The Divine Mercy Devotion

The Divine Mercy Devotion is based on the writings of St. Faustina Kowalska, who wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God's mercy. She wrote her diary out of obedience to her spiritual director Blessed Father Michael Sopocko (1888-1975) whom Jesus assured St. Faustina would be her "visible help ... on earth." (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 53). St. Faustina lived in the convent in the 1930s and died just one year before World War II began.

The Divine Mercy Devotion gives us life-altering graces and the fascinating story of a humble and simple person whom God chose for great things.

The story begins with a dance in Poland when St. Faustina was only 19 years old. She was having fun with her sister like any other young woman at a dance when suddenly Christ appeared to her. Instead of the dance floor she only saw Christ by her side, racked with pain and covered in wounds.

He asked her a simple question: “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting me off?”

St. Faustina pretended to have a headache and sat down to cover up what had just happened in her soul. After a while she slipped out unnoticed from the dance and went to the Cathedral of St. Stanislaus Kostka begging the Lord to help her understand what happened. Her prayers were answered when she heard the words: “Go at once to Warsaw; you will enter a convent there.” I rose from prayer, came home, and took care of things that needed to be settled. As best I could, I confided to my sister what took place within my soul. I told her to say good-bye to our parents, and thus, in my one dress, with no other belongings, I arrived in Warsaw (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 9-10).

Life in the Convent

In Warsaw, a kind priest found her lodging, allowing St. Faustina to inquire at various convents. Finally, the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy –where she received the messages about the Feast of Divine Mercy, the Image of Divine Mercy that Christ wanted painted, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and more. St. Faustina’s inner life was filled with visits from the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and Christ.

From Thunderbolts to A Compassionate Heart

Christ relied on St. Faustina to give His messages about mercy to the world to further spread His love of souls and His desire to place them all in His merciful heart.

“I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart." (Diary, 1588)

The Divine Mercy Feast Day

This feast is so powerful that this simple title has become a verb for the actions it imparts.

“Tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. The soul that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.: (Diary of St. Faustina #699)

It led to a worldwide celebration in the Universal Church on the second Sunday after Easter. It provides the most amazing graces to the faithful through the Sacraments of Confession, Holy Eucharist and living the messages of Divine Mercy.

The Establishment of Divine Mercy Sunday

St. John Paul II established the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday to be proclaimed in every Catholic Church.

He never tired of proclaiming the Divine Mercy Message to the world, quoting the fervor of Christ’s requests to St. Faustina.

"Jesus told St. Faustina: "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy" (Diary, p. 132). “Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked forever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message, but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time," said St. John Paul II.

The Image: A Vessel of Graces

Christ uses an Image of Himself to illustrate the importance of Divine Mercy.

There are several key quotes to help us understand the importance of the Divine Mercy image.
  • Today, I saw the Glory of God which flows from the image. Many souls are receiving graces…” (Diary 1789)
  • Christ tells St. Faustina: “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 [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.” (Diary, 47, 48).
  • I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You (327). I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world (Diary 47).
The image shows Christ with two rays coming from His Heart. One ray is red, the other is white. At the request of her spiritual director, St. Faustina asked the Lord about the meaning of the rays in the image. She heard these words in reply:

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 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 (299). 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 (742).

In 1931, our Lord appeared to St. Faustina in a vision. She saw Jesus clothed in a white garment with His right hand raised in blessing. His left hand was touching His garment in the area of the Heart, from where two large rays came forth, one red and the other pale. She gazed intently at the Lord in silence, her soul filled with awe, but also with great joy. Jesus said to her: “These words indicate that the Image represents the graces of Divine Mercy poured out upon the world, especially through Baptism and the Eucharist.”

Many different versions of this image have been painted, but our Lord made it clear that the painting itself is not what is important. When St. Faustina first saw the original image that was being painted under her direction, she wept in disappointment and complained to Jesus: "Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?" (313).

In answer, she heard these words: "Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace" (313).

How to Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet

The Divine Mercy Chaplet is one of the shortest and easiest chaplets to pray.

It was given to St. Faustina by Christ as a way to intercede for souls. Christ also wanted the chaplet prayed in a special way starting on Good Friday to prepare for Divine Mercy Sunday with a novena of chaplets.

The Novena of Chaplets

Traditionally, we pray a novena for nine days for a special prayer request. Christ asked that the Divine Mercy Chaplet be prayed as a novena with nine different and very specific intentions for each day. The novena leads us to the celebration of the Divine Mercy Feast Day.

“I desire that during [these] nine days you bring souls to the fountain of my mercy, that they may draw strength and refreshment and whatever grace they need in the hardships of life, and especially at the hour of death.” (Diary of St. Faustina #1209)

The novena is beautiful in its intentions. On the first day all souls immerse themselves in Christ's mercy:

For example, the intention of the first day is: “Today, bring to Me: All Mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.”
R: Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind, and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen

As the novena continues we see requests to pray for priests, religious, children, the Poor Souls in Purgatory, and more. The novena also remembers certain souls who comforted Him through His Passion such as faithful souls and those souls who especially venerate and glorify Christ's mercy.

A Chaplet to Save Souls

Christ dictated the Divine Mercy Chaplet to St. Faustina in 1935 in Vilnius, Lithuania as a remedy to His great justice about to befall a certain city. St. Faustina's powerful vision of an angel about to chastise a city in Poland caused her to beg for mercy. However, her prayers were powerless until she interiorly heard the words:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us. (Diary, 475)

As she prayed, the angel became helpless to carry out the deserved punishment. (Diary #474). The next day, as she was entering the chapel, she again heard this interior voice, instructing her how to recite the prayer that our Lord later called "the Chaplet." This time, after "have mercy on us" were added the words "and on the whole world" (#476). For the rest of her life St. Faustina rarely ceased praying the chaplet. She also found it helpful to pray for the souls of the dying with the chaplet.

Christ's Powerful Promises

St. Faustina's revelations tells us that Christ encourages souls to pray the chaplet (Diary, 1541) and attaches extraordinary promises to its recitation:
  • Whoever recites it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (687).
  • When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior (1541).
  • Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this Chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy (687).
  • I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy (687).
  • Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. (1731)

It's So Easy to Pray

The Divine Mercy Chaplet has a beautiful and easy simplicity paired with powerful promises. It's prayed on ordinary rosary beads. While it may be prayed at any time, Our Lord specifically told St. Faustina to recite it during the nine days before the Feast of Mercy.

"By this Novena, [of Chaplets] I will grant every possible grace to souls." (Diary, 796)

It is also highly recommended to pray the Chaplet during the "Hour of Great Mercy" — three o'clock each afternoon (recalling the time of Christ’s death on the cross). In His revelations to St. Faustina, Our Lord asked for a special remembrance of His Passion at that hour.

Here’s how to practice the devotion with our Divine Mercy Novena Booklet.

Learn How to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet!

And another helpful guide to praying the chaplet as well.
* The above photo is from our billboard that we were able to place in Jennings County to spread the message of Divine Mercy. The billboard was made possible through a grant.