Monthly Archives: May 2016

20160516 John Paul canonizes St. Faustina

After the death of St. Faustina, the devotion and message of Divine Mercy spread throughout Poland through pamphlets and prayer cards.
In 1940 Father Joseph Jarzebowski met St. Faustina’s spiritual director, Blessed Michael Sopocko. Father Jarzebowski took Divine Mercy devotional materials to the United States, and spread the devotion.
Because of the popularity of the devotion, the superior general of St. Faustina’s community asked a sister to type the handwritten notebooks of her diary.
Unfortunately this was not done carefully, and the final typescript was full of errors and omissions. These errors led to the Holy Office issuing a notification in 1959 which prohibited “spreading of the devotion to Sister Faustina, pending clarification of concerns.”
This notification caused great suffering for many people, especially Blessed Michael Sopocko. St. Faustina had predicted the suffering of Father Sopocko in 1935.
She wrote, “Once, as I was talking with my spiritual director, I had an interior vision, quicker than lightning, of his soul in great suffering, in such agony that God touches very few souls with such fire. The suffering arises from this work.
“There will come a time when this work, which God is demanding very much, will be as though utterly undone. And then God will act with great power, which will give evidence of its authenticity. It will be a new splendour for the Church, although it has been dormant in it from long ago.”
“When this triumph comes, we shall already have entered the new life in which there is no suffering. But before this, your soul [of the spiritual director] will be surfeited with bitterness at the sight of the destruction of your efforts.”
Father Sopocko died in 1975, and so when the prohibition was lifted in 1978, both St. Faustina and Blessed Sopocko had already “entered the new life in which there is no suffering.”
Archbishop Karol Wojtyla (the future Pope John Paul II) was instrumental in the lifting of the prohibition. The Polish laity kept petitioning Archbishop Wojtyla to begin the beatification process of St. Faustina.
On Aug. 21, 1965, after meeting Blessed Sopocko, the archbishop wrote: “This matter is foremost on my mind, maybe we will still be able to begin it this year.”
Less than a month later, Archbishop Wojtyla was in Rome for the final session of Vatican II. He consulted the prefect of the Holy Office, Cardinal Ottaviani, whether it were still possible to begin the process of St. Faustina’s beatification, given the prohibition.
The cardinal replied, “What? You haven’t started it yet? Hurry and start it before the witnesses die.”
On Oct. 21, 1965, Archbishop Wojtyla started the process for St. Faustina. The information gathered during the process eventually led the Holy Office to issue a new notification on June 30, 1978: “This Sacred Congregation, having now in [its] possession the many original documents, unknown in 1959; having taken into consideration the profoundly changed circumstances, and having taken into account the opinion of many Polish ordinaries, declares no longer binding the prohibitions contained in the quoted ‘Notification'” of 1959.
On Oct. 16, Archbishop Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II. On April 18, 1993, he beatified St. Faustina, and on April 30, 2000, he canonized her.
During his homily at the canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II said, “It is important that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the Word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.'”
“By this act, I intend today to pass this message on to the new millennium.”

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20160509 Faustina enters eternity

When St. Faustina was dying, Sister Amelia Socha spent many hours at her bedside.
A week before her death, Sister Amelia said to her, “Sister, how good the Lord Jesus is to let you die so young and so consciously. How much I, too, would like to contract pulmonary tuberculosis and die one year after you.”
Sister Amelia suffered from tuberculosis of the bones, and she feared that she would become an invalid and a burden to the congregation.
St. Faustina understood Sister Amelia’s motives. She said, “Sister, if I shall have any graces with the Lord Jesus, I will ask that one year after me, He will take you.” Sister Amelia died of pulmonary tuberculosis just over a year later, Nov. 4, 1939.
During her last night, Oct. 4-5, 1938, St. Faustina suffered intensely from thirst and pain. On Wednesday, Oct. 5, Sister Amelia had morning duty at her bedside. St. Faustina sang quietly, “Neither the eye has seen, nor the ear heard, nor has it entered the thought of man, what awaits a virgin in heaven.”
At 4 p.m. Father Joseph Andrasz came and gave her the last rites. She was suffering immensely and asked for an anesthetic injection, but a moment later, she changed her mind and did not receive the injection. She decided to offer up the pain to God. Her final agony began in the evening, and she said, “Today Jesus is going to take me with Him.”
The bell rang during dinner, and everyone knew she was dying. The chaplain and the sisters prayed the prayers for the dying. At around 10:45 p.m., after long suffering borne with great patience, Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska died. She was 33.
On Oct. 6 the sisters moved the body to the crypt. The casket was open until the funeral. Father Andrasz said, “In the casket, Faustina regained her freshness and loveliness; she was far more beautiful than during her life.”
Mother Irena Krzyzanowska said, “None of the sisters feared the deceased, as usually happens in such cases. Sister Faustina’s face radiated peace.”
The funeral of St. Faustina took place on the first Friday of the month, Oct. 7, the feast of the Holy Rosary. None of her family members attended the funeral. She had not wanted her relatives to be notified of the funeral because of the high cost of travel. However her sister, Natalia Grzelak, knew of her death before the news arrived.
Natalia saw Faustina in her room. Natalia recalled: “She was as white as a Communion wafer, so thin, with folded hands. She said to me, ‘I have come to say goodbye to you, because I’m leaving. Remain with God. Do not cry, you mustn’t cry!’
“She kissed me on the cheek, and I couldn’t say a word. I just pressed my face into the pillow. When she left, I started to cry…. Then the door opened again, and my sister stood there, so white, and said, ‘I have asked you not to cry, and you are crying. There’s no need to cry, and I beg you: do not cry!”
The following entry was put into the convent’s register of the deceased: “Sister Faustina, of blessed memory, arrived at a complete union with God in her relationship with Him, through loving and seeking the will of God in every event and in every order given by her superiors.”
A few years before her death, St. Faustina had written, “I feel certain that my mission will not come to an end upon my death, but will begin.”