First Notebook – Notes 88-89 (for paragraphs 371-380)
88. The way she recorded the resolutions on clean sheets has been reproduced according to the original diary entry.
89. The vision concerns Father Sopocko, who was to suffer greatly because of the destruction of the devotion to The Divine Mercy. The prediction was almost literally fulfilled. Decree No. 65/52 of the Sacred Congregation of The Holy Office, dated November 28, 1958, and a notification of Marchy 6, 1959, prohibited the spreading of the devotion to The Divine Mercy in the form given by Sister Faustina. As a result, the images which had been hung in many churches were removed. Priests stopped preaching about The Divine Mercy. Father Sopocko himself was severely admonished by the Holy See and suffered many other troubles in connection with the spreading of the devotion to The Divine Mercy.
The Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy was also forbidden to spread the devotion; in consequence, the images, the chaplet, the novena and all other things that might suggest that the devotion was being propagated were withdrawn. It appeared that the work of mercy, so much recommended by Sister Faustina, had been destroyed and would never rise again.
Until the notification, the image of The divine Mercy received much honor in the Congregation’s home in Cracow, where Sister Faustina died, and it was covered with votive offerings. A solemn Mass was held on the third Sunday of each month, and priests preached sermons about The Divine Mercy. The first Sunday after Easter was celebrated as the Feast of The Divine Mercy, which Cardinal Adam Sapieha in 1951 invested with a plenary indulgence for seven years.
In view of the Holy See’s ban, the Sisters addressed the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Cracow, Archbishop Baziak, to inquire what should be done with the image which hung in the side altar, covered with many votive offerings, and what attitude should be taken towards the celebrations in praise of The Divine Mercy. In answer, Archbishop Baziak ordered the image to be left in its place and the faithful not to be forbidden to pray before the image for needed graces. He also ordered the existing celebrations to be maintained.
In this way the devotion to The Divine Mercy survived the test in the small center of the Congregation in Cracow, at 3/9 Wronia Street, where the body of the Saint is buried. At present, the devotion is again gathering force, renewing and attracting the interest of theologians.
Since the first part of her prophecy was fulfilled almost literally, it could well be supposed that the remainder of it would also come to pass. For, regarding prophecy, the Word of God offers this instruction: “…. Know that, even though a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if his oracle is not fulfilled or verified, it is an oracle which the Lord did not speak” (Deuteronomy 18:22). The following facts attest to the genuineness of St. M. Faustina’s prophecy:
On June 30, 1 978, The Sacred Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith (A.A.S. page 350) published a “Notification” signed April 15, 1978, by His Eminence Franjo Cardinal Seper, Prefect, and Archbishop Jerome Hamer, O.P., Secretary. It is as follows:
From various places, especially from Poland, even proceeding from competent authority, it has been asked whether the prohibitions contained in the “Notification” of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, published in the Acts of the Apostolic See, in the year 1959, p. 271, regarding the devotion to The Divine Mercy in the forms proposed by Sister Faustina Kowalska must be regarded as still in force.
This Sacred Congregation, having now in possession the many original documents unknown in 1959; having taken into consideration the profoundly changed circumstances, and having taken into account the opinion of many Polish Ordinaries, declares no longer binding the prohibitions contained in the quoted “Notification.”
On July 12, 1979, in response to the Superior general of the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M., who in the name of the Provincial Superior of the American Province of St. Stanislaus Kostka, of said Congregation, had asked for an authoritative explanation of the scope of the text in the “Notification” of 1978, rescinding the prohibitions to spread the devotion to The Divine Mercy proposed by Sister Faustina Kowalska, the Prefect of The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ascertained:
In reference to that matter (raised in the letter of Father General) I have the honor of informing you that with the new “Notification” (A.A.S., 30 June 2978, p. 350), arrived at in the light or original documentation examined also by the careful informative intervention of the then Archbishop of Cracow, Card. Karol Wojtyla, it was the intention of the Holy See to revoke the prohibition contained in the preceding “Notification” of 1959 (A.A.S, 1959, p. 271), in virtue of which it is understood that there no longer exists, on the part of this S. Congregation, any impediment to the spreading of the devotion to The Divine Mercy in the authentic forms proposed by the Religious Sister mentioned above [The Servant of God Sister Faustina Kowalska].
Furthermore, St. Faustina’s spiritual director lived long enough to give his sworn testimony regarding her holy life and heroic virtues at the beginning of the canonical process towards the declaration of her sainthood. Then, it was hardly three years and two months after his death (which occurred on February 15, 1975, and which happened to be Sr. Faustina’s name day, as well as the day on which St. Claude Colombiere, S.J. – the spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was revealed – died) that the 20-hyear prohibition concerning Sr. Faustina’s writings and proposed forms of The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion began to spread again with renewed vigor throughout the world.
Exactly six months after the ban was lifted by Pope Paul VI, the Archbishop who inaugurated her beatification process was elected Pope. The second Encyclical of his pontificate was Dives in Misericordia [God, who is rich in mercy). It was published in November 1980, and immediately hailed by Non-Catholics as among the greatest of Papal Encyclicals, though it took Catholics almost a year to come to the realization of the timeliness of and need for such a teaching. At that time, Pope John Paul II had not yet seen Sr. Faustina’s spiritual Diary.
Not only was Sr. Faustina beatified in 1993 and listed among the Saints during the Jubilee Year 2000, but during the homily on the occasion of her canonization ceremonies the Holy Father announced the extension to the entire Church of the Feast of The Divine Mercy, for the establishment of which our Lord pressed the “Secretary” and “Apostle” of His mercy to exert every effort. (Permission to celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of The Divine Mercy was granted to Poland in 1995 in response to a request made to the Holy See by the entire Polish Hierarchy.) Divine Mercy Sunday is being jubilantly and ever-increasingly celebrated in practically every country around the world. This happened a little over sixty years after St. Faustina’s death; whereas, it took a hundred years before the Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was officially established by the Church – in that case also only after a request of all the bishops of Poland! – and another hundred years before the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was extended to the universal Church.
What is more, as though expressing the fulfillment of St. Faustina’s prophecy: “And then God will act with great power, which will give evidence of its authenticity. It will be a new splendor in the Church, although it has been dormant in it from long ago.” The Holy Father declared in the same homily: “Jesus told Sr. Faustina: “Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy’ (Diary, p. 132). Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked forever to the 20 th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time. What will the years ahead bring us? What will man’s future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no lack of painful experiences. But the light of divine mercy [splendor], which the Lord in a way wished to return to the world [dormant…. from long ago] through Sr. Faustina’s charism, will illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium” (emphasis added). Even this final part of the prophecy was verified: “When this triumph comes, we shall already have entered the new life in which there is no suffering. But before this, your [spiritual director’s] soul will be surfeited with bitterness at the sight of the destruction of your efforts. … But God has promised a great grace especially to you and to all those [here she quotes Jesus’ words] . . . who will proclaim My great mercy. I shall protect them myself at the hour of death, as My own glory.”