THE HISTORY OF THE COMMUNITY OF CHARITY SERVICES OF THE BLESSED MOTHER

II. TO BE ACQUANNTED WITH AGNES SAWARNO

 

God chose His servant to work together with Him.

Praise the Lord, the faithful Almighty God Who never forces His will to human beings, Who never stops His Love to the mankind, Who has the power for human beings’ salvation, God the creator is God who has been working, loving, giving the blessings, saving, and choosing His chosen people.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you” (Joh 15:16)

In His plan of Salvation, God chose a simple woman who wanted to be faithful in her prayers and charity. By God’s love, she was able to hear the whisper of the Spirit of God Who chose her to be the Creator’s instrument. The name of that woman was Agnes Sawarno.       

1. The Childhood and the youth of Agnes

Born in a rubber plantation of Kisaran, North Sumatra, on 23 December 1946; She was given a name Nuraini Supriyatini. Since she was a baby, she was separated from her parents because she was adopted by one of her close relatives and was taken to Pematang Siantar, far away from her big family circle.  

Since her childhood she had devoted herself to love God the Almighty by praying much in her old faith at that moment. In her youth she loved to teach children how to pray and introduce them to God. At that time she began to love Siti Mariyam, the woman whose holiness was praisedworthy. She had a strong will to follow Siti Mariyam as her idol besides her longing to know closer and love God.

After finishing her study at the Junior high and Economics Senior high Schools in Binjai, she preferred staying home as a private teacher of Moslem prayers and how to read the Koran.

2. To get married and to hear the Voice for the first time

Getting older as a youth, she got to know God better and better. She met an army officer with the rank of Captain, called Sawarno, and they had a serious relationship (at that time Sawarno did not add his Christian name, Tarcisius, to his name).

After three years of getting along together, she was proposed to marry him, but she was very shocked to find out that her future husband was not a Moslem, but a Catholic. She needed a month to consider carefully about his proposal in prayers. Though she loved this man very much, she did not intend to make a decision based on her heart only, but also she kept on praying and asking God: 

“My God, is this the man You grant to me as my husband?”

Unexpectedly, after a month going by, she heard a Voice answering her prayer:

“Love and accept him as what he is. It is I Who granted him to you”.

Knowing that the answer fitted her will, she was very grateful, but she never asked herself whose Voice that answered her prayer. Actually when she heard the Voice she was very stunned; the Voice had such power to control over her feelings in deep peace. She had no power to protest, she only accepted what she had heard in full surrender with grateful heart.

They accepted the Marriage with a special dispensation in the Cathedral of Medan conducted by Father Pius Datubara OFM Cap. (Now Archbishop Pius Datubara, OFM Cap of Medan. Red.) On 31 March 1971. As a wife of an army officer, she had to follow wherever her husband was moved to a new post. First of all, she moved to Sidikalang, North Sumatra. Aproaching the time to deliver her first baby; her husband was following an officer advance course in Bandung, West Java. It was really a hard time for her, since she had a problem with her pregnancy, the position of her baby was upside down and she had to be sent to a hospital for an operation. The nearest hospital was Medan Hospital; it took six hours to get from Sidikalang, while her condition was not good enough to go to that hospital. Then she turned to God to pray for help in her old faith, as she believed God would never leave her behind. At once she heard the Voice again:   

“At this very moment I have answered your prayer, My child”.

It was the same Voice she had known before when she asked for the consideration to get married to Sawarno. The same Voice that controlled over her mind. One more time the Voice addressed her saying: “My child…” how close that was!

The delivery of her baby went on safely without having an operation at the hospital. Right after her prayer was answered, she felt a contraction to deliver her baby soon. Her baby boy was delivered normally, though the position of the baby remained upside down with the intestines around the baby’s neck.                                 

After a month away from the delivery of her first son, her husband had not been back yet. She remained active in prayers to God. While she was praying in midnight, the Voice came again to her with a request:

“Give your son to Me.”

Since she did not understand that request, the next day she told this event to her neighbour, an army officer who was coincidentally a Catholic. He explained to her that as a Catholic, it was obligated to baptize the baby. She could not protest that request. Because she was not a Catholic and her husband was away from home, she asked that army officer to call a priest to baptize her son at home. Thomas Aquinas was her first son who was baptized at home. The event of this baptism slowly brought her to open her heart for the real God. Her prayers were getting more intense. That Voice extended a greeting again to her:

“My child, will you be saved in My Name?”
“How would You save me?”
“Take the Holy Book and bring it to Me”.
“Which Holy Book?” (There were 2 Holy Books in the house).
“Your husband’s Holy Book”.

