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By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Sep 1, 2014)
Readers of St. Faustina's Diary sometimes come across passages that do not seem to put her in a very good light. For example, one of our readers, a man named Francis, noted Diary passage 916-917 — a passage in which she arranges to have a Jewish woman surreptitiously baptized at the time of the woman's death. Francis sent me this critique of St. Faustina's actions:

What did Faustina mean when she said that the Jewish lady's soul needed to be "cleansed" by baptism? What right did she have to pass judgment on the soul of a dying woman whom she did not know, or what kind of life she had led, or what trials she had experienced? The lady was Jewish, she was outside the Christian Faith: Did she express a wish to be baptized as she was dying? Was she asked for, or even able to give, her consent?

What right did Faustina or the other nun have to wait until "they" (the lady's Jewish family) had left the room, and then baptize her behind their back, without first having discussed it with them, and obtained, as a most basic courtesy, their views and consent?



It is very hard to answer such questions, Francis, because we do not really have access to all the facts.

According to entry 916, St. Faustina had visited this woman quite often in the days prior to her death. Perhaps the woman had actually expressed a wish to be baptized, but was hesitant, for fear of offending her Jewish relatives who always seemed to be visiting her. We just don't know.

One thing we do know is that in entry 917, St. Faustina saw this woman's soul (that is, after her baptism, and at the moment of death) "ascending to heaven in wondrous beauty," filled to overflowing with sanctifying grace. There is no way that the Sacrament of Holy Baptism could have such an effect on an adult unless that adult had already attained a disposition of genuine repentance and faith, such that all obstacles to the work of baptismal grace within her soul had been removed. Thus, what evidence we have suggests that the woman's soul was indeed fully ready for baptism by the time it was administered, and that St. Faustina was not imposing a sacrament on her that she did not desire to receive.

As for St. Faustina passing "judgment" on the soul of a woman she did not know — well, again, given her frequent visits to this sick lady, perhaps she got to know her rather well, and in any case, in general St. Faustina knew that every soul has need of baptismal grace: either poured out for the first time in baptism, or renewed and strengthened later by sacramental confession. Saint Faustina does not say that this Jewish woman necessarily would have ended up in hell without baptism; there may indeed have been extenuating circumstances that might have prevented her from ever receiving the sacrament. But St. Faustina was at least operating under the principle that more sacramental grace is always better medicine for the soul than less. Seen in that light, her actions in this case may well have been both prudent and charitable.

A reader named Barbara sent me another question about St. Faustina's behavior, this one from accounts of her childhood:

With regard to St. Faustina's actions as a child, recorded in EADM manual 1 [Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy Cenacle Manual #1], page 60, paragraph 2: St. Faustina is said to have hidden in the garden with her father's prayer book on days when she could not go to church and "would not come out until the service was over." This took place even when her mother called her to help her. The question raised by one EADM member was: Shouldn't St. Faustina have obeyed the fourth commandment and gone to help her mother? Was this a sin?



Here again, we probably do not have enough information about these Sunday incidents to be able to say for sure. It is certainly not wrong to make a firm commitment to keep the Lord's Day holy through private prayer when one is unable to attend Mass. Indeed, Jesus told us that the "first and great commandment" is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mk 12:30), while loving our neighbors as ourselves is merely the "second" great commandment. Arguably, what this incident shows us is that little Helena Kowalska had her priorities straight, even as a child!

However, let's take the "worst case" scenario here. Suppose that on some of those Sundays, her mother really did have urgent need of her daughter's help, and yet little Helena stubbornly stuck to her prayers anyway. In that case she might have been guilty of a sin against charity, since she could have postponed her prayers until a later time in order to lend her mother a hand.

So, was little Helena Kowalska a sinner?

Of course she was! The saints are not necessarily fully sanctified in their childhood years. The process of sanctification usually takes an entire lifetime. Like all of us, Helena in her youth, was a sinner-not-yet-fully-cured. Maybe, in this case, in her youthful religious zeal she did not yet understand that the virtue of religious piety must sometimes take a back seat to the virtue of charity.

In other words, saints are not perfect people. Rather, they are people who, more than the rest of us (and often faster than the rest of us!) learn with the help of grace to overcome their sins through repentance, faith, and love. One of the reasons St. Faustina is rightfully called the great "Apostle of Divine Mercy" in our time is that in her own life she personally experienced God's merciful love for sinful souls like her own (see, for example, Diary, entry 1485, "Conversation of the Merciful God with a Sinful Soul"; and entry 1488, "Conversation of the Merciful God with a Soul Striving for Perfection." Surely these conversations are based on her own, personal experience!).

