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The Catholic Defender: Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska

Saint Faustina’s name is forever linked to the annual feast of the Divine Mercy, the Divine Mercy chaplet, and the Divine Mercy prayer recited each day at 3 p.m. by many people.

Our Lady told Saint Faustina: I desire, My dearly beloved daughter, that you practice the three virtues that are dearest to Me--and most pleasing to God. The first is humility, humility, and once again humility; the second virtue, purity; the third virtue, love of God.

In 1981, at the tomb of Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska in Poland, Maureen Digan experienced a healing from incurable Milroy's disease. Her healing was deemed a miracle through the intercession of Sr. Faustina, which led to Faustina's beatification in 1993.

In His revelations to St. Faustina, Our Lord asked for a special prayer and meditation on His Passion each afternoon at the three o'clock hour, the hour that recalls His death on the cross.

The genesis of the painting was a vision Faustina experienced in 1931 while living in a convent in Plock, Poland. Jesus appeared to her in her cell wearing a white garment, she writes in her diary: “One hand [was] raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast.

JESUS himself revealed the Chaplet of the DIVINE MERCY to Sr Faustina and asked her to pray the Chaplet unceasingly. JESUS told her: Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death.

Yes, it is true that Jesus promised that the chaplet is a special spiritual remedy for souls at the hour of their death: [Jesus said to her] At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this Chaplet; or when others say it for the dying person, the indulgence [pardon] is the same.

Faustina's spirituality describes the relation of man towards God, while the word “mercy” characterises interpersonal relations whose origin, model and motive lies in the merciful love of God. Jesus said to St. Faustina, I require you to make acts of mercy, which are to come from your love for Me.

Born in what is now west-central Poland, Helena Kowalska was the third of 10 children. She worked as a housekeeper in three cities before joining the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1925. She worked as a cook, gardener and porter in three of their houses.

In addition to carrying out her work faithfully, generously serving the needs of the sisters and the local people, Sister Faustina also had a deep interior life. This included receiving revelations from the Lord Jesus, messages that she recorded in her diary at the request of Christ and of her confessors.

At a time when some Catholics had an image of God as such a strict judge that they might be tempted to despair about the possibility of being forgiven, Jesus chose to emphasize his mercy and forgiveness for sins acknowledged and confessed. “I do not want to punish aching mankind,” he once told Saint Faustina, “but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart.” The two rays emanating from Christ’s heart, she said, represent the blood and water poured out after Jesus’ death.

Because Sister Maria Faustina knew that the revelations she had already received did not constitute holiness itself, she wrote in her diary: “Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God.”

Sister Maria Faustina died of tuberculosis in Krakow, Poland, on October 5, 1938. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1993, and canonized her seven years later.

Devotion to God’s Divine Mercy bears some resemblance to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In both cases, sinners are encouraged not to despair, not to doubt God’s willingness to forgive them if they repent. As Psalm 136 says in each of its 26 verses, “God’s love [mercy] endures forever.”

O God, who in a wondrous manner revealed the inexhaustible riches of your mercy to Saint Maria Faustina, grant, we beseech you, that by looking with trust upon the pierced side of your Son we may be strengthened to show mercy one to another and, at length, sing forever of your mercy in heaven.

St. Faustina teaches us, “Suffering is the greatest treasure on earth; it purifies the soul.In suffering, we learn who is our true friend” (Diary, 342).

In the chaplet, the prayers revolve around the concepts of mercy and holiness for the whole world, and reflect the prayers and promises we make during the Mass. It's an extremely powerful prayer for not only our own souls, but the sanctification of the world.

O my Lord and Creator, You alone, beyond all these gifts, give Your own self to me and unite Yourself intimately with Your miserable creature. O Christ, let my greatest delight be to see You loved and Your praise and glory proclaimed, especially the honor of Your mercy.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, ►have mercy on us and on the whole world. Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, ► in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.


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