When she read the Holy Bible, her heart and mind were opened and she let herself be guided in reading the Holy Book of her husband. By reading the two Holy Books, she made a comparison, till finally she found the Truth in the Holy Bible, and she started to understand Who the the Voice, Who often extended greetings to her: He is Lord Jesus Himself. At that moment she could not call Lord Jesus as God, but as a prophet, as she still believed in her old faith. The guidance and understanding of the Holy Bible kept going on. All her five children were baptized one by one as Catholic. Since June 1976, the family moved to Cimahi, West Java. 

3. Baptism, Started to Believe and Undergo the Sufferings 

In understanding the Holy Bible, she came to the pericope of the confession of Jesus’ apostles that Jesus was The Messiah. The same question was also forwarded to her:

“According to you, Who am I?”

This question brought her mind and heart to a dilemmatic decision:” If only I surrendered myself to be baptized I would find a way to answer that question.” Though the baptism was postponed a while, finally she was baptized with her baptist name, Agnes, on 24 December 1978 at St. Ignatius Church – Cimahi by Father Delopius OSC. Agnes also was active at the parish of St. Ignatius Church, granted the tasks such as liturgical services and church charity. However she had an obstacle in her new faith as a Catholic to change totally her old faith habits into the Catholic prayer, she had not been able yet to call The Name Jesus: “My God The Almighty”. Since she was baptized, Jesus never came to extend greetings to her. The situation of her faith and prayers was getting worse and drier. In the depth of her heart, came up a will power to meet Jesus. If Jesus were the Almighty God Whom she always longed for, and searching for, she would surely find and meet Him personally. But if Jesus were “only a prophet”, merely a human being, a faith leader, she would not surely meet Him. This situation had been happening to her for a long time till the Voice came to extend the greeting to her almost a year after her baptism:

 “My child, I always listen to your prayers. At this very moment, I hear of your complaints. Previously you came to Me alone, now you also come to Me by yourself, I will settle your matter.”

She expressed her difficulties and dryness of her faith and prayers and begged to be able to meet God. She completely surrendered herself to Jesus:

 “I am asking You, if You are really God the Almighty, show me Who You are. If you do not show me Who You are, I will be back to my old faith.”

Before her prayer was finished, she was “taken” by God into a “spiritual journey”: to follow the journey of Jesus as the Savior. She saw a vision of how Lord Jesus was among the human beings for three years’ services and His teaching His commandments. Everything she saw in the vision was completely precise as the events of the Gospel that she has read in the Holy Bible. Finally she was taken to Golgotha on which Jesus was crucified. On the right and left side of Jesus, there were two criminals who were crucified on the crosses as well. In this moment she was stuck powerlessly. With all her deep emotions she cried:        

“My Lord and my God! Forgive me!” while bending down herself with full respect to God.

From the top of the cross, the voice of Jesus, which she was familiar with, said to her gently:

”This is I Who you are looking for. I shall be with you”

There was no longer any hesitation in her heart that it was Jesus, her Lord and God, Who she had been looking for and worshiping so far. Jesus extended His greeting to her:  

”My child, after you saw and accepted Me, you will suffer in your life”.

Again, there was no any hesitation in her heart to suffer for the Glory of God. But she asked to be allowed to be with Him after she finally met Him in person. For her, the journey of searching for the real God was fully completed. Jesus answered to her:  

 “Go home, My child, one day you will be needed by many people”.

At that moment she did not expect that God would use her as His instrument for the sake of the people’s need fifteen years later.

The prophecy of Lord Jesus concerning Agnes’ suffering came into reality. It was started with the illness she had suffered for one and a half years. This illness made her weak physically and finally paralyzed her. After diagnosing her carefully, the doctor was not able to find her illness, nevertheless the doctor said she was not ill at all. So far Jesus was completely silent, no voice was extended to her, which no voice to comfort her. But this time her heart was completely in peace, and her faith was strong. God had His own plan, and He was strengthening His child’s faith. It seemed that Lord Jesus let Agnes to suffer badly and let her family use the worldly efforts for her recovery. No worldly efforts could make her recovered. After one and a half years of a weird suffering, she became very thin and a parish priest had already given the Sacrament of the sick to Agnes. She never left her life of prayers, she surrendered her life to Lord Jesus:    

“God, forgive me in my life journey. If You would like to call me back to You, I am ready”.

