A Friend in Faustina, Week by Week

Walk with St. Faustina through the year, guided by weekly meditations written by popular author and EWTN TV host Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, in 52 Weeks with Saint Faustina: A Year of Grace and Mercy, new from Marian Press. Here Donna-Marie talks about the writing process for the book and what she hopes readers can gain from praying with St. Faustina.

What was your inspiration for the book? Can you share a little bit about your journey with St. Faustina prior to the book and while writing it?

I have long loved St. Faustina and have been devoted to Divine Mercy. I felt a strong inspiration at Adoration and again at Holy Mass that I should write a book about St. Faustina and Divine Mercy. Shortly thereafter, after giving a talk at a conference, I was approached by a gentleman from Marian Press who just happened to ask if I would consider writing a book on St. Faustina!

I kept a relic of St. Faustina in my pocket or nearby throughout the entire writing of the book. I prayed deeply and asked for her help and intercession. Also, in the fall of 2017, I led a pilgrimage to Poland. It was a spiritually enriching time to be near St. Faustina's relics, her childhood home, her convent, and her parish church. Walking in her footsteps certainly touched my Polish heart. I prayed for the readers of this book as I wrote it. Sometimes, it was amid unexpected tears and always feeling a great appreciation to our Lord for the humbling blessing of writing this book.

As for my "journey with St. Faustina," I think the reader might enjoy the preface and afterword of the book in which I share some personal sentiments and observations in the writing of the book. For now, I will say that there is no such thing as a coincidence! That I know for sure.

What guided your selection of Diary passages and themes for the weeks? How personal were the choices you made on what to emphasize, and how much of it came from your knowledge of spiritual theology?

I believe that it was God's wonderful Providence that helped me to choose the appropriate themes for this book. I prayed much, sought St. Faustina's help, and strove to cover topics that I believed would enrich the reader's spiritual life and growth in holiness. Thankfully, since the book is composed of 52 weeks of reflection, I was afforded 52 opportunities to tell about this humble mystic's experiences and great love for our Lord. It was quite an incredible journey in writing about Jesus' chosen soul.

As for how personal were my choices on what to emphasize, and what came from my own knowledge of theology, after choosing topics, I simply wove in the wisdom that I had learned along the years - some of which came from another canonized saint, Mother Teresa, and another whom I consider to be a saint, Fr. John Hardon, SJ, whose cause for canonization has opened. As well, all throughout 52 Weeks with Saint Faustina, I have included teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church because I like to place Church teaching at the reader's fingertips.

Does someone have to start the book in January in order to use it properly?
This is definitely not a book that specifically begins in January. It is a book that can be picked up at any time of the year to make a spiritual pilgrimage along with St. Faustina.

My suggestion with this book is to start at the very beginning and read straight through, week-by-week. This way you can learn about St. Faustina in chronological order. The reader will have a whole week to digest and savor each reflection, as well as to pray the suggested prayer each day of that week. But, of course, I want readers to read the book whatever way they feel is best. A particular reflection may be calling to them.

What do you hope your readers get out of the book?

I hope and pray that the reader will become steeped in St. Faustina, observe that she was once a simple, uneducated farm girl, and learn the deep truths of Divine Mercy. As a child, Helen [St. Faustina] was always obedient and strove to get closer to God. She had to overcome many obstacles during her life, but with God's help, she continued to walk in faith, even through "dark nights," and became the great saint that she is now. It is the same for us. We are all called to holiness!

I pray that the reader will become deeply inspired to spread the message of Divine Mercy. As I stated in my book, Pope John Paul II said he wanted the Divine Mercy message to radiate from Poland all over the world so that Jesus' promise would be fulfilled. The "spark" that would issue from this place would prepare the world for His final coming. He added:

This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God, the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness! I entrust this task to you, dear Brothers and Sisters .... May you be witnesses to mercy!

I hope and pray that we will all heed St. John Paul II's words and allow the grace of God to light a huge spark in our hearts. We need to pray for the graces in order to pass on the fire to enlighten our darkened world to God's unfathomable mercy! We can call upon St. Faustina for intercession! She said, "I feel certain that my mission will not come to an end upon my death, but will begin" (Diary, 281). With God's help, and St. Faustina's intercession, may we be tireless witnesses to His mercy!

- Melanie Williams

Visit ShopMercy.org or call 1-800-462-7426 to order 52 Weeks with Saint Faustina: A Year of Grace and Mercy today (Product Code FM-WEEKS).

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