Monthly Archives: February 2016

20160229 Faustina in Vilnius

From May 1933 to March 1936 St. Faustina stayed in Vilnius. It was there that Blessed Michael Sopocko became her spiritual director and confessor. God told her, “This is My faithful servant; he will help you to fulfill My will here on earth.”
Father Sopocko told Faustina to ask the Lord Jesus the meaning of the two rays in the Divine Mercy image. The Lord said, “The two rays denote Blood and Water.”
“These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”
On March 29, 1934, St. Faustina, in an act of oblation, offered herself for the conversion of sinners, especially souls who have lost hope in God’s mercy.
Later that year, Our Lady visited her. She said to her, “You are going to experience certain sufferings because of an illness and the doctors; you will also suffer much because of the image, but do not be afraid of anything.”
St. Faustina had a special gift of praying for the dying. On July 13, 1934, when she was in the convent garden, she heard her guardian angel telling her to pray for the dying. After praying the rosary and other prayers with the gardeners, St. Faustina heard the voice of a sister in Warsaw saying, “Pray for me until I tell you to stop. I am dying.”
Faustina kept praying from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. At 5 p.m. she heard the words, “Thank you!” The next day news reached Vilnius that Sister Filomena Andrejko had died the day before at 4:45 p.m.
On May 12, 1935, St. Faustina saw the Child Jesus, Who told her that true greatness consists in loving God and in humility.
She also saw a dying soul. He was full of the world’s applause and honours, but his end was emptiness and sin. She saw souls giving testimonies against the dying person.
She wrote, “Although it seems to me that this soul is not damned, nevertheless its torments are in no way different from the torments of hell; there is only this difference: that they will someday come to an end.”
The next day, St. Faustina told Father Sopocko that she had seen Marshal Pilsudski dying. He actually died on May 12, 1935. Faustina said that he had avoided damnation because of the intercession of the Mother of Mercy. Pilsudski was not a religious person, but he had devotion to Our Lady of Ostra Brama.
Ostra Brama, with its miraculous image of the Mother of Mercy, was the main pilgrimage centre in the Vilnius region. Father Sopocko had had the Divine Mercy image displayed that year on the Sunday after Easter over the famous Ostra Brama gate, and he had preached the message of mercy in the nearby church.
St. Faustina foretold to Father Sopocko that very hard times would shortly come upon Poland and that the Poles would be taken away to the east and to the west. She also predicted that one of Poland’s most beautiful cities would be destroyed for the sin of killing unborn children.
After World War II, Father Sopocko understood the city was Warsaw, which had been reduced to ruins during the Warsaw Uprising.
One time, after time spent in adoration of the Eucharist for Poland, a pain pierced the soul of St. Faustina, and she prayed to Jesus not to look at the sin of her country, but on the tears, hunger and cold of little children.
Our Lord appeared with tears and said to her, “You see, My daughter, what great compassion I have for them. Know that it is they who uphold the world.”

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20160222 Divine Mercy image

St. Faustina had an important vision of Christ on Feb. 22, 1931. She was in her cell when she saw Christ clothed in a white garment. Christ’s right hand was raised in blessing and His left hand was touching the garment at the breast, from which red and pale rays emanated. Jesus said, “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You.” “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My Own glory.” Our Lord told St. Faustina that He desired the first Sunday after Easter to be the Feast of Divine Mercy, and the image to be solemnly blessed on that day. Jesus desired that priests proclaim the mercy of God and that sinners be not afraid to approach Him. Our Lord complained: “Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at My insides. The distrust of a chosen soul causes Me even greater pain; despite My inexhaustible love for them they do not trust Me. Even My death is not enough for them.” St. Faustina did not have a permanent spiritual director then. She went back and forth between confessors and superiors, but could not find certainty regarding the origin of her revelations. In November 1932, she made her annual eight-day retreat. She revealed her inner life to the retreat master, Father Edmund Elter. He confirmed that she was on the right path and the revelations were from God. After the retreat, St. Faustina went to Warsaw to complete her third probation, a five-month period of preparation for final vows. One day when she was cleaning the room of one of the elderly sisters, the sister kept following her and saying, “You’ve left a speck of dust here and a spot on the floor there.” At each remark, St. Faustina would clean the place a dozen times more just to satisfy her. She felt exhausted, not so much by the work as by the continual talking and excessive demands. That was not enough for the elderly nun, who complained to the superior: “Mother, who is this careless sister who doesn’t know how to work quickly?” The next day St. Faustina went to do the same job without trying to explain herself. When the elderly nun started harassing her again, she thought: “Jesus, one can be a silent martyr; it is not the work that wears you out, but this kind of martyrdom.” One day Jesus taught St. Faustina a beautiful prayer. He said, “When you say this prayer with a contrite heart and with faith, on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. “This is the prayer: O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You.” On May 1, 1933, St. Faustina made her final vows. As the bishop was putting the ring on her finger, God pervaded her whole being. She wrote, “I sense that I love God and that He loves me. Having once tasted God, my soul could not live without Him.” In June 1934, St. Faustina saw the image of The Divine Mercy painted by an artist. She was disappointed because the painting was not beautiful enough. When she got home, St. Faustina immediately went to the chapel and wept. She said to Jesus, “Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?” Our Lord replied, “Not in the beauty of the colour, nor of the brush, lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace.”