Lord Jesus came to her with His gentle voice, the Voice she had longed for a long time:

“My child, I love you. I never leave you. Be recovered in My Name”.

Without any medicine, she recovered from her illness and her physical condition was getting better and better. The next suffering was her children got ill by turns, and they had to be sent to the hospital one by one. She spent a lot of money on the expenses of the private doctors for her children since the doctors belonging to the local hospital could not help them anymore. She might have borne any sufferings repeatedly, but the miracles of God never left her.      

“Through your suffering I will show My power”, God said.

4. The Guidance of John, the Apostle.

Year by year went by. One day in the year 1990, while she was carrying out her routine duty as a housewife, she was surprised by an unfamiliar voice, which extended a greeting to her:

 “Agnes, Agnes!” the voice greeted her.

But she ignored that greeting. The next day the voice came back again and again and she kept on ignoring it.  She was amazed that she was not afraid of that voice. Since the voice was too often to greet her, she became upset. Then she went into prayer to ask for God’s grace to set her free from the evil. But the voice continued to greet her for about a week. One day when the same voice came to her again, she forced herself to greet that voice back:

“Well, thank you for your greetings. Could you tell me who you are?”

She had to do it since she was not able to send him away.  The voice did not introduce itself straightly:

“Agnes, take your Holy Bible to me, you will know and see who I am!”

Agnes took The Holy Bible and the voice asked her to open the Holy Bible up the page where the name of the voice was on, it stopped on the page of John’s Gospel. The voice asked her back:

“Who is it?”

Agnes answered:
“Are you John, the apostle, the beloved disciple of Lord Jesus?”

The voice said:
“I am coming to you at this very moment. You have to believe me“.

Finally Agnes was willing to accept him. She thanked John, the apostle, for his greetings and apologized to him for treating him unpleasantly.

In the next journey, without saying the purpose of his visits, John, the apostle, asked Agnes to be more intense in prayers and had Agnes fulfill his advices:

- To live in penitential rite and reconciliation

- To live in self-denial

- To forgive others’ faults
- Not to remember all good things you have done for others, that will make you proud of yourself.
- To say prayers intensively in order to be closer to God.
...
By John, the apostle, Agnes was guided to understand the contents of the Holy Bible about God the Almighty, ...The Truth, God’s Love and Affection.

Later he directed Agnes to God’s plan, which should happen in her life. The visits of John, the apostle, to Agnes had been for five years  (1990-1995). He reminded her to the word of Jesus when she met Him in person that Agnes would be used as His instrument for the sake of others’ need.

 “From now on you have to be well-prepared because you will have lots of visitors to your house soon.”

5. The Greetings, Apparitions of Mother Mary and Heavenly Enchantment

It is understandable that the most beautiful prayer she loves after being baptized is the rosary, having a dialogue with Mother Mary that she admires and she loves it more now. Since the early of 1994 in her time of friendship with John, the apostle, after having prayed the rosary, she begins to hear the greetings with a different voice from Lord Jesus’s voice or John, the apostle.

“Thank you my child, you come to honor me with your prayer.”

Or just a soft and short greeting: “Thank you Agnes.”

The way she mentioned her name was so special, so sweet. She was thinking about Mother Mary, because of those greetings: … you come to honor me with your prayer… She told her husband, and he replied with “Is it possible that it is Mother Mary?”

On 24 March 1995 it was another historical time for her. For the first time she went on a pilgrimage to Sendangsono with a small group: Fransisca Nurbiyantoro, Maria Goretti Sunaryo, Mrs. Suparman, Ita and Tony Martinus, her fourth son.

It is in the afternoon, around 3.30 pm. In front of the grotto, there are a lot of people praying, so that this small group could not have a place to praying. That is why they move a bit far from the grotto, on the right side near the burial of the first cathecist. But right on that place, Mother Mary appeared and softly greeted her, not surprising her at all:

“Welcome my child”, was her first greeting.

She was amazed by the lady’s beauty. With no doubt that she is Mother Mary herself, because she could recognize her voice. It was Mother Mary the one who had greeted her several times when she was praying the rosary at home.

