The Image of the Divine Mercy

The Image of the Divine Mercy

"My gaze from this image is like My gaze from the cross"




The Image of the Divine Mercy

The earliest element of the Devotion to the Divine Mercy revealed to St. Faustina was the Image. On February 22nd, 1931 Jesus appeared to her with rays radiating from His heart and said, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I trust in You.  I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and throughout the world. (Diary 47)

I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as My own glory. (Diary 48)

I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature" :Jesus, I trust in You." (Diary 327)

The two rays denote Blood and Water. the pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him. (Diary 299)

Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush, lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace. (Diary 313)

By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works. (Diary 742)

Diary, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (c) 1987 Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, MA 01263. All rights reserved.




"My gaze from this image is like My gaze from the cross" (Diary, 326).

"I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces
to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature:
Jesus, I trust in You"
(Diary, 327).

"By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces,
so let every soul have access to it"

(Diary, 570).

A fragment of the first image of Merciful Jesus, painted in Vilnius in 1934.

© The Congregation of Sisters of Merciful Jesus 

In these texts the Church's doctrine on images, justification and grace are explained. First, by itself an image is merely a painting, no matter how beautiful and expressive. Yet, it can point us the mysteries of the faith and dispose us to grasp and receive what it represents, in this case the Divine Mercy. It is thus a vessel, not the source, a reminder, not the reality. The reality is the merciful fountain of grace flowing from the pierced Heart of Christ on the Cross, and flowing out visibly to represent the visible, that is the sacramental, signs of grace, Baptism and Eucharist, standing for all the sacraments of the Church. Thus, St. John in his first letter insists on the presence of the invisible with the visible, the Spirit with the water and the Blood. 

The image also reminds us that salvation is not just by faith, but by works of charity also. It takes faith to see and believe in what the Image signifies, Divine Mercy poured out from Christ upon the Cross, but it takes mercy, love going beyond the strict requirements of justice, in order to draw down mercy on oneself. "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us" (Mt 6:12) and  "the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you" (Mt 7:2) The Image of the pierced side of Christ pouring out blood and water reminds us that the Cross, love in action, is the price of mercy. "As I have loved you so also should you love one another."  (Jn 13:34) 



by Adolf Hyla in Cracow Lagiewniki

In 1943 - ten years after the first image of Merciful Jesus was painted in Vilnius and five years
after s. Faustina died in Cracow, artist Adolf Hyla visited the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow - Lagiewniki. He wished to make a painting which he wanted to give
to the monastic chapel as a votive offering for saving his family from war accidents.

The sisters suggested that he may paint the image of Merciful Jesus. They presented to the artist,
as a image to be copied, reproduction of the first picture painted by Kazimirowski with s. Faustina’s participation. They attached the description of the image, contained in s. Faustina’s diary.
The artist performed the entrusted work according to his own idea. As the size of the donated picture did not fit in the altar of the sister’s chapel, Mother Irena Krzyzanowska ordered another picture. That picture was blessed and placed in the convent chapel in Cracow- Lagiewniki,
where it is still venerated.
The artist presented the image of Merciful Jesus against the background of a meadow and shrubs looming afar. Following Fr. Sopocko’s suggestion in 1954, the background was darkened and
a floor was painted under Jesus’ feet.
The image donated by Adolf Hyla as a votive offering, was placed at the Sacred Heart Church
in Wroc³aw. This church is connected with the Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy
(see footnotes in S. Faustina’s Diary, p. 487, 488, 495).

After the World War II (1939-1945), the first image of Merciful Jesus, painted by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski with sister Faustina’s participation in Vilnius, ended up in the USSR, where because of cruel persecution of Catholics, thousands of people for a few dozen years had to conceal their faith in God. Also the image was concealed.
Availability of an another image in Poland perhaps has become a providential diverting of attention from the miraculous "Divine Image" (called so by John Paul II in 1993 in Vilnius).
Since there was no other way to save the "Divine Image".
Furthermore, the numerous restorations and repainting carried out at that time affected disadvantageously the appearance of the image. The paraffin coat applied by the conservator effectively protected the picture against humidity, however it simultaneously changed the intensity of its original colours. Such treatments concealed its artistic value for many years.

Following the thorough conservation in 2003, the image regained its clear significance of the message. The subtle figure of the Merciful Savior appearing in the dark afar directs the praying people’s attention to the mercy rays light flowing from the Heart opened on the Cross.

