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Photo: Felix Carroll

The Disciples of Divine Mercy in the Holy Face of Jesus are: (clockwise from the front) Fran Campbell, Diane Melerski, Pat Weinreich, Kathy Wabick, Barbara Vullo, and Terry Coughlin. Not pictured are Marsha McCarthy, Sharon Wicks, MaryAnn Jackson, Andrea Long, Mark Stark, Rick Paoline, and the group's spiritual director Fr. Richard DiGulio.

In Buffalo: Prayers at the Bedside

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By Felix Carroll (Nov 15, 2010)
They see lives transformed through the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, and that's why they do what they do.

They are a group of 13 from the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. They call themselves Disciples of Divine Mercy in the Holy Face of Jesus. They pray for the sick and the dying and teach parishes throughout their diocese to do the same — because the needs are great and the chaplet is powerful.

They Prayed. They Asked No Questions.
There was the man a few years ago dying of liver cancer. He had all but abandoned his Catholic faith, or any faith for that matter. His wife asked the Disciples of Divine Mercy to come to his bedside and pray. Just be there, be a praying presence, but don't "push" Catholicism on him — those were the instructions.

"We went," said Kathy Wabick, a founding member of the prayer group. "We prayed the chaplet, and we left. We asked no questions."

One year later, the day after Christmas, she received a phone call from the man's wife who said her husband had three or four hours to live and that his dying wish was that the Disciples of Divine Mercy come.

When they arrived, the man was comatose. His wife said he had given specific instructions that they kneel around his bed and pray the chaplet one last time.

"When we were done," said Kathy, "his wife told us what had happened that year since we had prayed the chaplet for him the first time. Not only had he come back to the Catholic faith, but he went to daily Mass, daily Rosary, daily Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, and he was teaching people the Chaplet, including people at his work. And on his tombstone, he had the Image of The Divine Mercy."

A healing took place through the chaplet, and it wasn't a healing from cancer. It was a spiritual healing.

'We're Just Vessels'
Through the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a prayer our Lord gave to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s during a series of revelations, we are called to appeal for the outpouring of Divine Mercy on the basis of the Passion of Christ, the chief sign of His love for us (hence the refrain: "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world" from Diary, 475).

When prayed with trust in the merciful love of God, the fruits are incredible, as millions worldwide can attest. The members of Disciples of Divine Mercy know without a doubt, miracles happen through the praying of the chaplet, and not only spiritual miracles.

"There was another time when we were called to a man who was comatose," said Terry Coughlin, another founding member of the Disciples. "We got there and the family said 'We're going to go for a coffee, but you go ahead and pray,' so we prayed the chaplet at his bedside in the intensive care unit, and then we left."

"We were no sooner out of the elevator when he came out of his coma," Kathy says. "By the time the family came back from coffee he was awake. They called us thanking us for the prayers.

"Of course, it's not us, it's not because of us," Kathy hastens to add. "This is God's mercy. We're just vessels. We're just tools in His hands. The miracle came from God. My hope is that the miracle was that that family came back to whatever their faith was."

When Disciples of Divine Mercy in the Holy Face of Jesus formed 11 years ago, the workload quickly became daunting. They were serving the needs of the sick and dying throughout the Diocese of Buffalo, a geographic area that spans more than 130 miles from end to end.

"We just couldn't get to all the people," said Terry.

So that's when they expanded the mission of their ministry to train parish groups throughout the diocese to serve their own parishioners. "We could reach more people that way," Kathy said.

They've trained Divine Mercy groups in three parishes so far. That includes St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Williamsville, N.Y., which now has 40 to 50 people in its ministry, some of whom are homebound and pray from home and some who pray at the bedsides.

From their years of experience, Disciples of Divine Mercy in the Holy Face of Jesus are able to pass on to parishes tips on "what works and what doesn't work." These tips include:

• Don't send too many people to an individual's bedside since it can be too overwhelming for the patients. Kathy says her group goes in twos;
• when a prayer request is made, make sure to inquire whether the sick or dying patient has been anointed "because we don't want this to take the place of the sacrament," says Kathy;
• if making a visit to the bedside, make sure the patient or family has given permission for the visit;
• when you arrive at the bedside, be sure to explain the chaplet and the promises associated with it;
• ask the patient or family if they would like the prayers to be prayed silently or out loud; and
• even if the patient is comatose, be sure to lean down to their ear and speak to them and explain in a gentle voice that he or she is being prayed for. "We say, 'You are going to hear us praying, and St. Faustina is interceding in a very powerful way,'" Kathy says.

