Thumbs Up! 'Love and Mercy: Faustina' Receives Rave Reviews

By Marc Massery

In the early 20th century, Jesus appeared to a simple, hardly educated Polish nun named Sr. Faustina in order to reveal to the world a message about His Divine Mercy. On Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, that message made its way to more than 700 movie theaters across the United States. It’s called “Love and Mercy: Faustina,” and it was produced by Kondrat Media, a Polish film studio.

The Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, filled two theaters at the 7 p.m. premiere. Several other theaters across the country reportedly sold out, too. It will play again in theaters nationwide on Dec. 2. (For a complete list of theater locations and to order tickets, visit HERE.) 

So far, moviegoers have good things to report.  

“I had no idea [St. Faustina] was so recent,” said Rondo from Bethesda, Maryland, who saw the film Monday night. “[The Divine Mercy devotion is] very new. I had no idea. And it was very powerful. Very, very powerful. Divine Mercy is very needed today.” Saint Faustina was born in 1905 and died from tuburculosis in 1938. 

“I liked everything about the movie,” said Jean Doak of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, who saw the movie on Monday, too. “I liked it because it was almost a documentary. … I think that made it easier to understand, comprehend, and enjoy."

Our Facebook page, Divine Mercy (official), lit up Monday evening with positive reviews from moviegoers across the country. To share just a few:

Anita Grinis wrote: "Just came back from seeing it. My husband and I enjoyed it very much. A well made film."

Rosario Alarco-Ellerhorst wrote: "Great movie!! I encourage everyone to go see this movie. It’s inspirational and informative. And, if it’s within your means, go visit the shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusetts."

Regina Wilkes wrote: "Great movie!!! Thank you so much for the movie! Jesus, I trust in You …" 

Gerrie Wisniewski wrote: "Excellent movie. Saw it today. The power of miracles evident throughout!!!!"

The movie weaves dramatizations of the life of St. Faustina, played by Polish actress Kamila Kaminska, with commentary from Divine Mercy experts who filled in the details. The experts included Vicar General of the Marian Fathers Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC; Provincial Superior very Rev. Fr. Kaz Chwalek, MIC,; the vice postulator for the causes of St. Faustina’s canonization and beatification in North America, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC; and Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, director of the Association of Marian Helpers. 

“Saint Faustina, I pray to her every night,” Jean said. “She just seems to have suffered so much for us so that we would have a better relationship with God. And that’s all we can ask for.” 

The movie follows St. Faustina’s life from the time she first followed a call to the religious life through her canonization in 2000. It explained how the Divine Mercy messages St. Faustina received from Christ went from the pages of her Diary to a devotion known and loved throughout the world. 

“I would like to see it again. I think I will definitely get it on DVD for sure," Jean said. "[Kamila Kaminska] was very convincing. She did a very, very good job. There were several things I learned from the film. I didn’t know about the priest she was so closely associated with.” 

Essential to this spreading of the Divine Mercy message and devotion to the world was Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko, St. Faustina’s spiritual director, who was played by Polish actor Maciej Malysa. It was Blessed Sopocko who directed St. Faustina to keep a Diary and helped her fulfill the requests Jesus asked of her. This meant having the Divine Mercy Image painted.  

Jesus said to St. Faustina, "By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul have access to it,” (Diary, 570).

After St. Faustina died in 1938, Fr. Sopocko petitioned the Vatican to review St. Faustina’s revelations and spent his final years spreading the message of mercy. This included giving a copy of St. Faustina’s Diary to Fr. Joseph Jarzebowski, the Marian priest who brought the Divine Mercy message through Nazi and Soviet occupied territory to the Marian Fathers in the United States in the early 1940s. 

Thanks to Fr. Joseph's influence, the Marian Fathers in the United States helped complete the work of St. Faustina. In one scene, Fr. Joseph is trying to escape wartorn Europe to America by way of Japan. One customs agent denies him access to his ferry to Seattle, Washington. Afraid of being stranded, or worse, sent back to Nazi occupied territory, Fr. Joseph crumbles to the ground. Then he suddenly remembers to pray “Jesus, I trust in You,” the signature Jesus asked St. Faustina to inscribe below the Image of Divine Mercy. As soon as he starts praying, another customs agent calls to him, approves his passport, and lets him board his ferry to the United States. As soon as this miracle happens, Fr. Joseph notices his watch. It’s 3 o’clock — the Hour of Great Mercy — and he’s in awe. This is a reference to what Jesus says, as recorded in St. Faustina's Diary, “... as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul” (Diary, 1572).

“We don’t realize the preciousness of the 3 o’clock hour until we watch a movie like this,” said Anne Marie Harrington of North Adams, Massachusetts. “And how God can touch our lives at that very moment. It’s a wonderful thing this faith of ours that reaches to the ends of the earth and now especially with [Catholic media like this]. Everyone knows about mercy now.” 

If you cannot attend the theatrical screening on Dec. 2, we invite you to sign up to receive a DVD of the film once the Marian Fathers make it available. Sign up HERE.


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