Saint Faustina was a Polish Roman Catholic nun and mystic. She experienced apparitions of Jesus Christ which inspired the Roman Catholic devotion : the Divine Mercy.
Throughout her life, Saint Faustina reported having visions of Jesus and conversations with him. She wrote about them in her diary The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul.
In one of her visions of Jesus, the Lord asked her to paint what she saw, but having no skills in that area, she asked an artist (Eugeniusz Kazimirowski) to paint what she described to him. It resulted in the following image also know as the Image of Merciful Jesus.
The words of Jesus to her were: “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. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish”.“I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as My own glory.”
In the image Jesus is raising his right hand in blessing and pointing with his left hand on the Sacred Heart from which flow forth two rays: one red and one white. The depiction contains the message Jesus I trust in you. The rays streaming out have a symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus (the Life of all Souls), and white for water (which justifies souls) (Diary 299). The whole image is a symbol of charity, forgiveness and love of God, referred to as the “Fountain of Mercy”. According to the diary of Saint Faustina, the image is based on her 1931 vision of Jesus.
The final painting did not satisfy Faustina, who later wrote that Christ told her it is not that important that the picture be beautiful. The true beauty, Christ said, would be the blessing that He would bestow to the people by the means of the painting.
Some time later, another artist called Hyła painted this again. It is the more popular version of the image that spread throughout the Roman Catholic Church.
Pope John Paul II established the Feast of Divine Mercy each liturgical year.
Faustina is a mystic that is classified in the liturgy as a virginand is venerated within the church as the “Apostle of Divine Mercy”.
The first Divine Mercy painting by Kazimierowski is currently exposed and devoted at the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy, Vilnius, in Lithuania.
Fun Wikipedia fact: “In 1959 the Vatican banned the image and devotion to it because of a number of factors. A Polish bishops questioned Kowalska’s claims and was uncomfortable with the image’s similarity to the red and white Polish flag. Polish priests were reported to be interpreting the rays as a symbol of the flag. The ban on the image and devotion to it was only lifted on April 15, 1978, due to pressure from future Polish pope, Karol Wojtyła, who was a great advocate for Kowalska.”
”Through St. Faustina, the Merciful Savior has given the aching world new channels for the outpouring of His grace. These new channels include the Image of The Divine Mercy, the Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday), the Chaplet, the Novena to The Divine Mercy, and a prayer at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the Hour of Great Mercy. ”
Now that you know who Saint Faustina was and the history behind the Image of Merciful Jesus you can learn to pray the Divine Mercy.
May God bless you,
Meet the author
Johanna – Hebrew for “God is Gracious”
I’m a former New Ager, Yogi & spiritual nomad turned Christian after a moment of illumination in 2017. I created this website to help you differentiate between light & darkness and to answer questions about spiritual topics from a Catholic Christian worldview. ->Find me on IG @myjourneytojesus