Krakow, Poland: Shrine of Divine Mercy
About Saint Faustina and Divine Mercy:
Among the many pious practices of modern-day Catholics, devotion to the Divine Mercy is near the top of the list. The first Sunday after Easter is now known as Divine Mercy Sunday. The Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow is now one of the most popular destinations in Poland for Catholic pilgrims.
Saint Faustina came from a poor Polish family and was the third of ten children. At the age of 20 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, having had only three years of formal education. As is so often the case, Jesus chose to manifest himself to someone humble and simple rather than the high and the mighty.
On the first Sunday of Lent in 1931, Jesus appeared to her at her convent in Plock, Poland. He appeared wearing an ankle-length white robe with his right arm raised in blessing and his left arm touching his robe at his chest. From the area of His heart two large rays came forth: one red and the other translucent. This image is now known and recognized throughout the world. Overcome by His presence, Saint Faustina was overcome with a feeling of joy and reverence.
Jesus told her: Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription ‘Jesus I trust in you'”. He then went on to say that he wanted this image venerated in the chapel at the convent and then throughout the world. Saint Faustina herself did not paint the image, her spiritual director and confessor, The Ven. Fr. Michael Sopocko, was directly responsible for hiring an artist by the name of Eugene Kazimirowski to begin the work. You will not find that original image here, it is in the Vilnius, Lithuania.
At another time Jesus explained to her that he wanted the first Sunday after Easter to be proclaimed “Divine Mercy Sunday” and that the feast be preceeded by a novena to Divine Mercy beginning on Good Friday.
Saint Faustina received many blessings including the invisible Stigmata in 1936 and she kept a diary that ended up being almost 600 pages in length. Devotion to Divine Mercy began to spread after her death but the Holy See prohibited the spread of her writings due to some erroneous information they were given.
Then in 1959 the Holy See reversed this prohibition, due in large part to the efforts of Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, later to become Pope John Paul II. The Sunday after Easter was officially designated as Divine Mercy Sunday by Pope John Paul II and it was, in fact, Pope John Paul II who canonized Sister Faustina on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000.
Traveling to the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow:
The Shrine of Divine Mercy is in the suburbs of Krakow, easily accessible from the city. If traveling by train, the station is Kraków Łagiewniki, just a short walk from the Shrine.
Address: Siostry Faustyny 3 30-420 Kraków Poland
GPS coordinates: 50° 1′ 12.2520” N, 19° 56′ 15.2448” E
Tel: +48 12 252 33 11
Click here for the official website for the shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow.
For those traveling in the U.S. there is also a National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.