"I saw two rays coming out from the Host, as in the image,
closely united but not intermingled..."
(Diary, 344).

"The two rays (in the image) denote blood and water. The pale ray stands for the water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the blood that is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross" (Diary, 299).

The image painted in St Faustina’s presence (Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, Vilnius 1934).

The image painted after St Faustina’s death (Adolf Hyla, Cracow, 1944).

The image painted by Adolf Hyla undoubtedly contributed largely to the development of
the worship of the Divine Mercy. This is confirmed by the reported graces received through it.
Yet, its popularity has not diminished the importance of the first image painted in Vilnius - exactly according to the pattern bequeathed by Our Lord Jesus. This image was duly exposed in the high altar of the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Vilnius, where surrounded by the prayers of nuns
and pilgrims it receives public veneration.

"My gaze from this image is like My gaze from the cross" (Diary, 326).

"Today I saw the glory of God which flows from the image. Many souls are receiving graces, although they do not speak of it openly. Even though it has met up with all sorts of vicissitudes, God is receiving glory because of it; and the efforts of Satan and of evil men are shattered and come to naught. In spite of Satan’s anger, the Divine Mercy will triumph over the whole world and will be worshiped by all souls" (Diary, 1789).

The first image of Merciful Jesus, placed since 1987 at the Holy Spirit Church in Vilnius, did not arouse any special interest in pilgrims or church authorities. The lack of appropriate exposure conditions contributed to further disadvantageous changes in its matter. It was only in July 2001 that with the consent of Fr Miroslaw Grabowski, parish priest at the Holy Spirit Church, the Congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus could attend this unique, invaluable image with care.
This congregation for many years has made efforts to publicize the image of Merciful Jesus, the one which came into existence in the atmosphere of God’s miracle - s. Faustina’s prayer and suffering, her presence and her participation.
Thanks to the sisters’ efforts and dedication, in April 2003 the picture was thoroughly restored at the convent’s chapel in Vilnius. All overpaintings were removed, all damages repaired, and the stains resulting from dampness and attempts to remove them with chemicals were eliminated. The conservation restored the image’s primary appearance.


Before conservation After removal of varnish After removal of overpainting
Close-up before conservation In the process
of removing overpaint
After removal of overpainting
Removing overpaint Consolidation of the original artist’s painting

Despite the thorough conservation, the condition of the painting’s fabric was weakened considerably. It was recommended that it should be exposed in appropriate conditions, complying with the conservator’s recommendations. The conservation works were entrusted to Mrs Edyta Hankowska-Czerwinska from Wloclawek, Poland, an art conservator and graduate from the Fine Arts Faculty of the Mikolaj Kopernik University in Torun.


Vilnius (Lithuania)

(The DIARY of Saint Faustina) PLOCK, Poland "22 February, 1931
In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw Our Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in the gesture of blessing; the other was touching the garment, at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, and the other pale. In silence I kept my gaze fixed on Our Lord; my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy. After a while, Jesus said to me, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature:
Jesus, I trust in You.

(...) I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death.
(...) I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; That Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy. I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not to be afraid to approach Me. (...)

Once, exhausted because of these various difficulties that had befallen me because of Jesus speaking to me and demanding to paint this image, I made up my mind to approach Father Andrasz before my perpetual vows, and to ask him to dispense me from all these interior inspirations and from the duty of painting this image. After having heard my confession, Father Andrasz gave me this answer: "I will dispense you from nothing, Sister; it is not right for you to turn away from these interior inspirations, but you must absolutely - and I say, absolutely - speak about them to your confessor; otherwise you will go astray despite the great graces you are receiving from God. For the present you are coming to me for confession, but understand, Sister, that you must have a permanent confessor; that is to say, a spiritual director". I was very upset by this. I thought that I would get myself free from everything, and it turned out quite the opposite - an explicit command to follow the requests of Jesus. And now, another torment, as I had no permanent confessor.
(...) But the goodness of Jesus is infinite; He had promised me visible help here on earth and a little while later I received it in Vilnius, in the person of Father Sopocko. I had already known him before coming to Vilnius, thanks to an interior vision. One day I saw him in our chapel between the altar and the confessional and suddenly heard a voice in my soul say "This is the visible help for you on earth. He will help you carry out My will on earth"
(Diary, 47-53).

