Mercy is News from Heaven is the theme of a retreat for children, teens and adults to be held from 25 to 28 March at the Parish of Our Lady of Fatima in Chojnice. It will be delivered by Sr. Maria Vianneya and Sr. Tobiana from the community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki.
On March 26, Sr. Vincenta Mąka from the Roman community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy will share the message of Mercy as recorded in the Diary of St. Faustina with the faithful at the parish of St. Cristina in Turin. In preparation for the Feast of Mercy, she will speak specifically about this form of Divine Mercy devotion. The meeting will include Holy Mass, prayer at the Hour of Mercy and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, followed by a get-together with refreshments.
For the period of Lent, we usually make resolutions, which usually involves doing the deeds that Jesus asked us to do: almsgiving, prayer and fasting, performed secretly with the pure intention of love for God and for people, not for applause or recognition. Saint Faustina also practiced them. In her religious life, however, she made one specific resolution, which she realized not only during Lent, but always, namely, she joined Merciful Jesus living in her soul, through an aspiration. When she wanted to change this decision, Jesus would not let her, because this daily practice leads to the development of a deep relationship with Him, to living our daily lives with Him.
The Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, who run the Esperanza project in Cuba, are launching an art contest, as they do every year, related to the International Day for the Defense of Life, which falls on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. The theme of this year’s competition is I believe in God, the Giver of life. The competition is open to children in two age groups: 6-9 years old and 10-13 years old. The results of the competition will be announced on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy of Mount Cobre in Camagüey. After a solemn Mass presided over by the Shrine’s custodian, Fr. Genaro Martinez Leonardo, the submitted works will be on display, and the jury, together with Sr. Filipa Bąk, I.S.M.M., will present awards to the winners.
Concern for the conversion of sinners. This is the greatest act of mercy, which has us keep in mind the eternal wellbeing of another human being. Sister Faustina, following Jesus’ example, even made the sacrifice of her life with this intention. The mystical experiences she met heaven, purgatory and hell, because she said that no sacrifice is too great to save a man for eternity. Jesus invited her – and through it well and us – to cooperate in the work of saving sinners, even those for which humanly speaking, there is no hope. Many times He asked: I thirst. I thirst for the salvation of souls. Help Me, My daughter, to save souls. Join your sufferings to My Passion; and offer them to the heavenly Father for sinners (Diary, 1032). The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness. You always console Me when you pray for sinners. The prayer most pleasing to Me; is prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered (Diary, 1397).
At the invitation of Jesus, Sister Faustina responded generously: O Jesus, I want to bring souls to the fount of Your mercy to draw the reviving water of life with the vessel of trust. The soul desirous of more of God’s mercy should approach God with greater trust; and if her trust in God is unlimited, then the mercy of God toward it will be likewise limitless. O my God, Who know every beat of my heart, You know how eagerly I desire that all hearts would beat for You alone, that every soul glorify the greatness of Your mercy (Diary, 1489).
St. Faustina is associated with the revelations of Merciful Jesus, the prophetic mission of proclaiming the biblical truth about the merciful love of God to man to the world, with the devotion to Divine Mercy and the new school of spirituality. She is less frequently mentioned in relation with her revelations of Our Lady, and yet in the Diary, dozens of meetings of the Apostle of Divine Mercy with Mary are reported. One revelation was a special occasion, because it talks about the extraordinary role of St. St. Faustina in Divine Mercy plans. On the Feast of the Annunciation of 1936, in the convent chapel at ul. Żytnia in Warsaw, Sister Faustina saw the Mother of God, who told her: I gave the Savior to the world; as for you, you have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Savior, but as a just Judge. Oh, how terrible is that day! Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath. The angels tremble before it. Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still the time for [granting] mercy. If you keep silent now, you will be answering for a great number of souls on that terrible day. Fear nothing. Be faithful to the end. I sympathize with you (Diary, 635). This message from the Mother of God also applies to us and impels us to bring the message of the merciful love of God to man to the world by testimony of life, deed, word and prayer.
On March 22, at St. Joachim’s Cathedral in Rome (Prati district), another meeting of the community of the Faustinum Apostles of Divine Mercy Association will be held by Sisters of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. It will be devoted to the Rosary of Divine Mercy. The program also includes prayer at the Hour of Mercy, the Chaplet of Mercy and the Stations of the Cross. The meeting can also be attended online via Google Meet.
