Saint Faustina & Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko
Saint Faustina was asked by Merciful Jesus to found a new religious order of sisters and brothers to give their lives interceding for mercy for the world and to do works of mercy in His name. As part of this intercession, Jesus would grant mercy for sinners and people who had lost the faith would be brought back to Him through this great work of intercession which would help save many souls.
With the help of her Spiritual Director, Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko, these new congregations were founded in Vilnius and flourish today interceding for the world and working in His name.
Saint Faustina was also asked by Jesus to find people who would become lay disciples in this important work and be part of these congregations in their own area. (Diary 1156).
TThese Disciples would be a movement inspired by the spirituality of Saint Faustina and Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko in doing the work of spreading His Divine Mercy message of seeking intercession for the world through our deeds, words and prayers.
Tell the Whole World
Jesus established the Feast of Mercy and the new devotion to His Divine Mercy because He greatly desires to save every soul (Diary1182). One of the purposes of this new devotion was to tell the world, through Saint Faustina, that the Day of Divine Justice was near. He told Saint Faustina, “Write down these words, My daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them” (Diary 848).
Commitments of Disciples
Spreading the Divine Mercy Devotion in one’s own environment especially with the message given to Saint Faustina and Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko for the world.
Daily prayer of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Fr. Sopocko & Sisters of Merciful Jesus
Fr. Michael Sopocko was in fact the first person to make the message of Divine Mercy known to the world on 26th April 1935. It was he who kept the promise to have the first image painted and he commissioned the artist and paid for the painting out of his own pocket. It was he who paid for and had the first leaflets printed, including The Chaplet, all of which he did, where it all happened, in his own country, Lithuania.
Commitments to Disciples
You will partake in the spiritual treasury of prayers and works of the Brothers and Sisters of Merciful Jesus in their daily lives and also in their offering of the daily Adoration of The Eucharist.
Diary Passages about Congregation
June 29, 1935 - When I talked to my Spiritual Director [Father Sopocko] about various things that the Lord was asking of me, I thought he would tell me that I was incapable of accomplishing all those things and that the Lord Jesus did not use miserable souls like me for the works He wanted done (Diary 436).
Tasks of the Disciples
Jesus asked for disciples to carry out this work of Mercy in deed, word and prayer. Disciples must take part in all three activities and in spreading the word by making the message available to others in written form.
Deed, Word and Prayer
To promote Devotion to Divine Mercy in word is to spread the Message as we have discovered in the writings of Saint Faustina. In order to do this, each disciple should have a thorough knowledge of God’s Message and know fully what they are promoting.
Pope John Paul II
The Great Mercy Pope
Pope John Paul II, both in his teaching and personal life, strove to live and teach the message of Divine Mercy. As the great Mercy Pope, he wrote an encyclical on Divine Mercy:
"The Message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me… which I took with me to the See of Peter and which, in a sense, forms the image of this Pontificate."
In his writings and homilies, he has described Divine Mercy as the answer to the world’s problems and the message of the third millennium. He beatified and canonized Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska, the nun associated with the message, and he did it in Rome, and not in Poland, to underscore that Divine Mercy is for the whole world.
Establishing Divine Mercy Sunday for the Entire Church
When Pope John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina (making her Saint Faustina), he also, on the same day, surprised the entire world by establishing Divine Mercy Sunday (the feast day associated with the message) as a feast day for the entire Church. The Feast Day falls on the Second Sunday of the Easter Season. On that day, Pope John Paul II declared, "This is the happiest day of my life".
Entrusting the World to Divine Mercy
In 2002, Pope John Paul II entrusted the whole world to Divine Mercy when he consecrated the International Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, a suburb of Krakow in Poland. This is where Saint Faustina’s mortal remains are entombed. The Saint lived in a convent nearby. The Pope himself remembers as a young man working in the Solvay Quarry, just a few meters from the present-day Shrine. He also says that he had been thinking about Sr. Faustina for a long time when he wrote his encyclical on Divine Mercy. Further, the Holy Father has frequently quoted from the Diary of Saint Faustina and has prayed The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy at the Saint’s tomb.
Beyond the Life of John Paul II
Given all these connections to Divine Mercy and Saint Faustina, is it any wonder that Pope John Paul II died on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday (the evening before the Feast Day), which fell that year on April 3. It is also no surprise that the Great Mercy Pope left us a message for Divine Mercy Sunday, which was read on the Feast Day by a Vatican official to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square after a Mass that had been celebrated for the repose of the soul of the Pope.
Repeatedly Pope John Paul II has written and spoken about the need for us to turn to the mercy of God as the answer to the specific problems of our times. He has placed a strong and significant focus on The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion throughout his pontificate that will carry the Church long after his death.