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Faustina Kowalska.7-English.29,9.23.

29 septiembre, 2023 Autor: admin

María Faustina Kowalska


6. Fulfilled requests


After her perpetual vows Sister Faustina stayed in Kraków for almost a month, taking advantage of the service of Father Józef Andrasz SJ, who like Father Edmund Elter had confirmed her in the belief that the visions were genuine and advised her to remain faithful to the grace of God and to be obedient. Towards the end of May 1933 she was directed to Vilnius. On her way to Vilnius she made a stop at Częstochowa to entrust Mary her life and mission, which she received from God.


In Vilnius Sister Faustina was to work in the garden, although she had not any experience in this duty. She accepted God’s will in a spirit of faith, trusting that Jesus would help and bring her in touch with people who would tell her when and what to do to make beautiful flowers and wholesome fruit and vegetables grow in the garden. But this wasn’t her biggest worry. She was anxious to fulfil the mission Jesus had given her. She waited for the priest He had promised and the chance to have the painting of the Merciful Jesus made according to God’s will. The week for confession came, she recorded in her diary, and, to my great joy, I saw the priest I had known before coming to Vilnius. I had known him by seeing him in a vision. At that moment, I heard these words in my soul: «This is My faithful servant, He will help you to fulfil My will here on earth» (Diary 263). It was Father Michał Sopoćko, who lectured in pastoral theology in the Faculty of Theology of the Stefan Batory University, and in educational studies in a teachers’ training college. He was spiritual director and chaplain in the Vilnian archdiocesan seminary, and confessor to numerous religious congregations, including the Antokol house of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy for their confession week


An experienced confessor, Father Sopoćko first tried to get to know his penitent, and not be misled by any delusions, hallucinations or fantasies deriving from human nature. He consulted Mother Superior Irena Krzyżanowska, asking for information concerning Sister Faustina’s religious life and asked for an examination to be done of her physical and mental health. When all the opinions, including a psychiatric examination carried out by Dr. Helena Maciejewska, turned out in Sister Faustina’s favour, Father Sopoćko still deferred for some time. He couldn’t quite believe it all and make up his mind; he prayed and while keeping the particulars of the visions and penitent fully confidential sought the advice of knowledgeable priests. Finally, as he later disclosed, More out of curiosity rather than conviction as to the authenticity of Sister Faustina’s visions, I decided to have the picture painted. I got in touch with Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, an artist who lived in the same house as I and undertook to paint the picture, and with Mother Superior, who allowed Sister Faustina to visit him twice a week to instruct him on the details of the painting.


The painting of the first picture of the Merciful Jesus started very discreetly at the beginning of January 1934. Mother Superior Irena Krzyżanowska wrote, So as not to attract other sisters’ attention to Sister Faustina’s inner experiences, every Saturday morning I would go with her to Holy Mass at Ostra Brama, and afterwards we would visit the artist, who was given detailed instructions by Sister Faustina how to paint the picture of the Merciful Jesus. He did his best to follow all her requirements


The painting of the vision Sister Faustina had had three years earlier at Płock gave rise to several fundamental questions which Father Sopoćko put to Sister Faustina, and she in the simplicity of her heart passed them on to Jesus, who explained, My gaze from this image is like my gaze from the cross (Diary 326), Jesus explained, The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which justifies souls; The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls… Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him (Diary 299). But there were still some doubts as to the inscription. Father Sopoćko requested Sister Faustina to ask Jesus about that, too. She wrote in her diary, Jesus reminded me of what He had told me the first time; namely, that these … words must be clearly in evidence: «Jesus, I trust in You» (Diary 327).


After a few months, in June 1934, the work on the painting was drawing to a close. But Sister Faustina was not pleased, although the artist and Father Sopoćko did all they could to render as faithful an image of Jesus as possible. When she returned to the convent chapel, she complained to Jesus, Who will paint You as beautiful as You are? (Diary 313). In a response she heard: Not in the beauty of the colour, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace (Diary 313


When the painting was completed Father Sopoćko put it up in a dark corridor in the Observantine Convent next to St. Michael’s Church, of which he was rector. It was a picture with a new content, he recalled, and that is why I could not display it in a church without permission from the Archbishop, whom I was embarrassed to ask or, even more, to explain its origins. But Sister Faustina, urged on by Jesus, demanded it be put up in church. In the Holy Week of 1935 she told Father Sopoćko that this was what Jesus wanted and insisted it be set up for three days in the Ostra Brama gate, where a triduum of ceremonies was to be held before the first Sunday after Easter to mark the close of the Jubilee of the World’s Redemption. Soon afterwards I heard that this triduum was indeed to be celebrated, Father Sopoćko wrote, and Canon Stanisław Zawadzki, parish priest of Ostra Brama, invited me to deliver a sermon. I agreed on condition that the painting be put up to decorate the window of the arcade. It looked impressive there, and attracted people’s attention more than the image of Our Lady over the gate.


But the joy of those days for Sister Faustina was the fact that Jesus’ requests had been fulfilled. The Mercy picture had been put up for public worship in the most important place in the whole of Vilnius, the Shrine of Our Lady of Ostra Brama and on that day which Jesus pointed out as the Feast of Mercy. Father Sopoćko had preached a sermon on the Divine Mercy, during which Sister Faustina saw Jesus in the painting assume a living form, and His rays penetrate into the hearts of the people gathered for the ceremony, making them happy. He said to her, You are a witness of My mercy. You shall stand before My throne forever as a living witness to My mercy (Diary 417).


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