Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Divine Mercy, a standard subject in speaking of God in the Christian tradition, has become the focus of special devotional practice among Roman Catholics in the twentieth century. The new devotion is traced to Sister Josefa Menendez (1890–1923), a Spanish woman who in the year 1920 entered the Convent of Les Feuillants, Poitiers, France, a convent of the Order of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. During the four remaining years of her life, she had a number of visions that were dutifully recorded. Among her visions were those of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat (1779–1865), the founder of the order, but by far the most important were of Jesus. These visions built upon the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a major practice of the order. In a series of visions beginning in 1920, Jesus told Josefa that he meant to use her to carry out a plan of enlightening the world concerning the mercy of his heart. She was to become an apostle of his love and mercy.

Menendez lived and died in obscurity, and only in 1838 was an account of her vision published, as Un Appel à l’Amour. The book found an immediate office and within a year had been reprinted several times and translated into a variety of languages, in English as The Way of Divine Mercy.

In the meantime, a similar set of visions had come to a Polish nun, Faustina Kowalska (1905–1939), who in 1925 had joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy convent in Warsaw. Beginning in 1931, she had a repeated vision of Jesus with two rays of light coming from his heart, a pale ray signifying the water of baptism and a red ray the blood of atonement. At one point, Jesus spoke and asked that a picture be painted of what Faustina had seen, with the words, “Jesus, I trust in You.” He promised blessings upon any who venerated this image. He told the young nun that Infinite Mercy was the most mysterious attribute of divinity, more so than either his infinite goodness or love. Through further revelations, numerous details for following the devotion were given to Faustina until her death on October 5, 1939.

After World War II, the devotion put forth by Menedez and Faustina hit a major obstacle. Faustina had recoded her vision in Polish, but being only semiliterate, she wrote phonetically. A hasty translation was sent to Rome in 1958. Based upon the translation, her ideas were declared heretical. In 1964, Karol Wojtyla, the new Archbishop of Krakow, ordered a better translation be made of Faustina’s work. Based on that translation, the Vatican reversed its opinion. The text was later published as Divine Mercy in My Soul. Following Cardinal Wojtyla’s election as Pope John Paul II, he began to manifest. His first official encyclical, Dives Misercordiae (“Rich in Mercy”), indicated his faith in the Divine Mercydevotion. He subsequently oversaw Faustina’s beatification in 1996 and canonization in 2000.


Faustina, Blessed Sister. Handbook of Devotion to the Divine Mercy. Dublin: Divine Mercy, 1994.
Menendez, Josefa. The Way of Divine Love; or, The Message of the Sacred Heart to the World and a Short Biography of His Messenger, Sister Josefa Menendez Coadjutrix, Sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 1890–1923. Brookings, SD: Our Blessed Lady of Victory Missions, 1981.
Michalenko, Seraphim. The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion: With Selected Prayers from the Diary of Blessed Faustina. Stockbridge, MA: Marian Helpers, 1995.
The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena © 2008 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
I recommended his soul to the divine mercy and buried him.
But pray," says he, "explain this to him: that as no man is saved but by Christ, and the merit of His passion procuring divine mercy for him, how can it be too late for any man to receive mercy?
He visited me again the next morning, and went on with his method of explaining the terms of divine mercy, which according to him consisted of nothing more, or more difficult, than that of being sincerely desirous of it, and willing to accept it; only a sincere regret for, and hatred of, those things I had done, which rendered me so just an object of divine vengeance.
"There can be, if I forbode aright, no power, short of the Divine mercy, to disclose, whether by uttered words, or by type or emblem, the secrets that may be buried in the human heart.
My own imperfect health has induced me to give some attention to those palliative resources which the divine mercy has placed within our reach.
On my last bed I lie utterly helpless and humble, and I pray forgiveness for my weakness and throw myself, with a contrite heart, at the feet of the Divine Mercy." Which of these two speeches, think you, would be the best oration for your own funeral?
Sometimes I dare to hope that the Divine Mercy of Christ--which once pleaded on earth for a woman like me--may plead, when death has taken me, for my spirit in Heaven.
And what does it matter to you, little worm, if I implored the Divine mercy for her, great sinner as she was, as I said my evening prayer?
Last August 17, Myrna, along with her sisters Sylvia Puyod Rieta, Concepcion 'Daday' Yulo and Jacqueline celebrated her 70th birthday at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Panabo City.
1:00 pm Opening of the second Divine Mercy Conference in the Middle East titled "Send Me with the Treasures of Your Mercy", at Mar Youhanna El Habib Church - Deir el Karim -- Ghosta, which will last for four days.
The Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland are taking the Mercy Bus back out on the road for the third year this summer thanks to an overwhelming response in the past two years.
'Trusting on the wisdom and pastoral assessment of Bishop Santos and the assessment of the Divine Mercy Philippines [DMP]-National Working Committee, we thus heed their warning that we should be very careful of the group Maria Divine Mercy,' Valles said.