Mercy is News from Heaven is the theme of a retreat for children, teens and adults to be held from 19 to 22 March at the Parish of the Feast of the Cross in Brzeg near Wrocław. It will be delivered by Sr. Maria Faustyna Ciborowska and Sr. Maria Vianneya Dąbrowska from the community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki.
The feast of St. Joseph – March 20th – at the Shrine of Divine Mercy’s convent chapel of the miracle-famous Divine Mercy image and the tomb of St. Faustina is an indulgence, because it is the original dedication of the chapel and the entire property called “Józefowo”. The ceremony will be preceded by a novena, during which at the evening worship services Litany of St. Joseph is sung, and in the morning after the breviary, a prayer is recited to the Husband of Mary and Foster Father of Jesus. Holy Masses will take place at 6.30 am and 5.00 pm.
A spiritual retreat of members and volunteers of the Faustinum Association will be held at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki on March 17-19. The main theme will be the art of recognition regarding the activity of good and evil spirits, and the motto will be the words of St. Faustina: “Whenever I hesitate over how to behave in a situation, I always ask for love, who is the best counsellor” (Diary, 1354). The retreat is for registered participants only. It will be delivered by Fr. Krzysztof Wons, S.D.S., Doctor of Spiritual Theology, head of the Center for Spiritual Formation of the Salvatorians in Krakow, retreat giver and spiritual director and promoter of the lectio Divina prayer.
This motto was chosen for the Lenten retreat for children, youth and adults alike, which will be held from March 9 to 12 at St. John the Baptist parish in Złotnik near Żagan, Poland. It will be delivered by Sr. Maria Faustyna Ciborowska from the convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy at the Shrine in Krakow-Łagiewniki.
From March 11th, before the feast of St. Joseph, all the convents of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy will be celebrating the traditional novena to St. Joseph.
The Saint is among the patrons of the Congregation and has enjoyed great reverence since its beginning. His images decorate all the convent chapels. Usually, St. Joseph has a separate altar devoted to him on the right side of the presbytery, as it is the case at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki. His statues can be found in convent corridors, monastic cells, places of apostolic service, as well as in gardens and nunnery courtyards. He is the host of every property, house, convent, and thus has everything under his care, not only material matters, with which he is most often associated, but also, and perhaps above all, he cares for the spiritual matters of the communities of our Congregation and the works they carry out. The nuns refer to St. Joseph as the Protector and Father, and so address him in their prayers, certain that “it has never been heard that anyone calling on his care and begging for help has been left without consolation”. In matters of urgency, the Sisters send him “telegrams”, listing very specific problems that need to be dealt with.
Works of mercy. This fast is what God desires. The following event in the life of St. Faustina is among the things which can convince us of it: The doctor did not allow me to go to the chapel to attend the Passion Service, although I had a great desire for it; however, I prayed in my own room. Suddenly I heard the bell in the next room, and I went in and rendered a service to a seriously sick person. When I returned to my room, I suddenly saw the Lord Jesus, who said, My daughter, you gave Me greater pleasure by rendering Me that service than if you had prayed for a long time. I answered, But it was not to You, Jesus, but to that patient that I rendered this service. And the Lord answered me, Yes, My daughter, but whatever you do for your neighbor, you do for Me (Diary, 1029).
Jesus instructed St. Faustina, and through her, all of us, that there are three ways to provide good to our neighbors: by deed, word, and prayer. He said: In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy. (Diary, 742). Jesus asked Sister Faustina to do at least one act of mercy towards her neighbors during a day, and do it out of love for Him. This is the only wealth on earth that has eternal value. It makes us beautiful in our humanity and our Christian vocation, but also rich before God.
