Throughout history, visionaries such as Francis of Assisi, Joan of Arc and Bernadette of Lourdes have relayed divine messages—including the message of Divine Mercy revealed to a young peasant girl in Poland.
In the 1930s Jesus appeared Helena Kowalska, the third of 10 children of Marianna and Stanislaus Kowalska, living in Glogowiec. Helena, who later became known as Sister Faustina after entering the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy convent, recorded the revelations in a diary. According to St. Faustina’s diary, Jesus said: “My daughter, know that my heart is mercy itself. From this sea of mercy graces flow out upon the whole world. No soul that has approached me has ever gone away unconsoled” (“The Diary of Sister M. Faustina Kowalska,” No. 1777).
Though originally viewed with skepticism, ultimately her life and writings inspired the Divine Mercy message and devotion of the Church. Soon-to-be canonized Pope John Paul II, who was also Polish, took a personal interest in the visions of Sister Faustina. He promoted her sainthood cause and canonized her personally on April 30, 2000.
At the same time the pontiff officially designated the Second Sunday of Easter, the date revealed to St. Faustina, as the feast of Divine Mercy. The Holy Father declared, “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter”—referring to the path of mercy with God and others indicated in the liturgy’s readings.
This year Divine Mercy Sunday is April 27: the day Blessed John Paul II will be canonized. On the feast, a plenary indulgence may be granted under the usual conditions of confession, receiving Communion and praying for the intentions of the pontiff.
How to Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary and Apostles Creed.
2. Using a rosary, on the Our Father beads say: Eternal Father, I offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
3. On the 10 Hail Mary beads say: For the sake of his sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
4. Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades.
5. Conclude with: Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world (three times).