Divine Mercy

The Divine Mercy of Jesus

The original image (circa 1934) painted according to the apparitions of Kowalska by Eugene Kazimierowski. Oil on canvas. Now permanently enshrined at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary of Vilnius, Lithuania.
Location Krakow, Poland
Vilnius, Lithuania
Date 1930s
Witness Saint Faustina Kowalska
Eugene Kazimierowski
Type Christological apparition
Holy See approval Pope John Paul II
Shrine Minor Basilica and Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy

The Divine Mercy of Jesus, also known as the Divine Mercy, is a Roman Catholic devotion to Jesus Christ associated with the reputed apparitions of Jesus revealed to Saint Faustina Kowalska. The Roman Catholic devotion and venerated image under this Christological title refers to the unlimited merciful love of God towards all people.[1][2] Sister Kowalska was granted the title "Secretary of Mercy" by the Holy See in the Jubilee Year of 2000.[3][4][5]

Sister Faustina Kowalska reported a number of apparitions during religious ecstasy which she wrote in her diary, later published as the book Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul.[4][5] The three main themes of the devotion are to ask for and obtain the mercy of God, to trust in Christ's abundant mercy, and finally to show mercy to others and act as a conduit for God's mercy towards them.[4][6]

Pope John Paul II, a native of Poland, had great affinity towards this devotion and authorized it in the Liturgical Calendar of the church. The liturgical feast of the Divine Mercy is celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Some members of the Anglican Communion also share its pious beliefs and devotions in an effort towards church renewal.[7]


The primary focus of the Divine Mercy devotion is the merciful love of God and the desire to let that love and mercy flow through one's own heart towards those in need of it.[1] As he dedicated the Shrine of Divine Mercy, Pope John Paul II referred to this when he said: "Apart from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind".[8]

The resting place of Faustina, now a permanent chapel within the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Kraków, Poland

There are five main forms of this devotion:

  1. The Divine Mercy image with the specific inscription Jesus, I trust in you;[5]
  2. The commemoration of the Feast of the Divine Mercy Sunday[9]
  3. The recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  4. The designation of the Hour of Mercy at 3:00 am or pm
  5. The spreading of acts of mercy to the whole humanity, in preparation for the return of Jesus Christ to earth
Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God.
— Words attributed to Jesus by Faustina in her diary.[10][11]

As in the prayers that form the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, there are three main themes to the Divine Mercy devotion: to ask for and obtain the mercy of God, to trust in Christ's abundant mercy, and finally to show mercy to others and act as a conduit for God's mercy towards them.[4][6]

The first and second elements relate to the signature "Jesus I trust in You" on the Divine Mercy image and Faustina stated that on April 28, 1935, the day the first Divine Mercy Sunday was celebrated, Jesus told her: "Every soul believing and trusting in My Mercy will obtain it."[12]

The third component is reflected in the statement "Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners" attributed to Jesus in Faustina's diary (Notebook I, items 186-187).[13] This statement is followed in the diary by a specific short prayer: "O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You." which Faustina also recommended for the Hour of Divine Mercy.[13][14] In her diary (Notebook II, item 742) Faustina wrote that Jesus told her: "I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me." and that he explained that there are three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first-by deed, the second-by word, the third-by prayer.[10]

The Divine Mercy devotion views mercy as the key element in the plan of God for salvation and emphasizes the belief that it was through mercy that God gave his only son for the redemption of mankind, after the fall of Adam.[15] The opening prayer for Divine Mercy Sunday Mass refers to this and begins: "Heavenly Father and God of Mercy, We no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for He is alive and has become the Lord of Life".[15]


The Feast of the Divine Mercy Sunday on 1 May 2011 in Rome. During the Beatification of Pope John Paul II.[16][17]
Main article: Divine Mercy image
Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You… I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.[18]

The chaplet is associated with the paintings of the image as in Faustina's diary. The most widely used is an image painted by Adolf Hyla. Hyla painted the image in thanksgiving for having survived World War II.

In the image, Jesus stands with one hand outstretched in blessing, the other clutching the side wounded by the spear, from which proceed beams of falling light, coloured red and white. An explanation of these colors was given to Saint Faustina by Jesus himself saying, "The two rays represent blood and water".[19] These colors of the rays refer to the "blood and water'" of the Gospel of John (John 19:34) which are also mentioned in the optional prayer of the Chaplet. The words “Jesus I Trust in Thee” usually accompany the image (Jezu Ufam Tobie in Polish).

The original Divine Mercy image was painted by Eugene Kazimierowski in Vilnius, Lithuania, under St. Faustina's direction. However, according to her diary, she cried upon seeing that the finished picture was not as beautiful as the vision she had received, but Jesus comforted her saying, "Not in the beauty of the colour, nor of the brush is the greatness of this image, but in My grace".[18] The picture was widely used during the early years of the devotion, and is still in circulation within the movement, but the Hyla image remains one of the most reproduced renderings.[5] After the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on 30 April 2000[20] new versions of the image have emerged from a new generation of Catholic artists.

