Sacrifice, Penance, and Her Mission Revealed

The following is an excerpt from the Marian Press book 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle:

“My child, unite yourself closely to Me during the Sacrifice and offer My Blood and My Wounds to My Father in expiation for the sins of that city.” — Jesus to Sr. Faustina (Diary, 39)

In this week’s spiritual exercise, we will discuss Sr. Faustina’s life in her juniorate phase as a consecrated religious, as well as some of the sacrifices she offered to God and the struggles she endured. We will see Faustina’s many moves to various convents and her obedience to whatever it was that our Lord asked of her. Something quite incredible happened to this simple, humble sister. In addition to the personal conversations she had with Jesus and Mary, Jesus appeared to her in her cell one cold February evening in Plock to invite her to become His messenger of Divine Mercy! This was the very beginning of Heaven’s great renewal of Divine Mercy teaching and devotion in the life of the Church. Let’s take a look at what transpired.

At this point, Sr. Faustina was immersed in the juniorate stage of religious life, which began with the profession of vows and lasted for a period of five years. She was fortunate to have stayed in one place during her two-year novitiate, but now she would move around quite a bit. As we can imagine, moving around often to a variety of convents involved different sleeping quarters, changing work responsibilities, and rubbing elbows with new sisters — difficult even for someone in the best of health. Superior General Mother Michael later remarked that Sr. Faustina was needed in various places to replace certain sisters, and was the one sister who would relocate without any fuss. No matter how difficult the multiple changes of residence, Sr. Faustina didn’t complain, especially because she viewed everything that unfolded as God’s holy will for her life.

Among her many changes of residence, Sr. Faustina went from Warsaw to Vilnius, then to Zytnia Street in Warsaw, and on to Grochow, a section of Warsaw. A few weeks later, she’d be off to Kiekrz near Poznan to replace a sick sister there. She always tried to plunge right into the rhythm of the work expected in each new environment. For a few months, Sr. Faustina worked in the kitchen in Kiekrz and then returned to Grochow to be in charge of the garden. She worked with the girls there, as well. This saint in the making must have had a special way with the girls because later on, when the girls heard that Sr. Faustina would be leaving for Warsaw, they threatened to pack up and go with her!

During this period of time, Sr. Faustina was asked by Jesus and Mary to pray for her homeland, Poland. Jesus instructed Faustina to ask her Mother Superior for permission to make a Holy Hour of Adoration daily for nine days — a novena of Adoration. During this time, Sr. Faustina was to unite her prayers with Mother Mary for Poland. Jesus said, “Pray with all your heart in union with Mary, and try also during this time to make the Way of the Cross.” Sister Faustina’s Mother Superior would not give permission for a full hour each day, but rather for the time Faustina had available after her duties were completed.

On the seventh day of the novena, Sr. Faustina had a vision of the Blessed Mother clothed in a bright robe, standing between Heaven and earth. “She was praying with her hands folded on Her bosom,” and she gazed towards Heaven with fiery rays coming from her heart. Some radiated in the direction of Heaven, and some, towards Poland.

On another occasion, Jesus told Sr. Faustina that He would punish the most beautiful city of Poland as He had Sodom and Gomorrah. Sister Faustina shuddered and prayed as she witnessed a vision of God’s great wrath. Shortly after, Jesus requested expiation from Sr. Faustina. “My child, unite yourself closely to Me during the Sacrifice and offer My Blood and My Wounds to My Father in expiation for the sins of that city. Repeat this without interruption throughout the Holy Mass. Do this for seven days” (Diary, 39). Sister Faustina did not need to ask permission from her Mother Superior. She could carry it out at each Holy Mass.

On the seventh day, Sr. Faustina saw Jesus in a bright cloud. She immediately begged Him to look with mercy upon her city and the whole country. She saw Jesus look graciously down. Sister Faustina wrote, “When I saw the kindness of Jesus, I began to beg His blessing.” Immediately, Jesus told her, “For your sake I bless the entire country” (Diary, 39). Jesus made a big Sign of the Cross over Poland. Sister Faustina was filled with immense joy upon seeing her Lord and Savior bless her country.

Sister Faustina Receives a Great Vision and Mission

Sister Faustina returned to Warsaw (much to the dismay of the girls at Grochow who had grown so fond of her). There, Sr. Faustina helped take care of about 200 girls for whom she cooked, as well as for the sisters living there. She again had to make great efforts to keep up with her duties because she again suffered from illness and physical challenges. She also endured painful pinpricks from the sisters who shunned her because of her deep interior life and the ones who thought she was faking her illnesses. Sister Faustina learned from Jesus Himself about the power in offering sacrifices and penances to Him. Fresh on her mind was the joy that filled her heart when she witnessed the huge blessing that Jesus had bestowed upon her country after she had united her prayers to Jesus’ Passion at Holy Mass, as Jesus had instructed. It was through her obedience, her faithful dedication to her work, her intense prayer life, and the sacrifices and challenges she offered up to Heaven that the good Lord was ever transforming Sr. Faustina’s soul to ultimately become more and more like Him — to become united to Him.

In the spring of 1930, Sr. Faustina was sent to the city of Plock to work in the kitchen of the congregation’s Guardian Angel Home. However, it wasn’t long before she was sent to the sisters’ rest home, just a short distance away in Biala. She stayed there a few months before returning to Plock to help in the bakery and store.

It was in Plock that Sr. Faustina would receive her great mission from Heaven through a spectacular vision of Jesus on February 22, 1931. In the evening, in her cell, Sr. Faustina saw Jesus clothed in white with “one hand raised in the gesture of blessing, the other [...] touching the garment at the breast.” Sister Faustina recorded every detail in her Diary. “From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale.” She explained her experience. “In silence I kept my gaze fixed on the Lord; my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy.” Jesus then explained her mission. “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world.” Jesus continued, “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory” (Diary, 47, 48).

We will discuss Sr. Faustina’s role regarding the Divine Mercy message and devotion, as well as the Image more particularly, in greater depth later in the book.

Something to Ponder

Take time throughout the week to ponder your life. Can you make sacrifices and offer penances quietly and lovingly for the benefit of other souls? Can you offer to God the difficulties of your daily life, keeping in mind that you actually work out your salvation through many ordinary duties? Pray for the grace to accept God’s holy will in your life as Sr. Faustina did.

A Merciful Action

Our Lord calls us to serve others in deed, word, and prayer (Diary, 163). Pray and think about the people you come across each day that would benefit from a surprise act of mercy. Do you have a family member going through a hard time? What can you do to show mercy towards them? Is there a homeless person you see around town? Can you offer some soup and bread to them? Could you show God’s mercy in a surprising, holy way to a person who finds fault with you or intimidates you in some way? Can you share your faith with someone this week? Ask St. Faustina to help you.

A PRAYER OF MERCY FOR THIS WEEK

(To be prayed each day this week.)

Dear Merciful Jesus, thank You for choosing St. Faustina to communicate Your great message of Divine Mercy. Please use me to show Your mercy to others in need. Mother Mary, guide me. Saint Faustina, please pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You! Amen.

You can order 52 Weeks with St. Faustina by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle here:

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