013 by Cardinal George Alenchery in the presence of sixteen bishops and Archbishops and over 6000 pilgrims of all faiths coming from India and abroad.
Fr. Vincent Akkara
Daya Sagar Renewal Centre,
KHAJOORIA SAGAR (DIST), M.P. - 470 001