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Divine Mercy: Her Weapon Against ISIS

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By Marc Massery (Dec 2, 2017)
Not even ISIS can stand in the way of God's mercy.

In September 2017, Philippine native Cel Rose, who lives now in Connecticut, took a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy with a desperate prayer intention in her heart. For the past several months, her cousin was among the hundreds of hostages taken by ISIS militants in the Philippines. At the Shrine, she placed a picture of her cousin, whom she referred to as "R.," at the altar before Mass and lifted him up in prayer especially during the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Back in May 2017, pro-ISIS militants attacked Marawi, a city in the southern Philippines where Cel's family lives. Cel's cousin was working as an electrician in Marawi when he was kidnapped by ISIS, along with a group of 17 others including several school teachers and a Catholic priest.

For the next several months, intense fighting and airstrikes displaced hundreds of thousands of residents. All Cel's family could do was pray that their beloved relative would return home safe to his wife and two children.

During her cousin's captivity, Cel kept in close contact with her cousin's wife, M., online. M. started to despair after several months of prayer and no answers. "She threw out her husband's work tools," Cel said. "She could not look at them anymore and never thought he would return."

"I told her to pray Psalm 91," Cel said. "I do not know the Bible as well as I should, but I know that these verses helped to strengthen her."

This past October, less than a month after Cel prayed for her cousin at the Shrine, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines declared the city liberated. Cel received news that her cousin had escaped ISIS with the help of the Philippine Military. R. was among some 1,700 hostages in the Philippines who were rescued.

Cel's cousin escaped, but not without cost. At the end of his captivity, Cel said that he was shot in the ankle by an ISIS militant. As he continues his recovery, he's thankful to be home with his wife and children.

"The only weapon we have in this fight is prayer," Cel said. "I want to thank Jesus, the Divine Mercy, for bringing my cousin home."

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