On April 18, 1993 (Divine Mercy Sunday), Sister Faustina was beatified in Rome by Pope John Paul II,
and then canonized by him on April 30, 2000 (also Divine Mercy Sunday), so now she is Saint Faustina Kowalska. Her feast day is October 5.
The Holy Father said in his homily at the canonization,
“It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter,
which from now on throughout the Church will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’ ”
(quotation from L’Osservatore Romano).
Saint Faustina was born on August 25, 1905 in the village of Glogowiec, Poland of a poor
and religious family, the third of ten children.
She was baptized with the name Helena in the parish Church of –winice Warckie.
On August 1, 1925, Helena entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our
Lady of Mercy and took the name Sister Mary Faustina. She lived in the
Congregation for thirteen years in religious houses in Cracow, Vilno (now Vilnius), Plock and Warsaw where she worked
as a cook, gardener and gatekeeper. Sister Faustina died on October 5, 1938.
The Images depicted on these pages play a prominent role in the devotion to the
Divine Mercy revealed to Saint Faustina. Beginning on February 22,
1931 in Plock, Poland, she had a vision of Jesus, and wrote this in her diary:
Diary entry, 47:
In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment.
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 entry (a portion of), 50:
+ I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls
of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me. The flames of
mercy are burning Me - clamoring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls.
Diary entry, 299:
When, on one occasion, my confessor told me to ask the Lord Jesus the meaning of the two rays in the image,
I answered, “Very well, I will ask the Lord.”
During prayer I heard these words within me: 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 very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized
Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross.
These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who will dwell
in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him. I desire that
the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy.
Diary entry, 327:
Once, my confessor asked me where the inscription should be placed, because there
was not enough space in the picture for everything. I answered, “I will pray and give you an answer next week.”
When I left the confessional and was passing before the Blessed Sacrament, I received an inner understanding about
the inscription. Jesus reminded me of what He had told me the first time; namely, that these three words must be clearly
in evidence: “Jesus, I trust in You.” [“Jezu Ufam Tobie.”] I understood that Jesus wanted the whole formula to be there,
but He gave no direct orders to this effect as He did for these three words.
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.”
Diary entry, 1588:
Today I heard the words: In
the Old Covenant 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. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to
take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending
the Day of Mercy. I replied, “O my Jesus, speak to souls Yourself,
because my words are insignificant.”
Devotion to Divine Mercy is an on line source for Saint Faustina’s Diary.
The convent on the £agiewniki hill in Cracow was well known to Pope John Paul II.
During the second World War, he passed it everyday on his way to work in the
|Original of Hyla Divine Mercy Image in Cracow-£agiewniki|
On June 7, 1997, the Pope came to the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Cracow-£agiewniki -
as he himself confessed - out of the need of his heart, so as to entrust to the Divine
Mercy the plight of the humankind, the Church and his own pontificate, before the
grace-working image of the Merciful Jesus and the relics of the then Blessed Sr. Faustina.
The following is the the Address Delivered by the Holy
Father John Paul II.
at the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Cracow-£agiewniki on that day.
1. Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo (Ps. 89 , 2).
Here I come to this Sanctuary as a pilgrim, so as to join in the everlasting song in praise of the Divine mercy.
The song in question was first sung by the Lord’s Psalmist who expressed what all the generations preserved and will continue
to preserve as the most precious fruit of faith. There is nothing that man needs more than God’s mercy - that love which is
benovelent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weaknesses to the infinite heights of God’s holiness. It is in
this very place that one becomes aware of this in a special way. For it was from here that there came from the message of the
Divine Mercy which Christ Himself wished to pass on to our generation through the mediation of the Blessed Sr. Faustina. The
message in question is clear and understandable to everyone. Everyone can come here, look at the image of the merciful Christ
and into His Heart beaming with graces, and hear deep in the soul what the Blessed Sr. Faustina had once heard:
Do not fear anything; I am always with you (Diary 613). And if he responds sincerely “Jesus, I Trust in You!”, he will find all
his fears and anxieties assuaged. In this dialogue, a special bond that sets love free is created between man and Christ. There
is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment ( 1 Jn 4, 18).
The Church reads anew the message of mercy, so as to bring more effectively the light of hope to the generation of the
end of the second millenium as well as to the future generations. It never ceases to supplicate God for mercy for every human being.
