Have you ever seen the Divine Mercy image – the real and original one?
Have you seen the only artistic depiction of the mystical vision seen by Sr Faustina Kowalska in her own lifetime? Are you sure?
A new film, The Original Image of the Divine Mercy, packs an almost incredible list of commentators and witnesses in a journey into the heart of the mystery surrounding the once hidden and forgotten image.
Bishop Robert Barron, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, comedian Jim Gaffigan, George Weigel, singer Harry Connick Jr , Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Immaculee Ilibagiza – an embarrassment of riches, too long to detail in full.
The film comes just in time for Catholics preparing to journey to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland – the saint’s homeland and the city where she died in 1938 after a long and exhausting struggle with tuberculosis.
But it is the story itself which is truly remarkable, bolstered in the film by first-hand accounts of what actually happened, during St Faustina’s lifetime and later in the aftermath of the soviet occupation in Poland.
Film maker Daniel Disilva takes viewers on something of a treasure hunt for the original image, before taking it across the world and, perhaps most poignantly, back to the room where Sr Faustina originally experienced it as a mystical vision on the night of 22 February, 1931.
The vision she received was of the “King of Divine Mercy” – of Jesus in a white robe, with one hand extended in blessing, and the other pointing to red and pale rays emanating from his heart.
In her diary she wrote that Jesus had told her to have a depiction of the image painted, including on it the signature, “Jezu, ufam Tobie” (Jesus, I trust in You), now uttered millions of times each day as a part of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
He is said to have told her that it was to be venerated in her convent chapel and then throughout the entire world, promising – according to Sr Faustina’s diary – that souls who venerated the image “will not perish”.
Receiving no assistance from her fellow religious, it wasn’t until three years later, after being transferred to Vilnius, that she found in convent confessor Fr Michael Sopoćko someone who was willing to help.
(He first submitted her to a raft of rigorous psychiatric assessments – assessments which she passed without incident).
He introduced her to artist Eugene Kazimierowski, a university professor, who completed the Divine Mercy painting in June 1934.
What happened next is best told in the film, a production of the Archdiocese of Vilnius and a project enthusiastically approved and promoted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.
Parishes throughout the world have been invited to consider showing the film, buying the rights for a suggested $300 US or a negotiated rate, depending on the parish’s circumstances.
More information – www.divinemercyfilm.com