Chaplet of Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy is a Roman Catholic devotion based on the visions of Jesus reported by Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), known as "the Apostle of Mercy." She was a Polish sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and canonized as a Catholic saint in 2000.
Faustina stated that she received the prayer through visions and conversations with Jesus, who made specific promises regarding the recitation of the prayers. Her Vatican biography quotes some of these conversations.
The chaplet is often said as a rosary-based prayer with the same set of rosary beads used for reciting the Holy Rosary or the Chaplet of Holy Wounds. The chaplet may also be said without beads, usually by counting prayers on the fingertips, and may be accompanied by the veneration of the Divine Mercy image.
On September 13, 1935, while Faustina was in Vilnius, she wrote of a vision of Jesus about the chaplet in her diary (Notebook 1 item 476). Faustina stated that Jesus asked her to pray the chaplet and instruct others to do so. Although the chaplet is said on beads like the Rosary, it is about a third of the length of the Rosary, and unlike the Rosary that has evolved over the years, the form and structure of the chaplet has remained unchanged since Faustina attributed it to a message from Jesus.
According to Faustina's visions, written in her diary, the chaplet's prayers for mercy are threefold: to obtain mercy, to trust in Christ's mercy, and to show mercy to others. Faustina wrote that Jesus promised that all who recite this chaplet at the hour of death or in the presence of the dying will receive great mercy. She wrote that Jesus said:
"....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior."
Faustina stated that Jesus also promised that anything can be obtained with this prayer if it is compatible with His will. In her diary Faustina recounted a vision on September 13, 1935 in which she saw an angel sent to a city to destroy it. Faustina began to pray for God's mercy on the city and felt the strong presence of the Holy Trinity. After she prayed the internally instructed prayers, the angel was powerless to harm the city. In subsequent visions, Faustina learned that the prayers she spoke were to be taught to all the people of the world.
According to Roman Catholic tradition, the chaplet may be said at any time, but it is said especially on Divine Mercy Sunday and Fridays at 3:00 PM. The Chaplet is prayed daily at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In the Philippines, Singapore, and Hong Kong the "3 o'clock Prayer" is broadcast on radio and television stations daily at 3:00 p.m. In 2000, Pope John Paul II ordained the Sunday after Easter Divine Mercy Sunday, where Roman Catholics remember the institution of the Sacrament of Penance. The hour Jesus died by crucifixion, 3:00 PM (15:00), is called the Hour of Mercy. In a novena, the chaplet is usually said each of the nine days from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday.
Pope John Paul II was instrumental in the formal establishment of the Divine Mercy devotion and acknowledged the efforts of the Marian Fathers in its promotion in a Papal Blessing in 2001, the 70th anniversary of the revelation of the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion. Although the prayers said on the beads of the rosary chain share specific similarities between the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Chaplet of Holy Wounds, these are distinct chaplets and were introduced over 20 years apart, one in Poland, the other in France.
The English version of the Chaplet was published in 1987 and its text is copyrighted by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. The chaplet contains the initial prayers as in a Rosary, then proceeds on the beads, adding specific offerings to the Father on the larger beads. On the smaller beads, specific other petitions for mercy are prayed, emphasizing the body and blood of Christ as an offering. It then concludes by repeating a specific prayer for mercy.
The chaplet may be repeated over a period of nine days as part of a novena. According to Faustina's words, Jesus himself in a vision asked to pray the Divine Mercy Novena as a preparation for the Feast of the Divine Mercy, celebrated each year on 1st Sunday after Easter. The novena should begin on Good Friday. There is a prayer intention for specific group of people on each of the nine days. The last day intention – according to Jesus' message to St. Faustina – is the most difficult of all: to pray for the people who are lukewarm and indifferent. Jesus described those people as follows:
"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."
Novena intentions are:
- First Day – all mankind, in particular all sinners.
- Second Day – the souls of priests and the religious.
- Third Day – the souls of the devout and faithful people.
- Fourth Day – for the non-believers and those who do not yet know Jesus.
- Fifth Day – the souls of heretics and schismatics.
- Sixth Day – the souls of "the meek and humble" and for little children.
- Seventh Day – the souls of people who especially glorify Christ's mercy.
- Eighth Day – souls in Purgatory.
- Ninth Day – souls who have become lukewarm and indifferent.
- Divine Mercy Sunday
- Congregation of Marian Fathers
- St. Stanislaus Kostka in Chicago, the home of the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy
- John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy
- Knights of Divine Mercy (Catholic men's group)
- Rosary based prayers
- Chaplet of Holy Wounds
- Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul by Faustina Kowalska 2003 ISBN 1-59614-110-7
- Pope Benedict's Divine Mercy Mandate by David Came 2009 ISBN 978-1-59614-203-9
- Ann Ball, 2003 "Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices." ISBN 0-87973-910-X page 174
- Pope John Paul II. "Homily for Faustina at Vatican website".
- Vatican Biography of Faustina Kowalska
- Tim Drake, 2002, Saints of the Jubilee, Authorhouse ISBN 978-1-4033-1009-5 pages 85-95
- Sourcebook for Sundays and Seasons 2008 by D. Todd Williamson 2007 ISBN 1-56854-617-3 page 195
- Chaplet of Divine Mercy
- A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 63-79
- Catherine M. Odell, 1998, Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy OSV Press ISBN 978-0-87973-923-2
- EWTN description of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
- Alan Butler and Paul Burns, 2005, Butler's Lives of the Saints, Burns and Oats ISBN 0-86012-383-9 page 251
- G. P. Geoghegan, 2006, "A Collection of My Favorite Prayers." ISBN 978-1-4116-9457-6
- Marians of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M Stockbridge, MA
- EWTN on the Divine Mercy Novena
- The decree of Roman Curia about the devotions in honour of Divine Mercy
- Chaplet of The Divine Mercy - TheDivineMercy.org
- Chaplet of Divine Mercy Online
- Audio of the Chaplet
- John Paul II; George W. Kosicki, C.S.B. (retranslation) (Nov. 30th, 1980). "Encyclical Rich in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia)". Retrieved 2011-11-03.