At no time and in no historical period - especially at a moment as critical as our own - can the Church forget the prayer that is a
cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it (...) The more the human conscience
succumbs to secularization, loses its sense of the very meaning of the word “mercy” - the more the Church has the right and the duty
to appeal to the God of mercy with “loud cries” (DM, 15). This is precisely why, this Sanctuary has found itself on the route of my pilgrimage.
I come here to entrust all the cares of the Church and of the humankind to Merciful Jesus. I come here at the threshold of the third millenium
to once again entrust my Peter's mission to Him - “Jesus I Trust in You!”.
|Pope John Paul II visits Cracow|
The message of the Divine Mercy has always been close to my heart. In a way, history has incorporated it into the tragic
experience of the II World War. In those difficult years, it provided a special kind of support and was an inexhaustible source of
hope not only for the citizens of Cracow, but for the entire nation. It was also my own personal experience which I later took with
me to the Holy See. It is this very experience which is in a way a characteristic feature of this pontificate. I thank the
Divine Providence that I have had the opportunity to contribute personally to the fulfillment of Christ’s will by instituting
the feast of the Divine Mercy. It is right here, next to the relics of the Blessed Sr. Faustina Kowalska that I thank God for the
gift of her beatification. I do not cease in asking God for mercy for us and for the whole world (Chaplet).
2. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Mt 5, 7).
Dear Sisters! A great task and responsibility rests upon
your shoulders. By choosing the Blessed Faustina from among your ranks, Christ had made your congregation the guardian of this place and
at the same time, He summoned you to a special kind of apostolate to His mercy. I am asking you to undertake this task.
The contemporary man needs your proclamation of mercy; he needs your deeds of mercy and he needs your prayer for mercy.
Please do not neglect any of the above dimensions of your apostolate. Do this in unity with the Archbishop of Cracow
who is so preoccupied with the issue of worship of the Divine Mercy, and unity with the entire community of the Church,
which he is the leader of. Let this common effort bring fruit. Let the Divine Mercy transform human hearts. Let this Sanctuary,
which is already well known in many parts of the world, become a center of the cult of the Divine Mercy emanating with graces to
the entire Church.
Once again, I ask you for prayers in the intention of the Church as well as for support in my mission at the Holy See.
I know that such prayers are continually being said here. For this, I thank you with all my heart. We need these prayers
very much: tertio millennio adveniente. I bless with all my heart all of you who are present here as well as all the worshippers of
the Divine Mercy.
| Unrestored Vilnius Image |
In 1934 the original Divine Mercy Image was painted under the direction of Sister Faustina,
in Vilnius, Lithuania, then a part of Poland. A Polish artist, Eugene Kazimirowski painted the image. It is known as the Vilnius Image,
named after the town where it was painted and first hung for public display. The Vilnius Image may be regarded as the prototype Divine Mercy Image.
The original of this Image became damaged during World War II.
In June 2003, a restoration of the
Image was completed under the direction of the Archbishop of Vilnius.
The signature, “Jesus, I Trust In You,” (or in Polish, “Jezu Ufam Tobie”) which the Lord told Faustina
that He wanted on the Image, was not on the original Image.
A restored version of the Vilnius Divine Mercy Image is included as the last page of this web site.
In 1943 Adolf Hyla painted what was to become known as the Hyla Divine Mercy Image.
The artist presented it to the convent chapel in Cracow-£agiewniki
as an offering for his family having survived World War II. The Image included at the beginning of this web site is the Hyla Image as is the one shown in Cracow-£agiewniki.
More recently a popular version of the Hyla Image was painted by artist Kathleen Weber and is shown on the next to last page of this web site.
Another artist, Robert Skemp has painted the Skemp Image.
The important thing to remember is summarized in Saint Faustina’s Dairy.
Diary entry, 313:
+ Once, when I was visiting the artist [Eugene Kazimirowski] who was painting the image, and saw that it was not as beautiful as Jesus is,
I felt very sad about it, but I hid this deep in my heart. When we had left the artist's house, Mother Superior [Irene] stayed in town to attend to some matters
while I returned home alone. I went immediately to the chapel and wept a good deal. I said to the Lord, “Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?” Then I heard these words:
Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace.
Diary entry (a portion of), 570:
.... Your assignment and duty here on earth is to beg for mercy for the whole world.
No soul will be justified until it turns with confidence to My mercy, and this is why the first Sunday after Easter is to be the Feast of Mercy. On that day,
priests are to tell everyone about My great and unfathomable mercy. I am making you the administrator of My mercy. Tell the confessor that the Image is to be
on view in the church and not within the enclosure in that convent. By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul have access to it.