Divine Mercy Sunday, or Feast of the Divine Mercy, falls on the
Octave of Easter, and celebrates the encounter Saint Faustina had with Jesus
known as the Divine Mercy. Jesus gave Saint Faustina the message of Divine
Mercy on February 22, 1931 - in Lagiewniki (Poland).
St. Faustina joined the convent in 1925, taking the religious
name, Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament. While assigned to a
convent in Plock, Poland, St. Faustina developed an illness which required her
to rest for several months at a nearby farm.
On the night of Sunday, February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to her
wearing a white garment with colorful rays emanating from His heart. She
details in her diary that Jesus told her that the first Sunday after Easter is
to be celebrated as the Feast of Mercy, and that He wished His image to be
shown as He appeared before her – and for it to be venerated and displayed for
all to see.
Jesus’ main message of the Divine Mercy devotion is to ask for,
and receive, the Mercy of God through consistent confession, to trust in Jesus’
Mercy, and to show mercy to others as God would. Specifically, any person who
receives Reconciliation and Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday will receive
a Plenary Indulgence.
Though St. Faustina could not paint, she promised to venerate this
image. After a few years, with the help of Father Michał Sopoćko, she commissioned artist Eugene
Kazimierowski to create the painting that has now become the famous image of
Divine Mercy. It is accompanied by the phrase “Jezu ufam Tobie” or “Jesus, I
trust in You.” The image has been replicated and distributed countless times,
however, the original painting now resides at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in
For years, St. Faustina conversed with Jesus and devoted her life
to His mission of spreading Divine Mercy. Through her steady and impassioned
work, the message of Divine Mercy did spread rather quickly through the
distribution of brochures, books, and prayer cards. Divine Mercy became a
source of inspiration and strength for the Polish people, as just before her
death in 1938, St. Faustina predicted that a terrible war was approaching. By
1941, the image and message of Divine Mercy had reached many countries, even as
far as the United States.
In the 1950s, both Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII personally
spread messages of, and approved the devotion to, the Divine Mercy. St. John
Paul II was an ardent supporter of St. Faustina and Divine Mercy – and so he
Beatified her in 1993, and Canonized her on April 30th, 2000. Surprisingly, he closed the Canonization by officially
designating that the Sunday after Easter as the “Feast of Divine Mercy”.
Coincidentally, St. John Paul II died in Saturday, April 2nd, 2005 - on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. He was later Beatified
by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2011, and Canonized on
the Holy day in 2014 by Pope Francis.
|Sister Gaudia Skass –
at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki|
The legacy and strength of the message of Divine Mercy has not
wavered, much in part due to the loyalty and perseverance of St. Faustina and
those who honored her legacy. St. Faustina now lies at the Divine Mercy Shrine
in Lagiewniki, Poland. As her October 5th Feast
Day approaches, we take this opportunity to reflect on her devotion and trust
in the Mercy of Jesus. In April of 2020, many Catholics will make a Pilgrimage
to Poland to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Divine Mercy Sunday and the Canonization
of St. Faustina.
To learn more about how you can join, visit: