The Divine Mercy Devotion
The prayers for the Chaplet were said first by Sister Faustina on September 13, 1935. An angel appeared to her with bolts of lightning to strike in various places on earth. To appease the wrath of God, she prayed the words she heard and said in her heart:“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” She was told to recite these prayers for nine days as a novena on the beads of a rosary. Before these prayers were said, an “Our Father”, a “Hail Mary”, and the “I Believe in God” were to be said on the three beads near the rosary’s crucifix. She was then to say the first part of the prayer on the large beads separating the five decades and the shorter part of the prayer on each of the ten beads of each decade. At the end she was to recite three times: “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” These revelations later developed into the devotion known as Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. It is asked that the chaplet prayers be recited daily at 3 p.m. (during the Hour of Great Mercy).
This devotion provides a powerful focus on God's Mercy in that it calls people to a deeper understanding that God's love is unlimited and available to everyone especially the greatest sinners. It is a decision to trust completely in Him, to accept His mercy with thanksgiving, and to be merciful as He is merciful.
In our Lords many conversations with Saint Faustina, He emphasizes the connection between trusting Him and finding peace. This peace in trusting Him is not just for individual souls but also for the nations and the world. His Mercy is the key to having peace in the world.
Our pastors and the Spiritual Life and Evangelization Committee of Saint Hyacinth are truly aware of the significance of this powerful devotion and have made it an important part of our liturgy. We celebrate the devotion on the First Friday of each month with recitation of the chaplet in prayerful song, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, prayers and silent meditation. Each year on Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Sunday of Easter) we have a beautiful celebration at Saint Hyacinth filling the church with devotees from neighboring parishes.

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska 1905-1938

The Early Years

Saint Maria Faustina was the daughter of Stanislaus and Marianna Kowalska, born Helena Kowalska on the 25th day of August in the village of Glogowiec, Lodz Province, Poland. She was the third of ten children. At the age of seven, Helena received a definite call of God to religious life, though she didn't understand what religious life was. She completed two years in elementary school. The Russians had closed the schools in their Polish territory, so the Kowalski children had to be taught at home. Helena began employment at the age of 14. She worked as a maid and a babysitter. Her parents knew from an early age that Helena was different from the rest of her siblings she was very helpful, even-tempered and obedient. Her parents were very poor and did not want to let Helena go to the convent. At the age of 17, she was determined to serve God as a nun; she went to several convents to get accepted. She finally was conditionally accepted for admission to the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw.

Entering the Convent
On August 1, 1925, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. After receiving her habit, her name was Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament. On the first day of her religious life Sister Faustina was given a vision from Jesus on how much she would suffer for Him during her life in the convent. She saw the physical sufferings, the mental anguish, the periods where she would be misunderstood or even persecuted. Extraordinary suffering was to be her lot in life, her special ministry. She was to intercede for God's mercy for others with every breath, with every work and prayer. The tasks given her as a “second choir” nun was as a kitchen helper, cook, gardener, and gatekeeper.

Her Spiritual Director
Following her perpetual confession she contacted tuberculosis. Sister Faustina was transferred frequently to different convents because of her illness and weakness. While in Vilnius she met Fr. Michael Sopocko who became her spiritual director. She told him of her visions and commissions given to her by Jesus.

A Vision
On February 22, 1931, Our Lord Jesus Christ is reported to have granted a vision of Himself to Sister Faustina. She saw Him clothed in an ankle-length white garment. His right hand was raised in blessing, the left was touching His garment slightly drawn aside, two large rays were coming forth as though from His heart. The ray to the left of the onlooker was red in color; the ray to the right was pale like clear crystal. Our Lord asked: “Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the inscription: Jesus I trust in You! I desire that this image be venerated first in your chapel and then throughout the world”. It was Fr. Sopocko who led Sister Faustina to a painter (Eugene Kazimierowski) who painted the first Divine Mercy Image as described in the vision.

The Diary
During her time in the convent she was asked to write a diary. The diary reveals her interpersonal relationship with God. It teaches of the Divine Infinite Mercy of Jesus for the human race. In 1935, Our Lord taught Sister Faustina a special prayer for mercy called “The Chaplet of Divine Mercy”. Jesus requested that the Sunday after Easter be officially established in the Church as the Feast of Mercy.

A Novena
On Good Friday 1937, Jesus dictated the intentions for a Novena that He wanted Sister Faustina to say before the Feast of Mercy. By means of a special prayer, she was to bring to His Heart a different group of souls each day. In a prophetic statement she had declared: “I feel certain that my mission will not come to an end upon my death, but will begin”.

Beatification

Sister Faustina was beatified on April 18, 1993 and on Sunday, April 30, 2000, our Holy Father Pope John Paul II raised Sister Faustina to the altar of sanctity.


Saint Faustina © Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, MA 01263. Used with permission.