She was chosen
Fr Ireneusz Skubis talks to Kay Kelly about her life and the reasons why she came to Poland.
Msgr Rev. IRENEUSZ SKUBIS: - Is this your first visit to Poland?
KAY KELLY: - Yes, I have come here for the first time.
- You belong to those who are regarded to be healed through the intercession of John Paul II...
- God through the Pope healed all these people.
- This is a very important addition. We can see you are a zealous believer...
- Of course. I could not live without God. My faith has been my life since I was born.
- You are a Catholic...
- You are living in Liverpool. Are there many Catholics?
- Yes. There are many but unfortunately very few are actually practicing Catholics.
- I have read that when you learn about your cancer you became involved in a big charity work.
- Yes. I collected over one million pounds for the hospital I had been treated in. Then I collected even more - from various sources.
- When you were first in an audience with the Holy Father he had already heard about you, had he?
- Yes, when I was introduced to him he said: 'Oh, Liverpool, Mrs Kelly, I know you'.
- Could you remind us of that audience? It was exactly 27 years ago when you met John Paul II in Rome. How did it happen?
- I was in church and prayed to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary after Sunday Mass. She told me that I would meet the Pope soon. Then I saw my parish priest and I told him that I would meet the Holy Father. He asked, 'When?' I answered that I did not know and I did not receive an invitation. He must have thought I went mad. When I returned home I had a phone call from the Catholic charitable organisation the Knights of Columbus. I was told that I would see the Pope on Wednesday. I answered that I had already known that. My interlocutors were astonished because they themselves had just learnt it. I told them that the Mother of God had informed me about that in the morning.
It seems that I was chosen because I was an ordinary woman. The Mother of God wanted the whole world to know that her Pope was an extraordinary man for ordinary people and not only for stars, that he was the Father of people. And there was no one else but some wife from Liverpool.
- Whom did you go to Rome with?
- I went with my son; he also suffered from cancer. He had a tumour on his neck. And when he came home it turned out that the tumour disappeared, and so did mine.
- What was your reaction after this event? How did you thank God?
- When I came home I went to my doctor for examination. I was told that there were no cancerous cells in my body. Then all newspapers wrote about the miracle. And when people asked the Pope if he had healed me he answered 'No, her faith cured her'. So it is another unique matter. God acts through man; they cannot be separated. Since that day I have tried to serve God as much as I can because I owe everything to him.
- And what did the physicians say?
- They thought that they did it that they cured me. They do not believe in miracles.
- But that happened suddenly...
- Yes, but they did not believe what happened. They will believe when they meet God personally.
- What was the reaction of your environment: family, acquaintances?
- All family members and friends were very happy. But some of them, those who had earlier gave me their money demanded that I would return them because they thought I deceived them saying that I had cancer.
- What did your life look like when you were cured? Did that miracle influence your charity work?
- I have never stopped being involved in charity works. I have always been with people and give testimony to my faith.
- Does this testimony help you to work for people?
- Yes, but people think that I can work our miracles but it is not true.
- The sick in difficult situations often lose hope. Can you inspire people with hope?
- Yes. What I tell them comes from my experience. I look at my illness as a privilege and I tell them that if Christ could suffer for us on the cross we also can suffer a little.
- You have had deep faith in God.
- I could not live without God. I go to church every day because I need strength, which the sacrament of Eucharist gives.
- And what does your work with priests in Liverpool look like?
- My collaboration with the priests is good but I worry about what happens with our churches that are closed, numerous churches are closed.
- You have come here to ask the Church in Poland, Polish priests to help you in your pastoral ministry.
- Yes, 13 churches were pulled down or closed in Liverpool in the last 12 months. There are churches where there are no Sunday masses. This is very sad. Therefore, I came to Poland to ask you to help us keep faith in God in Liverpool.
- Then I ask you to say a few words to Polish priests about this.
- I would like to address the Polish clergy, especially the Bishops, who make decisions concerning these issues. I ask them to look at the hearts and remember the man who left such a spiritual legacy - John Paul II. Look at him. He adored the Blessed Sacrament so much that he proclaimed the Year of the Eucharist. Can it be so that my grand children and future generations will not know this sacrament? I beg you. Consider my appeal in order to make something for the people in Liverpool.
- I think that this appeal will reach our hearts.
- I thank God and the Mother of God and You, Holy Father, who told me to come to Poland. - Thank you for the conversation.