WHAT TO SEE: Mercy shall be theirs
Faustina: Love and Mercy
Kamila Kaminska, Maciej Malysa, Janusz Chabior
107 min. • Not Rated
The now-familiar Divine Mercy image originated with a vision of Christ given to Sister Faustina Kowalksa, a young member of a convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland – to whom Jesus appeared in 1931. The private revelations and messages she received over several years, faithfully recorded in a diary as directed by her confessor, provide the basis for the popular modern devotion to Divine Mercy and the relatively new feast day that bears its name.
The new docudrama Faustina: Love and Mercy provides a window into the brief life and work of St. Faustina, whom Pope St. John Paul II canonized in 2000 as the “first saint of the new millennium.” Screened at select theaters in special one-night engagements last fall, the film could soon see a third theatrical release before becoming available on DVD or through streaming services.
Filmed in Polish with voiceovers in English, Faustina impressively portrays the young nun’s early life, her spiritual struggles, her relationship with her spiritual director (Bl. Fr. Michal Sopocko), her visions, and her death in 1938 at the age of 33. It fell to the priest to spread devotion to Divine Mercy and to found a religious order dedicated to the same, tasks Jesus had asked of St. Faustina.
The film describes the growth of the devotion and its suppression in 1959, which was lifted by the Vatican in 1978 through the efforts of one Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope St. John Paul II.
The history of the original Divine Mercy image itself is covered in detail, from the painstaking process of having it painted accurately to its survival despite years of communist religious repression.
What comes through in Faustina: Love and Mercy is the holiness of St. Faustina and the urgency of her message: that we must seek God’s mercy in repentance, extend mercy to others, and place all our trust in Jesus.
GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer