Marian Helper Spring 2023

as well as great compassion for the suffering. Although he was not aware of it at the time, he would need all these virtues in abundance when he was appointed in 1932 to be the confessor to the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Vilnius. There, of course, he encountered a most extraordinary holy soul and visionary, Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska. Confessor duties It was actually in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that he first met Sr. Faustina, a very humble nun who was carrying a tremendous weight on her shoulders. The Lord had begun revealing to her His message of Divine Mercy — an urgent message that He wanted her to share with the entire world. But no one would believe her, not even her superiors in the convent, nor any of her regular confessors, save one: Fr. Joseph Andrasz, SJ. Sister Faustina, therefore, had prayed to the Merciful Jesus for a spiritual director, someone who would help her and guide her on an ongoing basis to discern and do His will. Father Sopoćko was the answer to her prayers, and eventually he became the main promoter of her revelations. It was primarily through him that she would answer the Lord’s call to spread Divine Mercy throughout the world. Seeing Fr. Sopoćko in chapel, St. Faustina wrote, “suddenly I heard a voice in my soul say, This is the visible help for you on earth. He will help you carry out My will on earth” (Diary, 53). At Sr. Faustina’s insistence, Fr. Sopoćko commissioned a painting of the Image of the Merciful Jesus, and he directed her to write down all that was happening in her relationship with Jesus Christ, which she recorded in her Diary. He also supervised the printing of the first copies of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Novena, and prayers, as well as litanies that he himself arranged, based on the words and phrases that Jesus had spoken to Sr. Faustina. Sister Faustina wrote about Fr. Sopoćko several times in her Diary, including statements about himmade by Jesus Himself that she recorded, such as “He is a priest after My own Heart; his efforts are pleasing to Me” (Diary, 1256). Such extraordinary statements from Jesus were not only a divine confirmation to Sr. Faustina that she could put her complete trust in Fr. Sopoćko’s spiritual guidance, but also a prophecy of the tremendous role that his efforts and writings would play in the spread of the Divine Mercy message and devotion throughout the world in the decades to follow. Born: Nov. 1, 1888, Nowosady, Lithuania Ordained: June 15, 1914 Died: Feb. 15, 1975, Bialystok, Poland Beatified: Sept. 28, 2008 Feast day: Feb. 15 Blessed Michael Sopoćko l Father Sopoćko was the artist’s model for the Vilnius Divine Mercy Image, wearing the priestly vestments so that the painter, Eugene Kazimirowski, could see how they lay when someone was wearing them and standing as Jesus stood in St. Faustina’s vision. His face, however, is not that of Jesus. l In 1947, Fr. Sopoćko founded the women’s religious order St. Faustina had foreseen, the Congregation of Sisters of Merciful Jesus. l Marian Helpers Bulletin, the precursor of Marian Helper, published articles in English by Fr. Sopoćko. His feast day, Feb. 15, is the same day as the feast of the early Christian martyr St. Faustinus, from whom St. Faustina took her name as a woman religious. Talkin’ Marians STATS AND FACTS God’s Amazing Mercy This edition of God is Mercy, by St. Faustina’s confessor Bl. Michael Sopoćko, introduces us to the place of Divine Mercy in salvation history. Enriched by Dr. Robert Stackpole’s expert commentary, this special edition of a Divine Mercy classic belongs on every Catholic’s shelf. Order now: Visit or call 1-800-462-7426. B57-SOPB Meditations by St. Faustina’s Confessor and Spiritual Director