From darkness into light, through Divine Mercy

It was such a revelation. It was such a light. I couldn’t wait for the next "Explaining the Faith" talk. I was hooked.

By Marian Friedrichs

In the Divine Mercy Image, Jesus steps out of a shadowy background. The rays of mercy stream from His breast to push the darkness aside, illuminating the distance between Him and the viewer. His feet are moving forward, and His hands — one touching the spot of light above His heart from which the rays come, the other raised upward — beckon and bless.

The Image itself seems to say, “Come to Me.”

These merciful rays fell upon Patricia Katz unexpectedly, while she was browsing the shelves of a Catholic bookstore in Dallas, Texas, in 2019. As 3 p.m., the Hour of Mercy, approached, an employee told Patricia that the entire staff would soon step away from their work to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet together. Patricia was welcome to join them.

Surprised, Patricia accepted the invitation and prayed the Chaplet for the first time in her life.

She “had been away from the faith for a long time” but frequently sought out Catholic bookstores, hoping to find something that could light her way back to the Church.

Patricia was born and raised in Morocco in the middle of the 20th century, when children “didn’t ask questions” about the faith. Not feeling free to seek answers or clarification, Patricia practiced Catholicism in the semi-darkness of partial understanding and misunderstanding.

When Patricia and her husband, a doctor, married in France in 1973 and moved to the United States, they were both still practicing Catholics. Patricia’s husband fell away from the practice of the faith, but their son attended Catholic school, and when he received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation, both parents were in the pew. After their son graduated and left home, Patricia gradually stopped attending Mass as well.

Patricia compares her faith during this time with the low flame in a gas lamp that has been turned down: “very small but still burning.” It was this dim but persistent flame that nudged her through the doors of Catholic bookstores, where Patricia’s mind groped for a light switch that her heart knew was there.

After praying the Chaplet for the first time on that memorable afternoon, Patricia began searching online for more information about the Divine Mercy message and devotion. Her search led her to YouTube videos of Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, explaining the basics of the faith.

“It was such a revelation. It was such a light,” Patricia says. “I couldn’t wait for the next talk. I was hooked.”

When Fr. Chris urged his listeners to pray the Rosary, Patricia decided to follow his lead.

Consoling Confession
As she spent more time in prayer with the Blessed Mother, Patricia “felt the need to go back to Confession.” She begged Mary for courage to return to the Sacrament and for help finding a priest. Our Lady promptly led Patricia to the nearby church of St. Patrick, where she obtained an appointment to make her first Confession in many years to Fr. Adam, who happened to be from Poland. When Patricia mentioned St. Faustina, his eyes lit up.

“It was the most consoling Confession of my life,” she says.

In the Divine Mercy Image, the red and pale rays from Jesus’ Heart represent the Eucharist and Reconciliation, which wash the soul in the Blood of Christ. The graces from these Sacraments and the enlightenment of good religious instruction rekindled the flame of faith in Patricia’s soul. She continues to learn from Fr. Chris and other priests, who have taught her that “no sin can keep us away from God’s mercy, except to refuse His mercy.”

Our Lady's care
Patricia has entrusted her family to the care of the Blessed Mother. Her son and his family live in England now, and Patricia prays for the “saintly protection” of Mary and Joseph to surround them. 

Although Patricia’s husband supports and encourages her faith, he has not returned to religion himself. When he attended a medical conference in Warsaw, however, he lit a candle for his family at the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy’s house in Warsaw called Warsaw Zytnia (the convent where St. Faustina began her religious life in 1925) at his wife’s request.

Patricia is thrilled that he was willing to do this, knowing from her own experience how a tiny flicker can turn into a flood of light.