On March 18, the traditional pilgrimage of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy to the Shrine of St. Joseph in Kalisz will take place. Delegations from many convents of the Congregation will participate in the solemn Mass at noon, which will be celebrated by the Bishop Damian Bryl of Kalisz. After communal Agape, a religious play will be performed by girls from the local Youth Fostering Center. The pilgrimage will conclude with prayer at the Hour of Mercy and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Meditating on the Passion of Jesus. During Lent, we consider the suffering of Jesus, which He took upon Himself out of love for us and for our salvation, more often than in other times of the year. We participate in the devotion of the cross and Bitter Lamentations, and we read the Scriptures that announce and describe the paschal events. Jesus instructed Faustina, and through her all of us, to consider His Passion in such a way as if it took place only for her sake (cf. (Diary, 1761). He explained: There is more merit to one hour of meditation on My sorrowful Passion than there is to a whole year of flagellation that draws blood; the contemplation of My painful wounds is of great profit to you, and it brings Me great joy 369). My daughter, meditate frequently on the sufferings which I have undergone for your sake, and then nothing of what you suffer for Me will seem great to you. You please Me most when you meditate on My Sorrowful Passion. Join your little sufferings to My Sorrowful Passion, so that they may have infinite value before My Majesty (Diary, 1512). Following these indications of Jesus, Sister Faustina penetrated deeply into the mystery of the merciful love of God for every man and thanked Jesus for the Book from which she learned to love God and people. That book is Your Passion which You underwent for love of me. It is from this book that I have learned how to love God and souls. In this book there are found for us inexhaustible treasures. O Jesus, how few souls understand You in Your martyrdom of love! Oh, how great is the fire of purest love which burns in Your Most Sacred Heart! Happy the soul that has come to understand the love of the Heart of Jesus! (Diary, 304).
On March 11th, at the Shrine of St. Faustina in Kiekrz, there will be a day retreat for married couples praying for becoming parents. It will be delivered by Fr. Łukasz Łukasik and Sr. Savia from the Kiekrz community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. The meeting agenda includes Holy Mass, adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and workshops for the couples.
On March 8-10, at the Shrine of St. Faustina in Warsaw at ul. Żytnia 1, a Lenten retreat for children and young teens from primary schools (1st to 8th grade) will be held. The children will accompany St. Faustina in learning from Merciful Jesus about how to be merciful and finally get to Heaven. Meanwhile, the teens will seek answers to the question what counts in life and how to seek true values. The retreat will be hosted by Sr. Terezjana and Sr. Mariam of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy.
On March 8, as on every eighth day of the month, the community of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Gdansk, Częstochowa, Kalisz, Kiekrz, Łódź, Płock, Świnice Warckie and Wrocław will support married couples praying for offspring. 1050 of them are already expecting children, with many more already enjoying parenthood. Intentions asking for prayer for this purpose (names of married couples) can be sent by email at: www.modlitwaopotomstwo.pl.
The community of people praying for children led by Fr. Andrzej Wiecki and sisters of the Gdańsk community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy cordially invite married couples trying to conceive to Adoration of Merciful Jesus with a prayer for healing, which will take place on 8 March at 7.30 pm at the shrine of the Pregnant Holy Mother in Matemblewo. Live stream: www.facebook.com/modlitwaopotomstwo
Lent invites us to reflect on our lives and their purpose. Let us help in this the extremely eloquent vision of Sister Faustina. One day, I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures.
People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings” (Diary, 153).
What is the purpose of my life? Which road am I taking?
A spiritual retreat of members and volunteers of the Faustinum Apostles of Divine Mercy Association will be held at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki on March 3-5. This will be the first of the retreats revolving around the names of Jesus in the Diary of St. Faustina. The first of them is Merciful Jesus, and the retreat will be delivered by Fr. Grzegorz Szczygieł, M.S., a missionary, retreat giver and provost at the La Salette parish in Krakow, and by Sr. M. Eliana Chmielewska, I.S.M.M., from the board of the Faustinum, the spiritual mentor of the Krakow Faustinum community.
Mary, Mother of the Son of God, Mercy Incarnate and Mother of each of us. Ultimately beautiful in her love for God and man. A role model for every girl, mother and consecrated person. That is why we direct our prayers of thankfulness and supplication. To read more about the most beautiful of Women, Our Lady of Mercy, her veneration, iconography, liturgy and prayers, visit: www.saint-faustina.org.
As part of the anniversary celebration, a Lenten retreat will be held from February 22 to 26 under the theme of What does it mean to trust?, to be delivered by Fr. Teodor Sawielewicz. The meeting agenda includes Holy Mass at 5 pm, with a sermon, conference, adoration of Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and the rosary. The retreat will conclude with a night vigil.
On the occasion of this anniversary, the solemn Eucharist on Sunday, February 24 at noon will be presided over by Bishop Szymon Stułkowski, Ordinary Bishop of the Diocese of Płock, with musical accompaniment by the Pueri et Puellae Cantores Plocenses choir.