The task given to s. Faustina by Our Lord Jesus seemed humanly impossible, as she did not have the basic artistic skills that were necessary. In spite of this, in her effort to be obedient to God’s Will she tried to paint the image by herself, yet it didn’t work out. Our Lord’s insistence upon her to accomplish this task, together with the distrust of s. Faustina’s confessors and superiors, became a cause of great personal suffering for s. Faustina. After three years in Plock she was moved to Warsaw, but even there she was continually thinking about the uncompleted task demanded by Our Lord Jesus who let her feel how important this task was in God’s Plans.

"Suddenly, I saw Our Lord who said to me: Remember, that if you neglect the matter of the painting of the image and the whole work of Divine Mercy, you will be responsible for a multitude of souls on the Day of Judgment" (Diary, 154).

After Sister Faustina has taken the perpetual vows, she was moved to Vilnius. There she met the visible help on earth that had been promised to her - a confessor and a spiritual leader, Fr Sopocko, who took upon himself the task to realize the Lord Jesus’ ’demands.

"Led by curiosity of what kind of image it would be, rather than by belief in the authenticity of these apparitions, I asked an artist painter Eugeniusz Kazimirowski to paint this image" (Father Sopocko, Memories).

Fr. Sopocko familiarized the painter with the mission of s. Faustina to some extent and obliged him to keep it secret. This respected and thoroughly educated painter, who proved worthy of painting the image, had finished his artistic studies in Cracow under the tutelage of Luszczakiewicz, Axentowicz and Wyczolkowski. Granted a scholarship, he studied in Lvov, Munich and Paris. He enriched his qualifications at St. Luke’s Academy in Rome. Painting upon s. Faustina’s instructions, the artist had to give up his own artistic conceptions in an effort to present a genuine replica of what s. Faustina related to him. She visited the artist’s workshop at least once a week, for a half of a year, in order to point out mistakes and indicate details that needed to be included. She tried to reveal the Image of the Merciful Jesus, as it appeared in her vision, as closely as possible. Fr. Sopocko, founder of the painting, also took an active part in its creation, posing at the painter’s request clothed in an alb. The time of collaborative effort of painting the image became an occasion to ascertain precisely the contents of the image. Our Lord Jesus Himself clarified the questions in dispute (Diary 299; 326; 327; 344). Very significant was s. Faustina’s discussion with Our Lord Jesus on the topic of the accomplished image:

"When I was visiting the artist who was painting the image, and saw that it was not as Jesus is, I felt very saw about it, but I hid this deep in my heart. (…) Mother Superior stayed in town to attend to some matters while I returned home alone. I went immediately to the chapel and wept a good deal. I said to Our Lord: Who will paint You as beautiful as You are? Then I heard these words: Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace" (Diary, 313).

From this conversation emanates the sincerity of a person gifted with a supernatural grace,
who in her mystical experiences has seen the beauty of the Risen Savior. Our Lord Jesus often appeared to s. Faustina as He was shown in the image (Diary 473; 500; 851; 1046; 1565),
and also requested many times that the painted image be available for veneration by the faithful. This suggests that Our Lord Jesus accepted the painted image - blessing it by His living presence.

Thanks to the efforts of Fr. Sopocko, the image of the Merciful Savior was displayed at the solemn closing of the Jubilee Year of Redemption, April 26-28, 1935, in Vilnius (Lithuania), at the chapel
of Our Lady of the Mother of Mercy, where it received honor for the first time from the numerous faithful who come to pray. The celebration coincided with the first Sunday after Easter as Our Lord Jesus had requested. s. Faustina took part in the celebration and Fr. Sopocko preached a homily on the Divine Mercy.

"For three days it was exposed and received public veneration. Since it was placed at the very top of a window at "Ausros Vartu", it could be seen from a great distance. During these three days, the closing of the Jubilee of the Redemption of the World was being celebrated, at "Ausros Vartu", marking the nineteen hundred years that have passed since the Passion of our Savior. I see now that the work of Redemption is bound up with the work of mercy requested by Our Lord" (Diary, 89).

"When the image was displayed, I saw a live movement of the hand of Jesus, as He made a large sign of the cross. In the evening of the same day, (...) I saw the image going over the town, and the town was covered with what appeared to be a mesh and nets. As Jesus passed, He cut trough all the nets..." (Diary, 416).