That lady was still young, around 18 years old, but her motherly tenderness radiated from her beauty. Her long white clothes covered her until her toes that did not touch the ground. A crease was seen on the neckline with a tie-knot made from the same material of the clothes, there was also a crease on her waist without any string. The clothes and sleeves are long with wide cuffs on her hands that are also sewed with a crease. Her clothes and sleeves were shaking softly blown by the wind. Her hair was black; a little curl was shown on the front, because her veil was opened a little bit. Her white veil covered her head, so it could not be seen whether she had a short or long hair. Even the veil was long enough until her waist. While, she was talking, she slided the lower side of the veil on her arms. Even with simple clothes – daily housewife clothes – her beauty covered it all. She had an oval face, with a sharp cleft chin, deep beautiful brown eyes, thick eyebrows and strong eye-bones. She had a typical Hebrew’s nose that was small and a slim pointed long-nose. Her mouth is small, with a beautiful slight smile, with dimples seen while she was smiling and talking. She often put her left hand on her chest, and moved her right hand calmly as she talked.

By this position, it was obviously seen that she talked from her deepest heart.

“Cry and repent, return to God wholly. Praise God in your lives. You will be safe in the world and hereafter; heaven is your place. Convey this message to your brothers. Till we meet again, my child!”

Amazed by this apparition, she praised in thankfulness. While other members of the group did not see it but they knew that something was happening, because they were having a beautiful moment as well. The brightness of the sun turned to pale, and seen with bare eyes as a big white full moon, surrounded with sparkling red and orange lights. After some time, the sun started to turn around to the right and left within those sparkling lights. Then, the color of the sun changed into torquise and light blue in turns, moved to the right and left, up and down and back to the center with colorful lights in the clear blue sky. The heavenly enchanment is probably the right word to express, because they were all amazed at that moment. No other beautiful sights could compare with what they have just seen. Even they could not imagine their feelings that were full of joy and peace.

When Agnes shared with the others that Mother Mary just appeared herself, they filled with more joy. Fransisca quickly noted down the first short message of Mother Mary. Then, the message was forwarded to the group of “Catholic Women Organization” from Semarang who stayed not too far away from Agnes and the group. At that time, Agnes reminded the people around her to pray instead of walking around, eating and even talking. Even though they were informed that Mother Mary was there among them, they did not believe it. Eventhough Mother Mary was present for quite a long time, until 5 pm.

6. The Apparitions at Agnes' House

On 2 April 1995, in the morning, when Agnes had just finished doing her daily household chores, she sat at the dining table and faced her backyard. From there, she could see the clear blue sky. All of a sudden, they sky changed color and she could see the heavenly enchantment, which was same as the one in Sendangsono just a week before. Instead of going out, she stayed inside the house. In minutes, that beautiful scenery disappeared and the sun turned back to normal.

On 3 April 1995, at about the same time, she had the same scenery: the heavenly enchantment. Her son Tony, who joined her to Sendangsono, was there and saw the same scenery. Then, he asked whether Mother Mary would also appear herself. Agnes asked Tony to call Fransisca, who lived nearby, to come and see that scenery together. When Fransisca came, the scenery was still in progress. Fransisca’s husband, Nurbiyantoro, was there to witness it as well. The scenery was also still in progress when Nurbiyantoro arrived at his office. Agnes and Fransisca decided to pray the rosary together. While praying the rosary, Mother Mary appeared to Agnes only.

On the first message received in Cimahi, Mother Mary asked Agnes to gather people and have her house well prepared for them to pray the rosary together. Mother Mary expressed her deep sorrow towards her children:

“A lot of my children are good in praying, but they do nothing. They are busy with their worldly-thing. Therefore, I come here to ask you, my children, to pray and serve the sufferers with affection.”

“I come here to take up my children to God. Because there will happen a ‘three days of darkness’ all over the world; no sun, nor moon, nor stars; all this will happen at the beginning of the year. All this will be just a “sign” in order that all human beings be made aware of the necessity of returning to God.”

Mother Mary promised to be present on the next Monday (10 April 1995) and every other Monday.

At about 10.30 am, Agnes and Fransisca were in a hurry to see the priest of St. Ignatius Church, which was located not far from her house. They shared their spiritual experience, which happened in that morning to Fr. Warhadi, OSC. As the parish’s priest, he said that if this is God’s work, no one could stop it; but if it is from the world, it will be gone soon. Agnes asked for his approval: “Do you mind if we gather and pray at my house as requested by Mother Mary?” Fr. Warhadi answered: “You may gather and pray to prove whether the message comes indeed from Mother Mary. Do not invite many people, just your catholic friends in your neighborhood.”

Different from Fr. Warhadi, her husband, Tarcisius Sawarno, did not agree with Agnes’ plan. To hear her story, instead of supporting, he as an army officer, reminded her not to go too far, because he was afraid that it probably came from the devils.