In fact, even as an adult in the religious life, St. Faustina probably, very occasionally, committed venial sins. I remember reading in the records of the testimonies of those who knew her (from interviews that formed part of the investigative process for her beatification) that one of the girls at her convent once claimed: "Sister Faustina could not be a saint because one time she slapped me!" But the girl went on to admit that she had provoked this slap by her own outrageous, blasphemous swearing, and that Sister Faustina had actually apologized to her later.

Again, saints (other than Our Lady) are not perfectly sinless people. But with the help of grace, they become more and more perfectly repentant people, and as a result, they end up sinning less and less. And that is actually good news, isn't it? It comforts me to know that someone can sometimes let their temper get the better of them (as St. Faustina did in this case), or chicken out (as St. Peter did on the night of Jesus' arrest, denying three times that he even knew Jesus), or struggle with doubt (as apostle St. Thomas did about the Resurrection of our Lord), and still, ultimately, become a saint. It gives me hope that I just might be able to be one, too!

Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy. His latest book is Divine Mercy: A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI (Marian Press). Got a question? E-mail him at questions@thedivinemercy.org.

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St.Philomena fan - Feb 24, 2010

Thought of adding this comment here since it is indirectly related to the topic at hand - for the mortifications such as fastings and sufferings she undertook, to gain the dominion of The Spirit again , in lives of many !
The news reports recently about the mortifications of Pope John Paul 11 , through self flagellations also possibly given to The Church , at this right time of lent, to remind many of this forgotten regime of prayer, of driving out what is not of God , in lives of many and interceding with our Lord , to unite such ,even if small sufferings with The Passion of our Lord ( may be a little wire cord, a few lashes on hands for all times as parents , when children were not disciplend , for someone who is not generous enough and the chest, a good domain ,to help in unity of the two lungs and so on !)and thus to plead in the sanctifying presence of The Spirit, often driven out by our ungodly ways and hardness of unrepentance !

May The Father bless us all and the saints and angels guide and help us !

Frank in Hayward - Feb 24, 2010

The best "self flagellations" according to the Carmelite Doctors of the Church (Teresa, John of the Cross, Therese) is NOT the whip or beatings which are so easy to arouse self-satisfaction and pride and do no real good. The best penance is something that will help our neighbor - like, offering a smile when we don't want to even engage them, to let go of critical, judgemental interior thoughts about another person or group, to offer help and assistance to those we would rather not have anything to do with. The Carmelite saints say that our "penance" should always be something that is related to our relationship with outher people so that (1) we are not prone to self-love that physical penance can produce and (2) the fruit of our penance will directly affect produce charity with thosw with whom we live and work.

Tom , houston ,tx - Feb 25, 2010

With regard to this observation on St Faustina's right work with the Jewish lady,consider this:

31
Once I saw a big crowd of people in our chapel, in front of the chapel and in the street, because there was no room for them inside. The chapel was decorated for a feast. There were a lot of clergy near the altar, and then our sisters and those of many other congregations. They were all waiting for the person who was to take a place on the altar. Suddenly I heard a voice saying that I was to take a place on the altar. But as soon I left the corridor to go across the yard and enter the chapel, following the voice that was calling me, all the people began to throw at me whatever they had to hand: mud, stones, sand, brooms, to such an extent that I at first hesitated to go forward. But the voice kept on calling me even more earnestly, so I walked on bravely.

When I entered the chapel, the superiors, the sisters, the students, and even my parents started to hit me with whatever they could, and so whether I wanted to or not, I quickly took my place on the altar. As soon as I was there, the very same people, the students, the sisters, the superiors and my parents all began to hold their arms out to me asking for graces; and as for me, I did not bear any grudge against them for having thrown all sorts of things at me, and I was surprised that I felt a very special love precisely for those persons who had forced me to go more quickly to my appointed place. At the same time my souls was filled with ineffable happiness, and I heard these words,

"Do whatever you wish, distribute graces as you will, to whom you will and when you will." Then, instantly, the vision disappeared

Question about miracles - Feb 28, 2010

What miracles were performed after St Faustina's death to have her become a Saint?

Info on miracles - Mar 4, 2010

Visit this link:
http://thedivinemercy.org/message/stfaustina/graces.php

That gives a brief summery of the miracles

tom bailey Houston, tx - Mar 27, 2010

DID SHE HAVE THE POWER with the Jewish lady?!

what does he say!

