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
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.
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.
Image and the Shroud of Turin
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.
little-known promise regarding the Image
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
“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."
Text ©Mercy Films,
Inc., authorized printer, in association with the Marians of the Immaculate
Father Seraphim Michalenko,
MIC, former vice-postulator, North America, for Sister Faustina's cause.
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:
will save those cities and houses in which this Image will be found.'
will likewise protect the persons who will honor and trust in My Mercy.'
Faustina in North America, who shared this in a talk, Oct. 13, 2003 in
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.”
from Father Seraphim Michalenko, former vice-postulator for the cause of
Restored Image of The Divine
Mercy, © 2003, Archdiocese of Vilnius, Lithuania.
Art Works is an authorized distributor of the Divine Mercy Image.
to "Personal Divine Mercy Stories"
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
some of Our Lord's promises to those who help spread devotion to His mercy.
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!
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.
[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.
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.