A Mercy Ministry is Revealed
The Disciples of Divine Mercy in the Holy Face of Jesus started as a result of a plea by Kathy's mother on her deathbed in 1998.

"I prayed the chaplet at her bedside, and she came out of her coma," Kathy says. "She opened her eyes and talked for three hours. She spoke of the visions she had when she was in a coma. She had visions of heaven. She said, 'Make sure you write all this down,' and we did, and then she died.

"So afterwards we said, 'What are we going to do with all these visions? What is the purpose of this?'"

A priest she knew said, "Let's pray about this. God has a plan. Let's pray and see what He reveals in time," Kathy recalls.

"What He revealed was how our prayer group was going to take this prayer to the sick and dying," says Kathy. "That was the purpose of her visions. From that discernment came our group.

"Our hope," she said, "is that every parish in the diocese has this ministry."

And from the founding of the group came a desire of the members to delve deeper into the message of The Divine Mercy. They're studying the Faustinum formation through the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, St. Faustina's order.

The group also makes annual pilgrimages to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, in Stockbridge, Mass. Kathy spent fours days in Stockbridge working on the Divine Mercy Intercessory Prayerline, which is administered by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in Stockbridge. She has since initiated a prayerline in Buffalo administered by Disciples of Divine Mercy in the Holy Face of Jesus.

Christ told St. Faustina, "I demand from you deeds of mercy which are to arise out of love for Me" (Diary of St. Faustina, 742).

Out of their love for Him, the Disciples of Divine Mercy spread the message mercy to those most in need.

Says Terry, "It's such a wonderful feeling knowing you are giving this to someone who needs it — through Christ."

To submit a prayer petition to the Disciples of Divine Mercy in the Holy Face of Jesus, call 716-662-6025 or visit the group's website,

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

catholicmom - Feb 17, 2011

Could this site have a downloadable pdf file with the instructions on how to start a Disciples of Divine Mercy group in the parish? If we had something "in hand" to present to our priest, it would be most helpful. Also, how do people know about it to contact you for prayers?

Ron & Joyce - Feb 10, 2011

My Mother passed away December 31, 2007
after being stricken with a stroke. My wife and I being devotees to the Divine Mercy Message said the Chaplet on her death bed. We both still miss her very much but we know she is with our Lord.

aek - Dec 7, 2010

Its only now I hear apostolate work like this Bedside,my husband & I starting praying the chaplet at 3a.m then the rosary, it really helps, been planning to visit sick person this christmas season,try to apply what i learn from you,hope I can do these, pray for me

Tamutan from Cameroon - Nov 26, 2010

Am very please to visit this site of the Divine Mercy to know that there is a group of the Divine Mercy which is known as prayers at Bedside we've have once prayer to on a bedside but we never talked much about the chaplet but now i have known that next when we want to we will not forget to do just that. Also please to help us send Holy cards, pictures, rosaries, to evangelize and spread the message of mercy. Our postal address is P.O box 520, St. Micheal's Parish Futru-nkwen Bamenda Cameroon

Isabel - Nov 24, 2010

Thankyou for this, as this article feeds my desires to introduce this ministtry to my parish. The guidelines are very helpful. Jesus I trust in You.

Br. Chris - Nov 20, 2010

All of you ladies were wonderful! Thank you so very much for your kindness and hospitality during our mission in Buffalo. May the good Lord bless your efforts!

Ruth - Nov 19, 2010

So many times when this chaplet is prayed,we have seen how the Lord either takes the dying person quickly to heaven or will heal and extend the life of the person. Jesus truly extends His Divine Mercy in a powerful way with this chaplet .

Bob K - Nov 18, 2010

I have doing volunteer repite care for the pass 10 yrs, since retiring. On many occasions, I have said the Divine Mercy Chaplet for those who were either ill or dying both in and outside of their presence. All those I have cared for, passed very peacebly.I do believe it was due to the power of this Chapet.

Philomeana - Nov 18, 2010

My "Soul Sister" and I prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet at the bedside of my comatose Niece,who had been battling illness for several years. She was only 28 and had suffered so much pain. Her Mother and Father were talked into eating supper with other family members across the hall, while we sat and prayed with her. As we spoke the last words of the chaplet, my Niece opened her eyes and said "Momma". We called her Mother back into the room. With her last breath she and her Mother exchanged "I Love you", and she slipped into the arms of Our Lord. For the first time in 3 years,I saw a peaceful smile and knew that Our Lord had indeed shown mercy on this suffering soul.

Jim Rellihan - Nov 18, 2010

How wonderful! I pray that there will be a Divine Mercy group in each parish of our country yea of the world to go out to the bedside of the dying at home, hospice and hospital. This is truly a "deed of Mercy" that our Lord demands of us through
St. Maria Faustina. Could not the Cenacles of Divine Mercy lead the way in doing this and promoting it to other parishes? And the Marian Helpers give it direction and animation in all there wonderful work of promoting the Divine Mercy? The Holy Spirit is working mightily here answering a great need for preparing the dying for their entry into Heaven. God bless all your efforts in this wonderful deed of Mercy to the dying.

Cheryl - Nov 18, 2010

This is beautiful. I would love to do this in my Church.

Carole T. - Nov 18, 2010

How does one get started?

Estrella M. - Nov 18, 2010

I was transformed because of the Divine Mercy chaplet about 3 years ago. Before my father passed away, he asked me to keep on praying the chaplet. Since then, i thirst for more and i have been a volunteer visiting the sick, the elderly and the dying.

Anonymous - Nov 18, 2010

My husband died a year ago on Holy Thursday. Our parish priest had come the day before to give him the last rites.When he had finished that, he knelt down on the nursing home floor and said the Divine Mercy Chaplet. My husband died a very peaceful death. Now I tell everyone if they are at a dying person's bedside to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.We are fortunate to have such a spiritual priest at out parish.

Marie Therese - Nov 17, 2010

May I humbly ask for your group to join me in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for 4 sisters who are in great need of God's unending Mercy. Deo Gratias

4Caritas - Nov 17, 2010

Although it was not the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, I remember visiting my grandmother in the nursing home and returning home immediately to pray the rosary. About 45 minutes after my visit, while taking a short break from my rosary to beg for mercy, my grandmother passed away. This would have been just about the time that I paused the rosary and prayed for mercy. What these people are doing in Buffalo is just beautiful!

Catherine A. - Nov 17, 2010

My father was at home under hospice care in January of 2004. We knew he was dying but we did not know how much longer he would live. On the first Friday after he came home from the hospital to be under hospice, at 3 in the afternoon, I prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at his bedside. He appeared to be unresponsive. I left to run an errand and almost immediately my mother called me to come home; he died about a half hour after I finished the Chaplet, in the Hour of Mercy. Not a miracle, but a great consolation to me personally.

ilona and mary the devine mercey - Nov 17, 2010

my friend and i have been praying the devine mercey for the last five years but never thought to go to the dying to pray what a very beautifull idea i hope we are able to do the same. Can you give us some guide lines Yours in the devine mercey of Jesus ilona and mary

david - Nov 17, 2010

Our Lord is so good! TO give us this beautiful prayer, to be prayed at the 3 o'clock hour for all


Sister Anne Sophie - Nov 17, 2010

TWe serve Jesus and Mary in the suffering. The sick, elderly and dying. The power of the Divine Mercy has always been a part of our ministry as well as the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and prayer of reparation. There is no greater gift of oneself then to be a comfort with the consolation of Jesus promises to others in most need of His mercy. Our charism is on a three CD set On Our Way To Paradise which is our charism to the bedside of the dying and of course the Divine Mercy is sung as well. All parishes everywhere would be giving a great service to all in leading the parishioners into this most important apostolate.
Keep up the great work girls!-sister anne sophie

Judy C - Nov 17, 2010

In our parish we started A Divine Mercy apostolate also. It has been very spiritual for all of us (5-8 members)We have prayed for those in Hospice when we are called. St. Faustina, pray for us, Jesus I trust in you.

maryS - Nov 17, 2010

This one of the best apostolate praying for the sick.I remember one when I was asked to pray in the intensive care unit of an old man.He was very tensed we could not understand what was he was saying,until we begun praying the chaplet he was in control,I do believe the power of praying,week after he died.