Sunday, April 23, 2006

Saint Faustina- The Divine Mercy Saint

Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska was born in Poland. She came from a very poor family that had struggled hard on their little farm during the terrible years of the First World War. She had only three years of very simple education.

When she was twenty years old, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Her tasks were the humblest in the convent, usually in the kitchen or the vegetable garden, or as a porter.

On the 22nd of February, 1931, she had a vision of Jesus. He appeared to her and said, "paint an image of what 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 (its) enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory". The picture shows Jesus with two rays coming from his heart, one red and one white.

Jesus Himself gives the explanation of the rays to St. Faustina:

The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls... 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. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him. By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works.

He asked her to remind the world of His unending Divine Mercy and He taught her a very special devotion to the Divine Mercy based on trust in Him called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Jesus asked her to record these experiences, which she compiled in notebooks. These notebooks are known today as the Diary of St. Maria Faustina and the words contained within are God's loving message of Divine Mercy.

Sister Faustina died on October 5, 1938, at a convent in Krakow. She was buried in the convent chapel beneath the image of the Divine Mercy.

Sister Faustina was beatified on April 18, 1993, her canonization took place on April 30, 2000 the first Sunday after Easter, on Divine Mercy Sunday. She was honoured by becoming the first saint of this millenium, giving great emphasis to the Divine Mercy Devotion.

As one of the great events of the Jubilee 2000, John Paul II, conducted the ceremony of the canonization of St Faustina, before a crowd of around 200000 Divine Mercy Pilgrims.

We are encouraged to study and to practice the devotions of the Divine Mercy:
•Veneration of the Divine Mercy Image with the caption, "Jesus, I trust in You."
•Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, especially at 3:00 - the Hour of Divine Mercy.
•Praying a Novena of Divine Mercy from Good Friday to the Sunday after Easter, which has been designated the Feast of the Divine Mercy.

Jesus said, "On that day are open all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet."

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