Tuesday, October 5, 2010

St. Faustina

St. Mary Faustina's name is forever linked to the annual feast of the Divine Mercy (celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter), the divine mercy chaplet and the divine mercy prayer recited each day by many people at 3 p.m.
Born in what is now west-central Poland (part of Germany before World War I), Helena was the third of 10 children. After age 16 she worked as a housekeeper in three cities before joining the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1925. She worked as a cook, gardener and porter in three of their houses. 
She attended only three years of school. As a teenager, she worked as a domestic servant for other families. After being rejected by several religious orders, she became a nun in the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw, Poland on 1 August 1925; the order is devoted to care and education of troubled young women. She changed her name to Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament. During her 13 years in various houses, she was a cook, gardener, and porter.
She had a special devotion to Mary Immaculate, to the Sacrament, and to Reconciliation, which led to a deep mystical interior life. She began to have visions, receive revelations, and experienced the hidden stigmata. She began recording these mystical experiences in a diary; being nearly illiterate, it was written phonetically, without quotation marks or punctuation, and runs to nearly 700 pages. A bad translation reached Rome in 1958, and was labeled heretical. However, when Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) became Archbishop of Krakow, he was besieged by requests for a reconsideration. He ordered a better translation made, and Vatican authorities realized that instead of heresy, the work proclaimed God's love. It was published as Divine Mercy in my Soul.
In the 1930's, Sister Faustina received a message of mercy from Jesus that she was told to spread throughout the world, a message of God's mercy to each person individually, and for humanity as a whole. Jesus asked that a picture be painted of him with the inscription: "Jesus, I Trust in You." She was asked to be a model of mercy to others, to live her entire life, in imitation of Christ's, as a sacrifice. She commissioned this painting in 1935, showing a red and a white light shining from Christ's Sacred Heart.
Apostles of Divine Mercy is a movement of priests, religious, and lay people inspired by Faustina's experiences; they spread knowledge of the mystery of Divine Mercy, and invoke God's mercy on sinners. Approved in 1996 by the Archdiocese of Krakow, it has spread to 29 countries. 

In addition to carrying out her work faithfully, generously serving the needs of the sisters and the local people, she also had a deep interior life. This included receiving revelations from the Lord Jesus, messages that she recorded in her diary at the request of Christ and of her confessors.
At a time when some Catholics had an image of God as such a strict judge that they might be tempted to despair about the possibility of being forgiven, Jesus chose to emphasize his mercy and forgiveness for sins acknowledged and confessed. “I do not want to punish aching mankind,” he once told St. Mary Faustina, “but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart” (Diary 1588). The two rays emanating from Christ's heart, she said, represent the blood and water poured out after Jesus' death (Gospel of John 19:34)
Because Sister Mary Faustina knew that the revelations she had already received did not constitute holiness itself, she wrote in her diary: “Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God” (Diary 1107).
Sister Mary Faustina died of tuberculosis in Krakow, Poland, on October 5, 1938. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1993 and canonized her in 2000.
FEAST DAY: October 5 

PRAYER: Father, I ask you to use me to do Your Good works through me. I know there is a Divine Purpose for me in my Life and I aggressively seek my Purpose. Help me to be more attentive to the circumstances and situations that come before me so that I may recognize Your Divine Influence in my Life. Teach me to have mercy on others as I desire You to have mercy on me. Through Jesus Christ's Precious, Pure and Holy name I pray. - Amen

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