Daily devotions

In her diary Faustina wrote that Jesus specified 3.00 pm each day as the hour at which mercy was best received, and asked her to pray the Chaplet of Mercy and venerate the Divine Mercy image at that hour.[21][22] On October 10, 1937, in her diary (Notebook V, item 1320) Faustina attributed the following statement to Jesus:

As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it, invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners, for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul.


Three time of 3.00 pm corresponds to the hour at which Jesus died on the cross.[22] This hour is called the "hour of Divine Mercy" or the "hour of great mercy".[21]

Feast day

Main article: Divine Mercy Sunday

The feast of Divine Mercy Sunday was instituted by Pope John Paul II and is celebrated the Sunday after Easter on the General Roman Calendar, and is associated with specific indulgences.[4][9][24]

In an entry in her diary, Faustina stated that anyone who participates in the Mass and receives the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of full remission of their sins and punishments.[9][25]

Churches and shrines

The main sanctuary of Divine Mercy is Kraków-Łagiewniki.

A number of Marian churches and shrines have been dedicated to Divine Mercy. One of the most important is the Gate of Dawn in Vilnius, when also the Divine Mercy image was exhibited for the first time.

The worldwide center of the devotion is Divine Mercy Sanctuary (Kraków), commonly known as Łagiewniki. This is the resting place of saint Faustina Kowalska and it houses the most popular version of the Divine Mercy image (by Adolf Hyła).

The Divine Mercy Sanctuary (Vilnius) houses Eugeniusz Kazimirowski's initial rendition.

The Divine Mercy Sanctuary (Płock) is the place where Saint Faustina had the first vision of the Divine Mercy image. The Divine Mercy Sanctuary (Białystok) has the remains of blessed Michał Sopoćko, the spiritual director of saint Faustina Kowalska and the Apostle of Divine Mercy. Głogowiec, Łęczyca County as well as nearby Świnice Warckie (central Poland) are the places of birth and childhood as well as baptism and first communion of saint Faustina Kowalska.

The church of Santo Spirito in Sassia is the main center of the Divine Mercy in Rome. The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts is managed by the Marian Fathers.[26]

The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Marilao, Bulacan is the major church dedicated to Divine Mercy in the Philippines.[27] The Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador City, Philippines, has a 50-foot (15-meters) statue of Merciful Jesus.

The Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy was located in Mandaluyong City, Philippines, while the Divine Mercy Chapel was located in Las Pinas, Philippines.

Orders and institutions

A number of Christian orders and institutions are devoted to the Divine Mercy. The John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy is managed by the Congregation of Marian Fathers, which takes an active role in promoting the Divine Mercy message.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, to which saint Faustina Kowalska belonged, and the Congregation of Sisters of Merciful Jesus, established by blessed Michał Sopoćko on the request of Jesus given to Faustina, have also very important role in spreading the devotion.

Two new religious communities – the Sisters of Jesus’ Merciful Passion and the Littlest Sons of the Sweetest Heart of Mary – are being raised up in Michigan through the Servants of Jesus of The Divine Mercy, a lay association of the Christian faithful that has grown under the guidance of Archbishop Allen Vigneron.

The World Apostolic Congress on Mercy takes place every third year in various cities of the world.[10][28][29] Continental congresses on mercy also take place.[30]

See also


  1. 1 2 Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 0-87973-910-X page 175
  2. "Loving Mercy". Sed Contra. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  3. (The Diaries of Saint Faustina Kowalska: Diary 965, 1160, 1605, 1693)
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Saints of the Jubilee by Tim Drake 2002 ISBN 978-1-4033-1009-5 pages 85-95
  5. 1 2 3 4 Butler's lives of the saints: the third millennium by Paul Burns, Alban Butler 2001 ISBN 978-0-86012-383-5 page 252
  6. 1 2 EWTN on the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  7. Divine Mercy Society.
  8. Vatican website dedication of the Shrine of Divine Mercy, August 2002
  9. 1 2 3 A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 187-190
  10. 1 2 3 Mercies Remembered by Matthew R Mauriello 2011 ISBN 1-61215-005-5 page 149-160
  11. Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul by Faustina Kowalska 2003 ISBN 1-59614-110-7 Notebok 1, item 301
  12. Catherine M. Odell, 1998, Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy OSV Press ISBN 978-0-87973-923-2 page 105
  13. 1 2 A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 137-140
  14. Mercies Remembered by Matthew R Mauriello 2011 ISBN 1-61215-005-5 page 326
  15. 1 2 A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 58-59
  16. CNS News May 2, 2011
  17. Daily Telegraph May 1, 2011
  18. 1 2 The One True Image
  19. Canonization Homily of Pope John Paul II
  20. 1 2 Catherine M. Odell, 1998, Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy OSV Press ISBN 978-0-87973-923-2 page 137
  21. 1 2 15 Days of Prayer with Saint Faustina Kowalska by John J. Cleary 2010 ISBN 1-56548-350-2 page 75
  22. EWTN on the Hour of Mercy
  23. Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Divine Mercy Indulgences, 29 June 2002, at the Vatican web site
  24. EWTN on the Divine Mercy Novena
  25. National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. Retrieved on March 30, 2016.
  26. Zenit April 2, 2008
  27. Catholic News Service, April 3, 2008
  28. Asian Apostolic Congress on Mercy

Further reading

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