20160215 Jesus converses with Faustina

From April 30, 1926, to April 30, 1928, St. Faustina was a novice at the convent in Lagiewniki, Krakow. Faustina learned a lot from her directress of novices, Mother Jozefa Brzoza. She told Faustina to be always trusting, simple, and humble. Trusting God like a little child is the key to graces. Faustina was cheerful, and she bore humiliation and unpleasantness without complaint or resentment. She explained to a religious sister that one should never complain to people, but to God alone. At the end of her first year of novitiate, Faustina experienced a period of spiritual darkness. She found it very hard to pray and to meditate, and she felt abandoned by God. She was tormented by temptation, fear, doubt, and a sense of despair. During the almost 18 months of spiritual darkness, Faustina was supported by the directress of novices. She told Faustina, “Know, dear Sister, that God has chosen you for great sanctity. This is a sign that God wants to have you very close to himself in heaven. Have great trust in the Lord Jesus.” In the midst of her difficulties, Faustina made a novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus. On the fifth day of the novena, Faustina dreamed of St. Therese. The saint shared with Faustina that she too had suffered greatly on earth. St. Therese predicted a difficulty of Faustina would be resolved in three days. Faustina asked, “Dear sweet Therese, tell me, shall I go to heaven?” St. Therese replied, “Yes, you will go to heaven, Sister.” Faustina then asked St. Therese would she be a saint. St. Therese replied, “Yes, you will be a saint just as I am, but you must trust in the Lord Jesus.” On April 30, 1928, Faustina made her first vows. Her parents attended the ceremony. Her father was deeply moved by what Faustina told him during a walk in the convent garden: “You see, Daddy, the One to Whom I made my vows is my husband and your son-in-law.” St. Faustina’s juniorate, the five years between first vows and perpetual vows, was one of constant transfers, for in emergencies it was easier to move Faustina to other convents. Faustina never protested or murmured about the decision of her superiors. She took the vow of obedience seriously. Once she said, “I purely want to do the will of God. Wherever Mother sends me, I know that that shall be what God requires of me.” Faustina’s spiritual experiences during her juniorate included being summoned to the judgment seat of God. She saw the complete condition of her soul and realized that even the smallest transgressions would have to be accounted for. Jesus told Faustina that she deserved one day of fire in purgatory. He said, “Which do you prefer, to suffer now, for one day, in purgatory or for a short while on earth?” Faustina was willing to choose both, but the Lord said, “One is enough; you will go back to earth, and there you will suffer much, but not for long; you will accomplish my will and my desires, and a faithful servant of mine will help you to do this.” During another experience Faustina learned about the anger of God towards the most beautiful city in Poland. Jesus requested Faustina unite herself closely to Him during Mass and offer His Blood and Wounds to the heavenly Father in expiation for the sins of that city. The Lord asked her to do this for seven days. Once, during the renewal of vows, Jesus tied His golden cincture around Faustina’s waist. He said, “I give you eternal love, that your purity may be untarnished, and as a sign that you will never be subject to temptations against purity.”

20160208 From ‘Helen’ to ‘Faustina’

During this extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy we would do well to look to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, through whom the world received the devotion to the Divine Mercy. She is known as the “secretary of Divine Mercy.” Helen Kowalska (now St. Faustina) was born at 8 a.m. on Aug. 25, 1905, in the village of Glogowiec, Poland, the third of 10 children. She was baptized in St. Casimir’s Church in Swinice Warckie on April 27. At the age of 7 Helen heard the voice of God in her heart, calling her to a more perfect way of life. At 14 she left home to work as a domestic to help her parents. At 17 Helen made known her desire to enter religious life to her parents, but they did not allow her to enter a convent. Helen then tried to drown the call to religious life by turning her heart over to creatures. When Helen was at a dance one day, she saw Jesus by her side, covered with wounds. He said, “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting Me off?” Helen slipped away unnoticed to the Cathedral of St. Stanislaus and prostrated before the Blessed Sacrament. The Lord told her: “Go at once to Warsaw; you will enter a convent there.” A priest in Warsaw sent Helen to a pious lady, with whom she stayed until she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy on Aug. 1, 1925. Helen felt immensely happy. It seemed to her that she had stepped into the life of paradise. However, after three weeks in the convent, Helen felt that there was too little time for prayer, so she wanted to leave the congregation to enter a stricter order. During her interior struggle, Helen saw the very sorrowful face of Jesus with open wounds and tears. She asked, “Jesus, who has hurt You so?” Jesus answered, “It is you who will cause Me this pain if you leave this convent. It is to this place that I called you, and nowhere else; and I have prepared many graces for you.” From then on Helen was certain that she was called to be a sister of Our Lady of Mercy. One day she asked Jesus for whom she should pray in particular. She was told that she would find out the next night. The next night her guardian angel took her to purgatory. She wrote, “In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid.” The holy souls told Helen their greatest suffering was longing for God. Helen also saw Our Lady visiting the holy souls. They called her “The Star of the Sea.” The Lord said to Helen about the suffering of purgatory, “My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it.” In January 1926 Helen was sent to Krakow. On April 30 she received the religious habit and a religious name. During the ceremony the priest said, “From today on, you will not be called by your baptismal name. You will be called Sister Maria Faustina.” While she was taking the habit, God gave Sister Faustina to understand how much she was to suffer.