Photo: Felix Carroll
Mary Patten, left, and Lorraine Romano visit the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy annually for spiritual rejuvenation.
'God Honors These Things When You Are Faithful'
Thousands of pilgrims visit the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Mass., each year. Who are they, and what draws them here? Meet longtime friends Mary Patten and Lorraine Romano, both from Long Island, N.Y., who have been making a pilgrimage to Eden hill once a year for 10 years or more:
Lorraine: We come up here to feel God's mercy, to get away from the hustle and bustle and spend quiet time with God. We go to Mass. We spend a lot of time praying. We spend time with the Blessed Sacrament. We kiss St. Faustina's relic.
Mary: I come up here because I just want take the time to thank God for His incredible mercy that none of us will be able to fully understand. Divine Mercy is very important to us. I think the thing that touches me most is, in reading the Diary of St. Faustina, she writes that while a person is dying, the Lord calls that person three times. No soul will be lost if they come to Him at that hour. When I read that, it made me feel so wonderful, knowing that the Lord is calling us, up to the moment when we breathe our last. I always pray to Jesus that I will be there for certain people, especially loved ones. I was there in time to get a priest for my brother on the day he died. Same thing with my mother. Same thing with my husband. I was able to say the Chaplet and have a priest come. Jesus told St. Faustina: "Write that when they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just judge but as the merciful Savior" (Diary, 1541). I just feel that God honors these things when you are faithful. I've seen it work with so many people. I've seen people on their deathbed, and they're very anxious, very afraid, and when that Chaplet is being prayed, a certain peace comes over them. It's just incredible. It's miraculous, is what it is.
Lorraine: I found out about Divine Mercy in the 1980s. A woman I know gave me a copy of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, and at first I said, "Oh, I have so many prayers. I don't need another one." I had a religious store at the time. But eventually, I learned about Divine Mercy. Pretty soon when people would come in and tell me they had some kind of problem or another, I would say to them, "Pray the Chaplet. Pray the Chaplet," because I believe in it so much. And they started to pray the Chaplet, and it would really help them.
Mary: I just wish everybody could know about Divine Mercy. This is the last gift for us, I believe. The fact that our Lord came in the 1930s to St. Faustina — this is His final act of love for us. His mercy is out there, if only we would grab a hold of it. My favorite holy day is Divine Mercy Sunday — to know that if you do everything right on Divine Mercy Sunday, all your sins are wiped clean. Everyone should avail themselves to this gift.
Lorraine: Really, we come here in gratitude because I don't know where we'd be without the mercy of Jesus. We are living in terrible times, and the world needs it.