The History of the Painting of God the Father;
discovered in a strange way in Pawoloczy in the Ukraine
First, I would like to state that everything that I write here is not an invention but a factual event. I write down only what I often heard from my late parents who lived in1860 in Pawołocz. Pawołocz is in Ukraine in the county of Kiev in the district of Skwirski, a town known for Tatar and Hajdamacki invasions.
My father once had a strange dream; an old man appeared to him demanding him that he should redeem him from a Jew.
The next morning, my father told my mother about this dream but he himself did not pay any great attention to it. However, the following night, he had the same dream where the same old man appeared with the same request. My father again repeated the story to my mother who said to him “But you do not know from what Jew you ought to redeem him?”. On the third night, the same dream was repeated but my father asked the old man “From which Jew have I to redeem him?”.
Then the old man named the Jew, adding that he had lived with his family at the city wall behind the barrows. When he woke up in the morning he again narrated the dream to my mother, remembering the name of the Jew. That same morning he sent for a Jew whom he knew to check out if the story was true, because this Jew knew all habitants of that area of Pawołocz. When this Jew came, my father asked him if he remembered a Jew with such and such a name (I do not remember the name).
The Jew said, “Yes, there is a Jew with such a name.”. “What does he have?” “He has a small shop.” “Does he have a hiding place (podwal)?” (“podwal” in Ukrainian means a place where people kept alcoholic drinks in the basement). Pawolocz was an old town and the houses had basements, sometimes three stories below street level. At the time of the Tatar and Hajdamak invasions the local population used to hide there. This Jew was saying that, indeed, the grandfather of that other Jew did have such a hideout.
This surprised my father and so at once he went to that other Jew, knowing his name since the old man in the dream had told him what it was. He then asked this other Jew, “What is in the podwale?”. He answered that there were old barrows there. My father took a few people with him and went down with them to the second story of the podwale. In the dim light he spotted old broken barrows. He asked his friends to remove them and then he spotted a square object, which looked like a wide square plank against the wall. My father took this object which was covered with a thick layer of thick dust. When he started removing this dust he noticed the painting of God the Father beneath. There was also a second painting of the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani, and a third one of Our Lady feeding the child Jesus. My father took these paintings and asked the Jew how much he should pay for them. The Jew was very surprised and at the same time frightened, because he thought that my father knew about these art pieces. But in fact my father did not know anything about them at all. The Jew just replied, “Take these paintings and go away”. But my father insisted on paying something, but I do not remember how much my father actually paid for the paintings. It could be one ducat for each or for all three paintings. All I know is that they were talking about ducats. My father took the pictures home and after cleaning them, hung them on the wall and they were venerated in my parents’ house. As the old man in the dream had said, “The paintings were behind the barrows” and that was true. Some years later, after the insurrection, which he survived, my father left Pawolocz and stayed in Stepak also in the same district of the Ukraine. In the years 1880 — 1882, [I do not remember exactly, for I was only 3 or 4 at the time], my father got very sick and was half paralyzed, Doctor Czengery from Chodorkowa and Dr. Naskręcki from Żytomierz visted my father every day but there was no improvement in his health. They gave us a very poor prognosis since for two weeks he had not spoken a word and was not eating at all.
One day, when there was no hope of him living even to the next day, my mother, who wept all the time at his bedside, left him for a short while. After she came back she noticed that my father was looking at her, but before she had gone out his eyes were closed and he did not speak a word.
After a while my father spoke and asked, “Malwino, who was here?” Mother was surprised that father was conscious and speaking and she answered that nobody was here. But my father continued to speak, “He was sitting right here and I was speaking with him. He has been so often with us but I cannot remember his name. Ask the servant, who was here”. Mother asked the servant, but he said that nobody had come into the room.
After a while my father says, “Malwino, give me something to eat, I would like to eat.” Mother was terrified hearing this, thinking that it was a miracle. After all, a man in his last agony does not speak nor ask for food. Next day when the doctors arrived as usual and saw his improvement they declared that it was indeed a miracle.
