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 The Restored Vilnius Divine Mercy Image

On October 4, 2003, our late beloved Holy Father Pope John Paul II blesses one of the
Restored Vilnius Divine Mercy Images en route to the diocesan shrine in Camaroon, Africa.


 
The Divine Mercy Image

Today there are many variations of the Divine Mercy Image around the world, the most famous being the Hyla, Vilnius, and Skemp Images. The Vilnius Image, featured on this page, is the original and only Divine Mercy Image painted under Sister Faustina's direction. It was painted in 1934 by Vilnius artist Eugene Kazimirowski, who was retained by Fr. Michael Sopocko, Sister Faustina's spiritual director. This image is named after the town where the Image was painted and first hung for public display. Both the Hyla and the Skemp are named after the artists who painted them. 

To understand the true depth of what this Image is all about, you may order the "Oceans of Mercy Retreat" DVD, produced by Mercy Films, Inc., in association with the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy. Now available from www.HolyArtWorks.com.  On the DVD there is an 80-minute conference on the Image given by Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, former vice-postulator for the cause of St. Faustina. (All together there are over 5 hours of in-depth conferences on every major aspect of this message given to St. Faustina). Please take advantage of this information and learn all you can about what this message really means. 


The Restoration Project

 
During World War II, which Faustina predicted two years to the day before the Nazis invaded Poland, the original Image fell into disrepair, having been improperly stored in a damp attic. As the Image and message gained popularity during the war as a comfort to souls, reproductions were made from a black and white photograph taken prior, which was not-so-skillfully colorized. In this form it was spread around the world. Sadly, none of these Images ever reflected the true beauty and color of the original painting. 

However, in June 2003, under the auspices of the Archbishop of Vilnius, the original painting was restored by an expert, and a photograph was sent to the Marian Fathers along with permission to reproduce it as a thank-you for their generous support in the building of a new Church there. The photograph was then given to Mercy Films, Inc. to prepare it for reproduction. The result is this stunning Image of Jesus, which we have shipped all over the world to Churches, Cathedrals, and homes. 


Before and after photos of the Vilnius Image
after the restoration process in 2003 by the Archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania.
The signature, "Jesus, I Trust In You", (or in Polish, "Jezu Ufam Tobie") which the Lord told Faustina He wanted on the Image, was not on the original painting. Therefore, font, color, and language of this signature may be one's personal preference. As part of our preparation for reproduction, we've made the Image available in 14 different languages so far, including Chinese, Gaelic, Latin, and Rwanda. We can add any other language, or put up to 3 languages on larger-size images for bi-lingual parishes.

Vilnius Image and the Shroud of Turin

 
Because Sister Faustina was not an artist, her spiritual director, Father Michael Sopocko, took her to a local Vilnius artist named Eugene Kazimirowski, (left), who painted this Image directly under Faustina’s supervision. From the time Sister received the vision in 1931 to paint this Image, to the time it was finished, three and one-half painful years had elapsed. Painful because of the many conflicts Sister Faustina had to endure. Sadly remarking, “Lord, who will paint You as beautiful as you are” (Diary 313), Faustina had the artist change the face at least 10 times. Finally, Our Lord told Faustina that it was good enough - to leave it in the state it’s in. In the mid 1990's it was accidentally discovered that the face on this Image perfectly matched the one on the Holy Shroud of Turin.

A little-known promise regarding the Image

 
The restored Divine Mercy Image makes a beautiful addition to any room or chapel. But greater than it’s beauty are Our Lord’s words, “Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace.” (Diary 313). 

Here is just one of many stories regarding the power and graces granted through this Image:

Saint Faustina (right) depicted holding a plaque of the Image of Divine Mercy painted by the famous artist Janice Balabon. (Mercy Films, Inc. updated the Image with the restored version).Available: www.HolyArtWorks.com

“In one of the first booklets that Sister Faustina’s confessor, Father Sopocko, published, he mentioned a promise made by Jesus regarding the veneration of the Image of Himself that He told Faustina to paint, that we cannot find either in the diary nor in her letters. Before St. Faustina was told by her spiritual director to keep a diary of her spiritual experiences, she used to record those, about which she thought she ought to inform him, on pieces of paper and give them to him. The Sister who was the vice-postulator for Poland knew that there was a collection of these which ultimately must have been given to the investigatory tribunal that was to inspect her writings, and it’s possible that this promise was mentioned among those papers."



Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, former vice-postulator, North America, for Sister Faustina's cause.
"Anyway, Father Sopocko knew about it and I’m sure that if it wasn’t true, he would not have included it in that booklet. It was a promise that Jesus made: 
'I will save those cities and houses in which this Image will be found.' 
He also said: 
'I will likewise protect the persons who will honor and trust in My Mercy.'

There were many reports of incidents sent to us by people who said they believed this promise, and enthroned an Image of The Divine Mercy in their homes and summer camps, and on numerous occasions their places were miraculously preserved from damage.” 

Quote from Father Seraphim Michalenko, former vice-postulator for the cause of 

St. Faustina in North America, who shared this in a talk, Oct. 13, 2003 in Florida.
Text ©Mercy Films, Inc., authorized printer, in association with the Marians of the Immaculate Conception 
Restored Image of The Divine Mercy, © 2003, Archdiocese of Vilnius, Lithuania. 
Holy Art Works is an authorized distributor of the Divine Mercy Image.

Introduction to "Personal Divine Mercy Stories"

 

Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, has seen the message of Divine Mercy spread all around the world in such a short time that he believes it is the fastest-growing devotion in the history of the Catholic Church. I've chosen to introduce these stories of miracles and hope with Father's words in this short video above, because he sees right into the heart of why this message has spread like a wildfire throughout the world. It is the need of every human soul to have a relationship with their Creator, and to know that they are loved by God and can trust God. It is necessary, especially at the hour of death, to have confidence in the mercy of God so that despair will have no part of us, no matter how far from God we may find ourselves. It is important to understand we can always count on the boundless mercy of God as we see in the story of the prodigal son. 

In the message of Divine Mercy, we can see all this clearly. The homily of John Paul II delivered at the canonization Mass of Sister Faustina, April 30, 2000 makes this evident. To quote, "Sr. Faustina's canonization has a particular eloquence: by this act I intend today to pass this message on to the new millennium. I pass it on to all people, so that they will learn to know ever better the true face of God and the true face of their brethren".

Through the life of St. Faustina which we come to know in her diary, whom Jesus chose to reveal to mankind this awesome message, we come to learn about the love and mercy God has for us. We come to see God though His words to her and also His actions. We also come to see who our neighbor is - they are Christ to whom we must show mercy. The Gospel message is brought to life in the life of Sister Faustina as it should be in every human heart.

In this short video clip, Father goes on to say that the way the devotion to God's mercy has spread fastest throughout the world has been mainly by word of mouth. The personal story of someone's life touched by the action of God is by far the most effective method to share with others the goodness and love of God. When people hear about this goodness in someone else's life, they want it for themselves as well.

And so we have put together a group of videos of people whose lives have been changed by coming to experience God's mercy in a personal way. Also included are people who have devoted their entire lives to spreading this message, such as Dave and Joan Maroney of Mother of Mercy Messengers, and Dr. Bryan Thatcher of the Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy. 

If you have a personal written or videotaped story of how your life has been touched by God's mercy, please consider sharing it with the world for their encouragement, here on MercyImages.com! Please write us.


Below are some of Our Lord's promises to those who help spread devotion to His mercy. 
These promises come from Sister Faustina's diary, entries 1074 - 1076:

 
  • 1074 When I went for adoration, I heard these words: My beloved daughter, write down these words, that today My Heart has rested in this convent [the Cracow house]. Tell the world about My mercy and My love. The flames of mercy are burning me. I desire to pour them out upon human souls. Oh, what pain they cause Me when they do not want to accept them! 
  • My daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My mercy. I will make up for what you lack. Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace.
  • Tell [all people], My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.
  • 1075 Souls who spread the honor of My mercy I shield through their entire lives as a tender mother her infant, and at the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but the Merciful Savior. At that last hour, a soul has nothing with which to defend itself except My mercy. Happy is the soul that during its lifetime immersed itself in the Fountain of Mercy, because justice will have no hold on it.
  • 1076 Write this: Everything that exists is enclosed in the bowels of My mercy, more deeply than an infant in its mother’s womb. How painfully distrust of My goodness wounds Me! Sins of distrust wound Me most painfully.

 

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