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FOOTNOTES .... Diary

FOOTNOTE 77 When, on one occasion, my confessor told me to ask the Lord Jesus the meaning of the two rays in the image, [77] I answered, "Very well, I will ask the Lord."     (Diary 299)        251-300

[77]  The picture painted in Vilnius by artist Eugene Kazimierowski (cf. 1).


[1]    On February 22, 1931, while staying in Plock, Sister Faustina received Jesus’ order to paint a picture according to a model that was shown to her (cf. Diary 47)

The Servant of God tried to fulfill the command, but not knowing painting techniques, she was unable to do it by herself. Still, she did not give up the idea. She kept returning to it and sought help from other sisters and from her confessors.

A few years later her superiors sent her to Vilnius (Wilno), where her confessor, Rev. Prof. Michael Sopocko, interested to see what the picture of a hitherto unknown theme would look like, asked the painter Eugene Kazimierowski to paint the picture according to Sister Faustina’s directions. The picture was finished in June 1934 and hung in the corridor of the Bernardine Sisters’ convent near St. Michael’s Church in Vilnius, where Father Sopocko was rector.

In 1935, during the celebrations concluding the Jubilee Year of the Redemption of the World, the image of The Divine Mercy was transferred to the Ostra Brama [“Eastern Gate” to the city of Vilnius] and placed in a high window so that it could be seen from far away. It was there from April 26 to April 28. By permission of Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski, on April 4, 1937, the image was blessed and placed in the St. Michael’s Church in Vilnius.

In 1944, a committee of experts was formed, at the order of Archbishop Jalbrzykowski, to evaluate the image. The experts’ opinion was the the image of The Divine Mercy, painted by E. Kazimierowski was artistically executed and an important contribution to contemporary religious art.

There are several characteristic features of this original image. Against a plain background, Christ is shown walking, with a narrow halo around His head, and his eyes slightly downcast, as if he were looking from above at the spectators. His right hand is raised in a gesture of blessing; while his left hand is opening the robe at His Heart (not shown), from which two rays of light issue, a pale one to the viewer’s right, a red one to the left. The light of these rays shines through the hands and the robe.

In 1943, in Lwow, at the request of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Stanley Batowski painted another image, which was placed in a aside altar of the community chapel at No. 3/9 Zytnia street in Warsaw. During the Warsaw uprising, this chapel (and with it the image) was burned.

Batowski’s image was very much liked by everyone. Encouraged by this, the Superior General of the Community of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy asked Batowski to paint another one for the house in Cracow, where the new form of devotion to The Divine Mercy was already expanding. The image was painted and sent to Cracow on October 6, 1943.

In the meantime, the superior of the Cracow house had been approached by the painter Adolf Hyla, who offered to paint some sort of picture for the sisters’ chapel as a votive offering for having survived the war. The superior, Mother Irene Krzyzanowska, after consulting with the senior sisters and Father Andrasz, S.J., suggested that Mr. Hyla should paint the image according to Sister Faustina’s directions. For that purpose, he was given the description (taken from Sister Faustina’s Diary) along with a small copy of the image painted by Eugene Kazimierowski.

The image was finished in Autumn of 1943 and brought to the Cracow house. Batowski’s image arrived at the same time. For this reason a problem arose - which of the images should be kept n the sisters’ chapel? It was settled by Cardinal Sapieha, who by chance happened to be present there. He inspected the two pictures and said, “Since Hyla has painted his picture as a votive offering, that picture should stay in the sisters’ chapel.” He blessed the picture and ordered that it be hung. To this day the picture remains in the side altar to the left of the main entrance, in the Chapel of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at No. 3/9 Wronia Street in Cracow, and is held in reverence as the image painted under the direction of Sister Faustina Kowalska. People from all over Poland and from abroad come to this image of the Merciful Christ to beg for needed graces. There are many votive offerings, and copies of the image are found all over the world.

S. Batowski’s picture was placed in the Church of the Divine Mercy at Smolensk Street in Cracow.

Over the years, many other painters have painted images of The Divine Mercy, based on either existing representations or on Sister Faustina’s diary.




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