1777
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. All misery gets buried in the depths of My mercy, and every saving and sanctifying grace flows from this fountain.

LOOK AT WHAT HE IS SAYING, MAYBE SHE WAS USING HER GIVEN POWER FROM THE LORD WITH THE Jewish woman


My daughter, I desire that YOUR HEART be an abiding place of My mercy.


NOTE WHAT HE SAYS:
I desire that this mercy flow out upon the whole world through --YOUR--- heart.

Let no one who approaches (THE JEWISH LADY) YOU go away without that trust in My mercy which I so ardently desire for souls.

ALL OF US: Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least.

Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moments depends on your prayer.

You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul.

David Paul Fontes - Apr 7, 2010

Dr. Stackpole. I understood you. Your articulation was perfect to me. St. Foustina to me did A-OK. Anyone who can see what she did see has my vote 110% as I do with Dr. Stackpole. I say the "D.M.Chaplet" and The Blessed Rosery just about every day. I feel I am not praying it well enough. To feel its meanings. I guess I am spiritually withdrawn. I sure wish I can attain all that "The Devine Mercey" has to offer even though I feel I am not correctly feeling myself praying correctly enough. Mother Teresa talked about her having felt that way. So I do feel about comforted. "I want to eat at the Supper of the Lamb" on that very first day in the New Heaven and on the New Earth. I cannot wait! God Bless all....

Finnchadh - Jun 14, 2014

The Way of the Cross of Mercy

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Sprit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.

The First Station of Mercy: Jesus as you are condemned to death; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. Jesus so meek and uncomplaining, teach me resignation in my trials.

All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Sprit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Second Station of Mercy: Jesus as you carry your cross; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. Jesus this cross should be mine not thine. My sins have crucified thee.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Sprit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Third Station of Mercy: Jesus as you fall for the first time; Jesus I put all of my trust is you. Jesus by this first fall, never let me fall into mortal sin.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Fourth Station of Mercy: Jesus as you meet your Mother; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. Jesus may no human tie, however dear keep me from following the road of the cross.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Fifth Station of Mercy: Jesus as Simon the Cyrenean helps you carry your cross; Jesus I put all of my trust is you. Simon unwillingly assisted thee, may I with patience suffer all for the.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Sixth Station of Mercy: Jesus as Veronica wipes your face; Jesus we put all of our trust in you. Jesus thou did imprint your Sacred Features upon Veronicas veil; stamp them also indelibly upon my heart.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Seventh Station of Mercy: Jesus as you fall for the second time; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. Jesus by thy second fall, preserve me from relapse into sin.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Eighth Station of Mercy: Jesus as you console the women of Jerusalem; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. Jesus my greatest consolation would be to here they: “Many sins are forgiven thee because thou hast loved much”.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Ninth Station of Mercy: Jesus as you fall for the third time; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. Jesus, when I am weary upon life’s long journey, be Thou my strength and perseverance.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Tenth Station of Mercy: Jesus as you are stripped of your garments; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. My soul has been robbed of its robe of innocence; cloth me Jesus with the garb of penance and contrition.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Eleventh Station of Mercy: Jesus as you are nailed to the Cross; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. Jesus, thou didst forgive thine enemies, teach me how to forgive injuries and forget them.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Twelfth Station of Mercy: Jesus as you die upon the cross; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. Jesus, thou art dying but thy Sacred Heart still throbs with love for thy sinful children.


You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of Mercy opened for the whole world. O fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty yourself out upon us. O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I put all of my trust in you.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Thirteenth Station of Mercy: Jesus as you are taken down from the cross; Jesus I bout all of my trust in you. Receive me into thy arms, O Sorrowful Mother and obtain for me perfect contrition for my sins.


All glory and honor is yours Almighty Father who lives’ and reigns’ for ever and ever amen.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, amen.


The Fourteenth Station of Mercy: Jesus as you are laid into the Sepulcher; Jesus I put all of my trust in you. Jesus when I receive Thee into my heart in Holy Communion, make it a fit abiding place for Thy adorable Body.

(If you wish you can make a/several request here.)


And on the Third Day he arose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures, He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. From thence He Shall come to judge the living and the dead and of His kingdom there will be no end, amen.

It has been said that Jesus claims veneration for his Mercy "from every creature"; I hope this is adequate