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How Her Thirst Was Quenched

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By Joan Lamar (Oct 17, 2016)
Sandra Maher's life changed on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2011. She describes the experience in a visceral way.

"The Lord sort of reached out and grabbed hold of me!" she said.

Sandra grew up in the Episcopal Church and moved over to the Baptist Church in her adulthood. A practicing Baptist for 20 years, she eventually fell away from her faith and drifted with no church affiliation for about three years. She remembers, though, that even as a Baptist, she always had a thirst, a longing, for something more. She just couldn't quite figure out what that something more was.

On May 1, 2011, she was channel surfing at home in Utica, New York. She happened upon EWTN, which was airing the broadcast of Divine Mercy Sunday at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. And she kept watching.

She became excited, she said, because of a discussion about the promises the Lord made through St. Faustina to those who venerate the Image of Divine Mercy. "By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls," the Lord tells St. Faustina ( Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 742).

Sandra wanted to know more. She began making it a point to watch the daily recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on EWTN, filmed at the National Shrine. At first she would ask herself, "What are they saying?" Eventually, she learned about the significance of the chaplet. She taught herself how to pray it — and the Rosary, too.

She decided to read St. Faustina's Diary, so she checked it out of the library. She renewed the book so many times, she eventually decided to buy it. Sandra said her life soon became a spiritual whirlwind. She came into the Catholic Church and chose Faustina as her confirmation name, "because St. Faustina and Divine Mercy are what converted me." She joined the parish of St. Joseph and St. Patrick in Utica. "The Lord even chose the right parish for me," she said. "They have a great Divine Mercy devotion here."

The message of Divine Mercy is now her life's mission. "The Lord did tell us he is going to give us this mercy," she said. "The clock is ticking. Jesus is coming back, and He has offered us His mercy. All we have to do is take it."

As part of her mission, Sandra buys and gives away the Diary and Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC's books, 33 Days to Morning Glory and Consoling the Heart of Jesus. She doesn't know how many books she has given away, but it's a lot, she said. "That is my apostolate."

Her evangelization efforts centered around Divine Mercy don't stop there. She has led three groups at her parish and facilitated Fr. Michael's 33-day consecration to the Blessed Mother. Her pastor wants her work to continue. "He wants the whole parish to be consecrated to Mary," she said.

The parish is seeing great fruits already. "People who are doing this have a true devotion to our Blessed Mother," she said.

But her work is just beginning. Having only been in the Catholic Church four years, Sandra didn't realize that a lot of Catholics do not know that Mary is the quickest and easiest way to Jesus. "A lot of people don't understand that, "she said, "but a lot of eyes are starting to open up."

She also leads a Divine Mercy cenacle at her parish. "With the cenacle, I am trying to make people aware of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy."

Sandra volunteers at the parish soup kitchen. She visits sick and dying parishioners at the hospital and prays the Divine Mercy Chaplet with them, and she is an altar server at funerals. She said she tries to make it easy for people to engage in the works of mercy. For instance, she says, while many people may not find it feasible to visit prisoners, they can send a card to a prisoner. Or if it's not feasible to directly comfort those grieving the loss of a loved one, they can always send a Mass card.
Debbie Sullivan, office administrator and social media editor at Sandra's parish, said Sandra always wants to help before being asked, and she does so with great joy and sincerity.

In her humility, Sandra said it's the Lord doing this work. "I am just giving Him my fiat as the Blessed Mother did. He just puts a fire and a desire in me. I am very blessed."

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Maria Salamida - Oct 26, 2016

God bless you Sandy and all you do for st. Joseph/st Patrick church. You r one amazing gal.

Sandra faustina - Oct 23, 2016

Thank you all for your comments and your love of Divine Mercy. We are all so Blessed in our devotion to the message if mercy. Our Lord needs each of us to give our fiat to the message of Mercy and Mary. Evangelize be on fire with his love of the message and pray pray pray always for the souls in purgatory the sick & dying & the unrepentant sinners , MMDM. Many Blessings to each of you. Remember the 3'oclock hour thank you Jesus , Blessed Mother Mary, Fr Michael Gaitley for working through me to enlighten many souls. Love love love DM

Joan Say of Singapore - Oct 22, 2016

Keep up the good work, Sandra! God loves you! God loves all of us equally and has no favorites!
HE's watching us and smiling, lovingly! We must pray unceasingly for all in this troubled world and all souls in purgatory.
Praise be to our God, Eternal Father, His only beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ and His most
Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen!

Caroleanne Jarka - Oct 19, 2016

Sandra; Our spiritual life through Divine Mercy, is so similar ! I had no religion, but DID believe in God, (long story),who by Gods Hand, was led to the Catholic Church in 2010, at 68 yrs old...St Faustia touched my heart, with Gods' bumps, by a simple prayer card, Jesus' trust in me necklace, ETWN chaplet, her diary, and much more graces than I am worthy of. I didn't know Jesus & so it took me longer...and by your witness, I have learned again, I am still not doing enough, and am excited to continue on in his foot steps...I love God, and how He works in our lives for His purpose!!...God Bless you, Sandra.

Annie Brinson - Oct 18, 2016

Hi Sandra,
The story about you really warmed my heart. I lived in Utica NY as a child. Like you, I learned about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy a few years ago, and it is now a very important parts of my life. I especially pray the Chaplet for souls in Purgatory. May God bless you. Annie Brinson

Lisa - Oct 18, 2016

God Bless you Sandra!