On February 22-26, the parish of St. St. John the Apostle and Evangelist in Poznań will hold a Lenten retreat under the theme of God’s Mercy Rescuing the World. It will be led by Sr. Maria Vianneya Dąbrowska and Sr. Maria Faustyna Ciborowska from the community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki.
On 24-26 February, Sister Faustia and Sister Inga from the D.C. Community of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy will deliver a Lenten retreat at the parish of St. Anne in Richmond.
The leaders and participants of the retreat will seek to answer the question of what God expects of us today in light of the message of His mercy as recorded in the Diary of St. Faustina. The preaching will include proclamation of the message of Mercy at every Sunday Mass, meetings with children and youth and adult parishioners, in addition to conferences about what Jesus desires of us, the mercy of the Holy Sacraments and the role of silence in spiritual life.
Regular Mass for the Faustinum Apostles of Divine Mercy Association is celebrated every fourth Friday of the month at the Diocesan Shrine of Divine Mercy in Košice-KVP, Slovakia. This month, it will be celebrated on February 24th at 3:20x pm directly after praying the Hour of Mercy and the Divine Mercy Chaplet together. The main celebrant will be Fr. Radoslav Gönci.
Regular monthly Masses for the intentions of the Faustinum in Slovakia have been celebrated since 2006.
On February 22 at 5 pm, at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, Holy Mass will be celebrated at the Image of Divine Mercy and the tomb of St. Faustina, for the intentions of all benefactors and donors who support the media apostolic works of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy: Chaplet for the Dying, online broadcasting from the Łagiewniki Shrine, and the website: faustyna.pl available in several languages. Live stream from the service will be available at Faustyna.pl, our Faustyna.pl YouTube channel and in the Faustina.pl mobile application.
On February 22, Ash Wednesday, we will enter the time of Lent. On that day, during Holy Mass, the priests sprinkle the faithful with ash as a sign of penitence. The ash comes from the “palms” which had been blessed on Palm Sunday and now burnt). While sprinkling ash on the heads of the faithful, the priests say to them: „Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”. These words reminds us about the fragility of human life, the need to believe in the Gospel and to repent in order to reach eternal life. On Ash Wednesday, those above 14 years old should abstain from meat and fast, which implies eating no more than three times a day, including one full meal. Solemn fasting should be observed by those under the age of 60. Holy Mass at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki’s chapel with the Divine Mercy Image and the tomb of St. Faustina will be celebrated at 6:30 am, 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, and in the basilica they will be celebrated as on every Sunday. The beginning of Lent is intended to help in self-reflection, repentance, developing one’s mercy imagination and good preparation for Easter.
“In the evening, when I was in my cell I saw he Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment”, St. Faustina wrote in her Diary. “One hand was raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale. In silence I kept my gaze fixed on the Lord; my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy. After a while, Jesus said to me: ‘Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world’” (Diary, 47). The event took place in St. Faustina’s cell at the Plock convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in the Old Market on February 22, 1931. The first Divine Mercy image was painted in Vilnius in 1934 under the guidance of Sister Faustina herself in the studio of Eugeniusz Kazimirowski and exposed for public veneration for the first time at the Gate of Dawn in 1935. Since then, a number of images have been created. The miracle-famous Divine Mercy image by Adolf Hyła, found in the convent chapel of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at the Shrine of Divine Mercy is the best known one. The painting was created under the guidance of the Mercy apostle’s Krakow spiritual director, Fr. Józef Andrasz, S.J., who dedicated it on the Feast of Mercy, April 16, 1944. It was this image that fulfilled the words of Jesus spoken to St. Faustina at the first revelation: I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world. Not only pilgrims from around the world who physically arrive at this holy place can pray in front of this image, but also online visitors viewing our live broadcasts and the high quality presentation of the image at www.saint-faustina.org.
You can download a file “Jesus’ message of Mercy” at www.saint-faustyna.org for the non-commercial spread of the message of Mercy, which St. Faustina provided us with in her Diary. It contains the most important words of Jesus recorded by the Apostle of Divine Mercy. The pdf file has been translated into 16 languages. In 2022, it was shared 1202 times. The Spanish version was downloaded by the most 523 people, Polish by 100, English by 167, French by 140, Italian by 93 and German by 56.