Photo: Felix Carroll
Devoted to Divine Mercy (And Not in Name Only)
While visiting the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in July, Whitney Pencina of Brighton, Mass., joined the Shrine's musical group, playing flute during Mass. Whitney is a substitute player for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which plays throughout the summer at Tanglewood, the famous performance center a few miles down the road from the Shrine. Below, Whitney shares how the message of Divine Mercy has changed her life.
After several years of discernment, Whitney Pencina joined the Catholic Church in 2003. Why?
"The man who became my husband — it's his fault," says Whitney, with a laugh.
His name is Michael. He's a native of Poland. The two met at Boston University in an ecumenical group. She was raised Protestant. He was raised Catholic.
"Every time the two of us would meet, we'd talk about the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism," says Whitney.
One day, Michael explained to Whitney what he considered was the main difference between the two forms of Christianity — that Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and Protestants generally do not.
"So I started to think that either the Catholics have had it wrong for 2,000 years, or I've been really missing something," says Whitney. "And over the course of the next year, I believed I was missing something: a deeper understanding of Christ and His Church."
So, after studying the faith, she joined the Catholic Church. When it came time for her to choose a Confirmation name, she picked "Faustina," after St. Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy.
There were several reasons why.
One is because St. Faustina was Polish.
"Since my husband had been so instrumental in my understanding of the fullness of the Catholic faith, I wanted to honor him by picking a Polish saint," says Whitney.
The second reason is because Whitney was drawn by the fact that St. Faustina did not live so long ago. The revelations Jesus gave to St. Faustina were a mere 70 years ago — a sign that Jesus is still very much with us and cares about our salvation.
"This message of Divine Mercy is for everyone, today — for the whole world," says Whitney
The third reason is because of the simple words Christ gave to St. Faustina: "Jesus, I trust in You."
"The words are simple, yet they're so profound," says Whitney.
"Whenever I've put my trust in Jesus, whenever I've ever turned the big choices in my life over to Him, I've been able to see Him work. Trusting Him is the key.
"I can say that my life looks so different now than I would have ever imagined it looking years ago because I've trusted in Him," she says. "It looks better than I would ever have imagined!"