John Paul II on St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy
07 sierpnia 2002 | 16:55 | Ⓒ Ⓟ
St. Faustina’s message of God’s most significant attribute – His Mercy – was the subject matter of the Pope’s third encyclical several years before the conclusion of the beatification process of the Polish nun.
In the 1980 encyclical titled Dives in misericordia [Rich in Mercy], John Paul II wrote about the duty of the Church to provide witness to God’s Mercy. „The Church has the right and the duty to entreat for the Divine Mercy, calling upon it in the face of all forms of physical and moral evil, in the face of all the threats posed to contemporary humanity,” stressed the Pope. He also pointed to the fact that man not only experiences and “has access to” the mercy of God Himself, but is also called to “do” mercy to others: „Blest are they that show mercy; mercy shall be theirs” (Mt 5, 7). The Church finds in these words a call to action and tries to show mercy, too.
Thirteen years later, on the first Sunday following Easter, on April 18, 1993, the Holy Father beatified Sr. Faustina. The following day he spoke as follows during the general audience: „God has spoken to us through the spiritual wealth of the Blessed Sister Faustina Kowalska. She left to the world the great message of the Divine Mercy and an encouragement for an unconditional confidence in the Creator. God gave her a unique grace, since she was privileged to directly feel His mercy through mystical experiences and thanks to the special gift of contemplative prayer. Blessed Sister Faustina, I thank you for reminding the world about the great mystery of the Divine Mercy.”
On April 30, 2000 at the Vatican John Paul II proclaimed Sr. Faustina a saint. “Rejoice, O Poland, rejoice the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, because our dear Sister Faustina has become one of the community of Saints!” said the Pope at the end of the canonisation Mass. The Pope said also, “Thanks to Divine Providence the life of this humble daughter of the Polish nation was fully tied with the history of the 20th century, a century which has just come to an end. It was in the period between the two world wars that Christ entrusted her with His message of Mercy. Those who remember, who were witnesses to and participants in those dramatic events and the indescribable suffering they brought to millions of people, know well how strongly this message was connected with the 20th century, the last century of the second millennium and a threshold of the new millennium.” The Pope stressed the fact that “the canonisation of Sr. Faustina has a special significance. Through this canonisation I wish to pass on this message to the new millennium. I give this message to all people so that they can learn more profoundly about the true face of God and the true face of man.”
The following websites are related to St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy: www.faustina.ch; www. jezus.hg.pl; www.faustynki.pl; www.sanktuarium.krakow.pl
The Shrine of the Divine Mercy is visited each year by millions of pilgrims from all over Poland and all continents. The biggest crowds gather on the first Sunday after Easter, known as the Feast of the Divine Mercy, which since the year 2000 has been commemorated by the entire Catholic Church.
Tens of thousands of letters with requests and words of gratitude are sent to Łagiewniki from the whole world. Many of those letters bear witness to the graces received: cured illnesses, reconciliation in the family, breaking free from an alcohol addiction or from a sect, and finally religious conversions.
The devotion, originating from the revelations of St. Faustina, is widespread in South America and Africa, in the Philippines, Korea, and New Zealand. In Australia there is a Fraternity of the Divine Mercy, with over 5000 members from 14 countries. The Canadian community of Verdun is also an active pastoral and publishing centre; its members take care of morally lost souls.
Worshippers of the Divine Mercy are gathered in two organisations: the Faustinum Association of the Apostles of the Divine Mercy, numbering 5000 members from 41 countries and the Apostolic Movement of the Divine Mercy, with several million members. In the latter case in the US alone there are approx. 800 000 members of the movement. To the worshippers of the Divine Mercy belong Pope John Paul II, who declared Sr. Faustina one of the community of the blessed and then pronounced her a saint, and Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, Metropolitan of Cracow. The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, of whose Sr. Faustina was a member, as well as the Sisters of the Merciful Jesus, founded by Sr. Faustina’s spiritual director, Venerable Fr. Michał Sopoćko, are especially entrusted with the propagation of the message of the Divine Mercy.
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