Marian Helper Spring 2023

taught her a special form of prayer called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to be used to plead for an outpouring of God’s merciful love upon the whole world. After two years, Jesus provided Sr. Faustina with a spiritual director of extraordinary wisdom and holiness, Bl. Fr. Michael Sopoćko, to be her guide and helper in discerning clearly and fulfilling our Lord’s requests. Over the next five years, through a series of extraordinary revelations (as recorded in the Diary that Bl. Sopoćko asked her to keep), Jesus fashioned in her heart a spirit of total, childlike surrender to the Merciful Heart of Jesus, strengthened by His living presence in the Holy Eucharist, and nourished by the maternal love of Mary, the Mother of God and model of all virtue. United with Jesus As she suffered more and more from the ravages of tuberculosis that ultimately took her life in 1938, Sr. Faustina wrote in her Diary: O my God, I am conscious of my mission in the Holy Church. It is my constant endeavor to plead for mercy for the world. I unite myself closely with Jesus and stand before Him as an atoning sacrifice on behalf of the world. … O God, how I desire that souls come to know You and to see that You have created them because of Your unfathomable love. … I feel that I am going to remove the veil of heaven so that earth will not doubt Your goodness (482-483). Sister Faustina’s prophecy here has already largely become true: devotion to Divine Mercy has now spread throughout the entire world. When he beatified her in Rome in 1993, Pope St. John Paul II summed up Faustina’s role in God’s plan for winning humanity back to His merciful Heart — words that remain true today: It is truly marvelous how her devotion to the merciful Jesus is spreading in our contemporary world, and gaining so many human hearts! This is doubtless a sign of the times … [which] presents a deep restlessness and fear of the future. Where, if not in the Divine Mercy, can the world find refuge and the light of hope? Believers understand that perfectly. The Congregation of Marian Fathers continues to play a key role in this great mission of Mercy, including participating in a fresh effort to have the Holy See declare St. Faustina a “Doctor of the Church” (that is, one of the greatest teachers of the Catholic faith). Please sign our petition for this good cause: visit TheDivineMercy.org/doctor. May St. Faustina pray for us who serve in all Marian apostolates that spread His merciful love! Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy. Born: Aug. 25, 1905, Głogowiec, Poland Entered religious life: Apr. 30, 1926, Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy Jesus reveals the Divine Mercy Image to her: Feb. 22, 1931 Died: Oct. 5, 1938, Krakow, Poland Canonized: April 30, 2000 by Pope St. John Paul II Feast day: Oct. 5 Saint Faustina Kowalska l As a child, Helena dressed in rags and went from house to house in her village to beg for alms for the poor. l The other sisters in her religious congregation turned to Sr. Faustina for counsel about their problems so often, they gave her the nickname “The Dump.” l Jesus revealed to Sr. Faustina the Image of Divine Mercy in 1931 on the same day as the Eastern Catholic “Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Icons.” Sr. Faustina was the first Catholic saint to be canonized in the third millennium. Talkin’ Marians STATS AND FACTS The Book That Sparked the Divine Mercy Movement The Diary chronicles God’s message given through St. Faustina to the world to turn to His mercy. The message of Divine Mercy has become an integral part of Catholic practice, including the celebration of the Feast of Divine Mercy on the Sunday after Easter. Order now: Visit ShopMercy.org/b57 or call 1-800-462-7426. B57-NBFD

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