Photo: Courtesy of Frank and Marie Burke

One Leaflet Led to All of This

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By Bob French

The smallest seed of faith can grow into something big. That's definitely the case with Marian Helpers Frank and Marie Burke, who first heard about The Divine Mercy message in 1985 when they lived near Tucson, Arizona.

Frank just happened to see a Xeroxed leaflet about then-Sr. Faustina. One of the first things that caught his eye was the fact that she was born in 1905.

"That was the same year my father was born," says Frank, "and I thought to myself, 'By golly, she's a new one!' She's a saint of our time, and that's what really appealed to me."

He wanted to know more, so he sent away for information from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception in Stockbridge, Mass. Once Frank and Marie began reading about the message of Divine Mercy, which was given to St. Faustina through a series of revelations with Jesus in the 1930s, they realized they had found something powerful.

"We were very devoted to Our Blessed Mother," says Frank. "We had promoted the Fatima apparitions. We always felt Our Blessed Mother was leading us to the foot of the cross, and when we learned about Divine Mercy, we realized that this was the foot of the cross. This was where she was leading us all along."

The Burkes knew they had to put it into action.

First, in 1987, they helped start the annual Divine Mercy Sunday celebration in the Diocese of Tucson. Then, in September 2001, they learned about Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), a lay ministry of the Marians. The Burkes' desire to spread Divine Mercy was ignited by EADM, particularly the way EADM involved the laity in prayer, study, and works of mercy through their prayer cenacles.

That year, the Burkes began an EADM prayer cenacle at their new parish, St. Andrew the Apostle, in Sierra Vista, Arizona. In the last five years, the Burkes have started four additional cenacles, one for young mothers at St. Andrew's, one at a neighboring parish, one at a local military installation, and one at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Sierras, in nearby Hereford, Arizona.

The pastor of St. Andrew's was so impressed with EADM that he agreed to the construction of a Divine Mercy Eucharistic Adoration Chapel to go in the back of the new St. Andrew's church. The Chapel, which was dedicated this past Father's Day, has a three-dimensional icon of The Divine Mercy image suspended above the tabernacle.

In addition to their regular weekly meetings, the cenacles started by Frank and Marie do many works of mercy. They support a school and an orphanage across the Mexican border. They feed the homeless twice a month at the Salvation Army. They visit nursing homes and care centers around the diocese. They also distribute Divine Mercy literature.

"And I mean lots of literature — 30,000-plus pieces a year — and it's all free," says Frank.

Dr. Bryan Thatcher, the Founder of EADM, would be the first to agree that our good works begin with the "small seed" of prayer, and the awareness of how much we depend on God's mercy. The Burkes are "one example of people who want to learn, incorporate, and live the message of Divine Mercy," says Bryan.

Just as Sr. Faustina was a vessel for the rays of God's mercy, the Burkes are "letting God's rays of mercy come to them, through them, and out to a big area around Tucson," Bryan says.

Frank, who's retired from the awnings trade, says he's driven to spread Divine Mercy from the promise the Lord shared with St. Faustina. Jesus said: "Souls who spread the honor of my mercy I shield through their entire life as a tender mother her infant, and at the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but the Merciful Savior" (Diary, 1075).

Says Frank, "Man, you don't get a better promise than that!"

What is a Marian Helper, and how do you become one? Learn all about the spiritual benefits of membership.

For more information about EADM and starting a prayer cenacle in your area, click here.

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

Sheryl de Lile - Apr 26, 2019

Many thanks for your inspirational story. You gave me courage and hope. I pray to God to give me the direction and guidance to lead others to the Divine Mercy and for his plans for me and my daughter. May God Grant you strength and bless you abundantly to carry on with your mission in spreading the Divine Mercy prayers.

FRANK DIAS - Sep 25, 2012

PAMPHLETS FOR A WHILE NOW, AT MOST CHURCHES. I JUST WALK IN AND LAY THE MATERIAL AT ENTRANCE AND GOD DOES THE REST, NO REWARD NEEDED.THIS too got me closer to jesus and confession and holy eucharist. happy, joyes and free.
adoration is awesome and sees God is calling me back all the time.

Test Comment - Jun 8, 2012

test 1 2 3

Carlene - Apr 17, 2012

Thank you for such a beautiful story. God has a mission for each of us to do, I pray daily that I may be pleasing to God to complete what ever he choose for me to do.

Miriam W. - Mar 22, 2011

Thank you for this beautiful story. We need the Divine Mercy now more than ever. May God in His infinite mercy protect us all especially those recent victims of disasters throughout the world. Jesus I trust in You.

Ms.Marie.K.Lally - Oct 8, 2010

I belong to Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church located in Pinellas Park,Florida,Tampa Bay Area of Florida
33781 and we say The Divine Mercy Prayer every Tuesday morning after the 9:00 A.M.Mass. It a very Special Prayer and we all love it. Unfortunely my wonderful husband,Doug died in my arms at 66 yrs young on Divine Mercy Sunday,April 19,2009 and my older brother 64th Birthday,from a immeniet Heart Attack. But,I feel,
"GOD" couldn't have picked a better day for him to die in CHRIST. He surely went straight to heaven.

A friend - Apr 9, 2010

It's nice to see the combining of the Eucharist and the Divine Mercy devotion together. The EADMs have the right focus! Such a combination is invincible, and a powerful force for good!

Ann Teresa, Leesburg, VA - Feb 25, 2008

A story of great faith, and trust put into action. It inspires me!

Don - Dec 4, 2007

Aleluia, thank you Jesus for the commitment of the Burkes to the spreading of The Divne Mercy message! Our Loving Lord will never be outdone in generousity.