On the third day my father spoke to my mother, “Malwino, help me to stand up”. My mother helped him; father supported himself on the back of a chair and then started to move slowly around the room even though his legs had been powerless for two weeks. I should add that father was always thinking from the time when his health began to improve and he did not speak a thing, except to say that he was speaking with that person who stays often with us, but that he could not remember his name.
One day when my father was moving around slowly with the help of my mother, he stood at the threshold of the second room; the chair dropped from his hands and he dropped to his knees. Mother wanted to lift him up but my father said, “There is no need, Malwino, this is the old man with whom I spoke” and he pointed at the painting of God the Father, which was hanging on the opposite wall. Later he said, “That old man I know came and said to me: ‘Anton, I have come to collect you'” Father claimed that this old man was a person who had the power to say so. He was just thinking because he was not able to speak, so he asked the old man to leave him as he had small children (he had many children). At this the old man leaned on his walking stick and answered “Because you redeemed me, I will go away, but I will come later for a second time” It was an obvious miracle. From that time forward this picture of God the Father was regarded in my family as miraculous. My father lived for 20 more years until he was 77 years old and in 1905 he died peacefully and quietly. Did he see the old man again before he died? Nobody knows.
After the death of my father, I received the painting from my brother who was a priest. I saw it as a gift from my late father and I never parted from it. In 1920 when we had to flee from Zbrucha, I stayed with my brother, who was parish priest in Warez, district Sokalski, province Lvov. He also had to flee from his former parish, Tarnorudy in Podole which was well known because of the miraculous picture of Jesus of Tarnoruda. One morning Mrs. Hedwing Hulimakowa came to my brother, the priest, and said, “Father Prelate, I received a telegram saying that my mother is very sick. Please say the holy mass before the picture of God the Father for her intentions”. My brother at once took the picture to the church and said the mass before the picture. A few days later Mrs. Hulimkow arrives full of joy, telling us that on the day when the mass was said she improved greatly and now had almost fully recovered.
Here is a second, similar example. One morning a Mr. Kruszewski arrived from Chorobrowa and said, “Father Prelate, please say the holy mass before the painting of God the Father for the intentions of my wife, who is very sick”. My brother at once said the mass for the intentions of Mrs. Kruszewska and few days later both of them arrived asking for a thanksgiving mass before this painting.
Many well-known people knew the history of this picture and prayed with great respect before it. This is not the whole story. Whenever there was a sickness or a big misfortune in my family, any request presented before this painting was always heard. I myself was sick very often and I underwent eight operations; the doctors doubted if I would survive, but I always got well again and was able to walk. All this was due to the prayers and the mass said by my brother before the painting of God the Father.
The second painting which had been discovered was of Jesus in Getsemani, a beautiful painting, my father gave to my eldest brother and it was left by my sister-in-law in Plsokirow In Podole, during the Bolshevic invasion. The third painting was of Our Lady feeding the child Jesus. It was left by my brother in Tarnoruda in the church. The parish priest had to flee from Zbrucz in 1920.
I testify once again that what I have written is the truth which I heard often from my late parents and what I experienced and saw myself. I can testify this under oath. It is not an invention.
Kielce — 1959
(-) Anastazy Rogowski
How the Painting of God the Father
found its way to the Chapel of the Sisters,
the Servants of Jesus, in Kielce.
At the beginning of World War II, Mr. Anastazy Rogowski fled from Wareza, Province of Lvov and arrived in Kielce. Here, he had distant family members. Among them was Fr. Stanislaus Kurdybanowski, who provided accommodation for him in the house of the Catholic Association of Seryants of St. Zyta in Kielce, at 45 Wesoła St. This house was run by Sisters of the Servants of Jesus. Mr. Anastazy lived in this house until he died. While in Kielce he had written down the history of this painting. The authenticity of his story was confirmed by two priests working in the Curia of the Diocese of Kielce. One copy is with the painting. The second one is in the Archives of the Diocese of Kielce. Before his death, Mr. Anastazy Rogowski donated this painting to the Congregation of the Sisters of the Servants of Jesus. He died on 6th of July, 1960 and was buried in the Old Cemetery in Kielce. The painting, known from the many favours granted by God to those who prayed before it, was placed in the chapel of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Servants of Jesus, who ran an Institution of Education and an Infirmary for terminally ill patients in their old house known as ,,Zytek”.