First Sunday of the month at 3:00 pm in the Church.
A Short Biography of St Faustina
St. Faustina Kowalska, Apostle of the Divine Mercy
St. Faustina Kowalska. <http://ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/F/stfaustinakowalska.asp>
De Launay, Rev. Herbert C. “Sister Faustina and Devotion to the Divine Mercy.” The Acadiana Catholic. Lafayette Louisiana: May, 1996.< http://www.ewtn.com/library/CHRISTMERCY-HD.TXT>
St. Faustina Kowalska is called the Apostle of the Divine Mercy because she chose as the mission of her prayer and good works to give glory to the mystery of God’s mercy given to all human beings. Born on August 25, 1905 in Glogowiec, Poland, St. Faustina exhibited qualities of great devotion, holiness, and a call to vocation as early as the age of seven. At the age of nineteen, she experienced a vision of the suffering Christ, which inspired her to enter the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in August, 1925. She lived with the congregation until her death on October 5, 1938, working as cook, gardener, and porter. She performed her duties eagerly, quietly, and with steadfast devotion. Throughout her short life, she wrote her thoughts and prayers in her “Diary,” which formed the basis for her spiritual vision. During the time of her ministry, she experienced many visions and mystical experiences and was documented to have many of the characteristics of the saints, including the stigmata and bi-location.
In her diary, she wrote of her call: “O my Jesus, each of your saints reflects one of your virtues; I desire to reflect your compassionate heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let your mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life” (1242). The apparitions of Jesus to St. Faustina occurred from 1931-38. In these visions, St. Faustina received messages about the Lord’s great mercy and put all of these messages into her diary. Jesus revealed the depths of His mercy in the symbol of two rays of light, one pale and the other red. These stood for the water and blood that flowed from Jesus’ side at the Crucifixion. Those who were devoted and were bathed in these rays would never be harmed. Jesus asked St. Faustina to paint the images of the two rays with the inscription: “Jesus, I trust in You.” Jesus explained further that a novena should be prayed before the feast of the Divine Mercy, which should be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. Jesus stated that mankind would not enjoy peace until it returned to His Divine Mercy.
Many of the images and sayings of Jesus in St. Faustina’s diary also have a strong basis in the scriptures. For example, the blood and water are symbols of the sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. Perhaps Jesus is calling us to be closer to His mercy by participating in the sacraments. John’s gospel read on the Sunday after Easter is the story of Thomas, which leads us to contemplate the pierced side of Jesus from which the blood and water flowed. Also, when Jesus appeared to the apostles, he gave them his peace and told them to receive the Holy Spirit. Also, he commissioned them to carry on his work on earth, giving them the power to forgive sins, leading us to contemplate the sacrament of Penance as well.
The mission of St. Faustina has three purposes: to remind the world of the truths of our faith through prayer and scripture that reveal the merciful love of God for everyone, to implore everyone to enter into devotion to the Divine Mercy of God, and to initiate the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy, which asks us to place our trust in God and show His mercy to our neighbor. Reading the scriptures, meditating and praying upon God’s Divine Mercy, participating in the devotions , the novena, penance, and the Eucharist are the means by which all of us can attain God’s Divine Mercy.
On April 15, 1978, the church fathers recognized devotion to the Divine Mercy according to the writings of Sr. Faustina. Pope John Paul II beatified her on April 18, 1993 and canonized her on April 30, 2000. She is the patron saint of World Youth Day. She is buried at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland. Her feast day is October 5.
Respectfully submitted by:
Peter G. Ulrich