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Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska

The Book That Sparked the Divine Mercy Movement

The Diary chronicles God's message given through St. Faustina to the world to turn to His mercy. In it, we are reminded to trust the Divine Mercy in Jesus and seek His forgiveness. And as Christ is merciful, so, too, are we instructed to be merciful to others. The message of Divine Mercy has become an integral part of Catholic faith, including the celebration of the Feast of Divine Mercy on the Sunday after Easter.

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Photo: Felix Carroll/Terry Peloquin

A 'Mercy' Cure for Smoking?

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Machel Carol Pettingill used the Diary of St. Faustina to help her kick a decades-long cigarette habit. That was five years ago. Today, when temptation strikes, she doesn’t light up. She alights to the Diary. She said, “It helps me every time.”

by Machel Carol Pettingill

I had been a longtime smoker. In fact, for 39 years, I smoked cigarettes. The habit began to bother me. I knew that for health reasons I should quit, but there were also other considerations. I felt the money I spent on cigarettes could be used for something better, so I became one of the Marian Fathers' Friend of Mercy.

I was raised a Presbyterian. I always wanted to be a Catholic, though, and I am now in the process of converting. Through a divine chain of events, I was led to the Diary of St. Faustina. I bought the Diary at a garage sale, but I didn't read it until I started to quit smoking.

It's difficult for me to put into words why I was drawn to this book. I guess it was St. Faustina's picture on the cover. After I decided to quit smoking, I went "cold turkey." Whenever I had a craving for a smoke, I'd turn to Diary passage 1560 where Jesus gave St. Faustina five directives that I adapted to my own situation, and it helped me stay the course.

I could relate well to the writing, particularly the struggles of St. Faustina. The Diary became my refuge, "my deep, dark place of withdrawal" where I could find St. Faustina and Jesus, consoling me and giving me strength.

Smoking was an addiction. Addictions don't make sense. You know it's wrong, but you can't stop. You also lose your sense of objectivity. You make excuses for your behavior, and that enables you to continue even when you know you shouldn't.

I quit smoking because I wanted to be accountable for my actions. Prior to discovering the Diary, nothing helped keep me from lighting up — not my husband, not my children. Only Jesus and St. Faustina were able to help. Once I had them in my life, I didn't want to let them down.

I quit smoking March 5, 2003, on the first day of Lent. I still desire a cigarette now and then, and I suppose I'll have cravings for a long time. When that happens, I read the Diary, and it helps me every time. I know that I only accomplished this through the mercy bestowed by Jesus through St. Faustina when He gave her the privilege to distribute these graces.

One day, I was struggling with my desire for a cigarette. My resistance to the temptation was fading. I began praying to St. Faustina. As I was walking to work, I felt a veil dropping down around me. I knew it was St. Faustina helping me. You can imagine the comfort and joy I felt.

God is calling me to the Catholic Church. I have had an attraction to Catholicism for some time, but that, too, I resisted. The beauty of the Sacraments attracts me, especially the Holy Eucharist.

In gratitude, I pray for every smoker I see and ask St. Faustina's intercession on their behalf. They belong to the Future Converted Smokers of America!

I hope everyone will spend time with the Diary. It is a book that can change your life.

Machel Carol Pettingill lives in Metairie, La.

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MARIA C. — Feb 7, 2013 - 11:02 EST

Best of luck to you, Machel. I will continue to pray for you along with my prayer group for continued success in your desire to quit smoking and in becoming a Catholic. Welcome home.....JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU. ST. FAUSTINA, PRAY FOR US.. BLESSED JOHN PAUL II, INTERCEDE FOR US ALL.AMEN.

Ben F. — Feb 9, 2013 - 7:46 EST

I also quit my addiction through the grace of Jesus and Saint Faustina. Aided by the Sacrament of Penance the grace was immediate. Go to confession as soon as you can! It works!

Kelly — Feb 10, 2013 - 9:08 EST

I'm preparing for Consecrated Single Life after Easter this year. At Eucharistic Adoration last week I offered up quitting smoking as an "engagement" gift for Jesus (this bad habit is an old vestige from a former way of life). I begin Ash Wednesday (my 10th since converting in 2003) and I was thinking this morning what a task this will be! I logged on for an entirely different reason and this article was a feature on the main web page. I just looked up passage 1560! Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. This will help me in those dark moments and I plan to speak/confess immediately to my confessor on Monday.
I offer up my prayers at daily mass for "All who are preparing for the Sacraments of Initiation..." Machel,I will keep you in my prayers also. Blessings in Christ!

Machel — Feb 15, 2013 - 16:46 EST

I was on the web site for other reasons today and your story popped up. And yes I am a smoker myself sick to my stomach of the smell and also feel the money could be used for something better.
After reading your story I picked up St Faustina's Diary and to read Passage 1560.... Unreal... one of my goals for Lent was to read St Faustina's Diary.
Please pray for me as I pray for you and may we both succeed by the grace of God and St. Faustina to overcome our temptations of this bad habit.
God Bless


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