7. The apparition of Mother Mary in the Church of St.Ignatius – Cimahi.

Perceiving such reaction from her husband, Mrs. Agnes felt confused. At the next night on 4 April 1995 she asked Mrs. Fransisca to accompany her to the church and at the front of Mother Mary’s statue she cried and prayed.

“Mother Mary, it is impossible for all of this matter to be done, because I could not afford to face all of this present situation.”

That was her praying expression while she was crying. For a weeklong Mrs. Agnes kept on praying to Mother Mary in the church of St. Ignatius, Cimahi, because she felt afraid and confused. Still, at the beginning she was unwilling to accept this assignment. She felt improper and suppressed. She extended her feelings to Mother Mary in her prayers. According to her, the proper person to be assigned for this assignment was holy people, priests, churchmen and churchwomen, but not she. Mother Mary strengthens her and pronounced that everyone is equal in front of God as they are all children of God.

But what happened? At that time, Mother Mary was present in apparition and said:

“Well Agnes, I am going to ask you. You have been saved from the world, now you are a child of God. What have you done for God?

She replied:
“There is none I have done for God, Mother”

Mother Mary replied:
“This is the right moment for you to dedicate your life to God, Agnes, do not be worried, pray, asks God, and you will receive the answer”

Instantly Mrs. Agnes prayed: “O God, please help me” After praying Mrs. Agnes felt joyful, happy, and deeply peaceful. The Spirit of God dominated her, all of her worries and fear disappeared, and she only felt herself abandoned to God.

Afterwards Mother Mary asked again:

“Ready, Agnes?”
“Yes I am ready Mother. I will”.

And Mrs. Agnes repeatedly asked:
“Mother, how could I convey this to those people? Is it from door to door?”

Mother Mary answered:
“That is not what I intend to. Gather them on next Monday morning. Not too many, but just a few people would do, I would like them to be my witnesses. Do not worry, my child! I will prove it and keep my promise”

Then Mrs. Agnes asked again:
“Mother, should I carry out this assignment by myself? Would I be able to do that?

Mother Mary answered:
“Do not be worry Agnes! I will call them to get along with you to convey the truth. God and I, your Mother, will be along with you in your mission”

At the time, when she heard the answer of Mother Mary, she felt relieved. Eventhough her husband kept on reminding her with the same words: “Be careful, if that did not happen, our family would be disgraced”. Almost everyday Mrs. Agnes cried and prayed to be stronger. Mother Mary was so kind, as always to be present when Mrs. Agnes was trouble and cheered her up. 

8. The first message to the people at Cimahi

On Monday, 10 April 1995, Since 05.00 AM early in the morning, Mrs. Agnes had already prepared herself. But again the scare came. The scare was that there would nothing happen; that all the things were really from the power of darkness. Her husband had also prepared himself, took a bath with an intention to leave home soon so that he would not necessarily be involved in all the events.

At 06.00 a.m., the relatives and the neigborhood had already come, for about 26 people, including her husband that had not gone yet. At that time the sun had just risen and suddenly once again the beauty of the heavenly enchanment happened just like at Sendangsono as well as at this house last week. The sky was glittered with many very beautiful bright colors. The sun turned pale like a full moon and could be seen with bare eyes. Every body admired and amazed by the beauty of the scenery they could see at that time. Her husband was amazed and believed:”It is true, this comes from heaven!” The rosary was prayed together, and at about 06.15 a.m. Mother Mary kept her promise. She came and greeted:

“You have seen the power of God that comes through me, but up to now you have not believed yet, Agnes!”

At that time Tarcisius got the same miracle. He got the presence of Mother Mary that was very touchful for him. This was granted from Mother Mary to him in order for him to believe and to support his wife.

Then Mother Mary had Agnes call the Priest to bless the praying place and brought the water from their own houses for healing. And asked your relatives to pray together with Mother Mary because they would be the witnesses of the truth. And asked the people to pray diligently the rosary, to fast, to be abstinent and to mortify on Fridays in order to be spared from the power of evil. The message of Mother Mary was conveyed through Agnes as the instrument of the presence of Mother Mary with the power of God.

Every time the people gathered and prayed together in the community, Mother Mary was present. This was carried out every Monday and every time requested by Mother Mary. In 1995 Mother Mary was present and conveyed her first messages. Some people noted her first messages individually then they were copied and bounded in a simple book: “THE MESSAGE OF MOTHER MARY FROM 3 APRIL TO 22 DECEMBER 1995”

Since then the people who joined the prayer, got a spiritual touch from God and Mother Mary. So many spritual touch stories were expressed in the sharing, healing, strengthening and repenting.