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Cult of the Divine Mercy
Cult of the Divine Mercy is related to the visions of Faustyna Kowalska from the the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, to whom Jesus spoke, telling her to spread the word of the Divine Mercy around the world. Cult started to grow and develop shortly after the death of sister Faustyna Kowalska, especially during the hard years of World War II. Polish soldiers have spread the word of the Divine Mercy across the globe. They sew little emblems with Jesus to their hats (the emblems were made for them in Vilnius, Lithuania). Thanks to Poles, the members of gen Anders' army, created in 1941 in the USSR, the cult of the Divine Mercy has reached Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and from there to Africa and Italy.
The best known painting of the Divine Mercy was painted by Adolf Hyla in 1943 as a thanksgiving for saving his family from the cruelties of war.
In Poland, the cult of the Divine Mercy was restored after the year 1981, when the first critical version of the Diary of sister Faustyna Kowalska was released. Worshipping the Divine Mercy has become very popular, with many new churches named after the Divine Mercy being build at that time.
"I am love and mercy" - said Jesus to sister Faustyna Kowalska, showing her five ways in which people should pray for salvation: chaplet to the Divine Mercy, prayer in front of the picture of Jesus the Merciful, prayer in the hour of Christ's death on the cross, called the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.), ways to celebrate the day of Mercy and spreading the glory of the Divine Mercy with prayers, words and deeds.
Undoubtedly, cult of Divine Mercy is most popular in Poland. However, the Brotherhood of the Divine Mercy in Australia has more than 5,000 members from 14 different countries. Another important place of pastoral activity connected with the Divine Mercy is Verdun in Canda, where members of the community provide care for morally lost people. The Pallotines run the apostolate in France, Slovakia and Brasil. Since the beatification of sister Faustyna in 1993, the Centre of Spirituality of the Divine Mercy has been running in Rome. The cult, which originated in the visions of sister Faustyna Kowalska, is very popular in South America, Africa, Korea, New Zeland and on Philipines.
The biggest centre of the cult in Poland is the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, Krakow, visited by a million of pilgrims every years. People travel from Poland and all the countries of the World to pray and spend their time in the sanctuary. The first Sunday after Easter (the Divine Mercy celebration, now recognized by the entire Catholic Church) is the most popular day of pilgrims' visits to the sanctuary. The cult has become extremely popular after the beatification and canonization of sister Faustyna Kowalska and also after John Paul II visited the sanctuary in Lagiewniki twice during his pilgrimages. This has led to the building of the basilica, which was consecrated by pope John Paul II in 2002.
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