When I was at "Ausros Vartu" to attend the ceremony during which the image was displayed, I heard a sermon given by my confessor (Father Sopocko). This sermon about Divine Mercy was the first of the things that Jesus had asked for so very long ago. When he began to speak about the great Mercy of Our Lord, the image came alive and the rays pierced the hearts of the people gathered there, but not all to the same degree. Some received more, some less. Great joy filled my soul to see the grace of God" (Diary, 417).

"Toward the end of the service, when the priest took the Blessed Sacrament to bless the people, I saw Our Lord Jesus as He is represented in the image. Our Lord gave His blessing, and the rays extended over the whole world. Suddenly, I saw an impenetrable brightness in the form of a crystal dwelling place, woven together from waves of brilliance unapproachable to both creatures and spirits. Three doors led to this resplendence. At that moment, Jesus, as He is represented in the image, entered this resplendence through the second door to the Unity within" (Diary, 420).

The festivities at "Ausros Vartu" were a public manifestation of the power of the Divine Mercy.
For s. Faustina, they were a sign and the fulfillment of foretold graces.

Shrine of Our Lady above the "Eastern Gate" ("Ausros Vartu")
to the city of Vilnius (Lithuania)

In the later correspondence with Fr. Sopocko, sister Faustina writes: "God allowed me to understand that He is happy with what is already done. Immersed in prayer and in the closeness to God, I experienced a deep calmness inside my soul, concerning all this work. (...) And now concerning these images (smaller copies), (...) Little by little people buy them and many souls experience God’s grace, which flows through this source. As with everything, this also will go slowly. These pictures are not as beautiful as the big image, but they are being bought by people attracted by God’s Grace .." (From a letter, Cracow, February 21, 1938).

On April 4, 1937, with the permission of the Metropolitan of Vilnius, Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski, the Image of Merciful Jesus, after the positive opinion of experts, was consecrated and exposed for veneration in the Church of St. Michael in Vilnius, where it began to be more
and more worshipped. A committee of experts appointed in 1941 upon the Metropolitan’s order confirmed the positive opinion that "the Image was artistically made and it presented the precious output in modern religious art". (From the minutes of the Committee assessing and discussing
the preservation of the Image of Merciful Jesus in the Church of St. Michael in Vilnius, dated May 27, 1941, signed by the experts : M. Morelowski Ph. D., Professor of the History of Art, Fr. L. Puchala, Ph.D., Professor of Dogmatism, and Fr. P. Sledziewski, Ph. D., art conservator).

Further to war operations (1939-1945), the Image of Merciful Jesus ended up in USSR, and became unavailable for pilgrims to view for a few decades. Nevertheless, despite the many menaces, (hidden for many years in the attic, rolled, kept in humidity and frost, ineptly repaired many times), thanks to a miraculous dispensation of Providence, it survived the communist regime. Throughout the following years the image could be found in: the Church of Saint Michael in Vilnius (1937-1948); the Church in Nowa Ruda in Belorus (1949-1986); the Church of Holy Spirit in Vilnius (1987-2005). Since 2005, it has been venerated in the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Vilnius.

During his pilgrimage to Lithuania on September 5, 1993, Pope John Paul II prayed before the Image of the Merciful Jesus. In his speech to the people gathered, he called the Image


Throughout the entire history of apparitions, there has been only one known case in which
Our Lord Jesus commanded a painting of his own image and conveyed its artistic design.
After the image was painted, He appeared a number of times to s. Faustina proving His personal living presence as it was shown in the painted image. Moreover, through the promise of special graces for the worshippers of this painting, He determined its extraordinary religious value.

"By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces,
so may every soul have access to it
" (Diary, 570).

The image in the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Vilnius.

"Today, I saw two enormous pillars implanted in the ground; I had implanted one of them, and a certain person, S. M. (Sopocko M.), the other. (...). These two pillars were close to each other, at the image width. And I saw the image, raised up very high and hanging from these two pillars. In an instant, upon these two pillars, both inside and outside, there stood a large temple. I saw a hand finishing the temple, but I did not see the person. There was a great multitude of people, inside and outside the temple, and the torrents issuing from the Compassionate Heart of Jesus were flowing down upon everyone" (Diary, 1689).



Fr Sopocko’s personal statements (saved on audiotapes) indicate that he left sister Faustina complete freedom in cooperation with the painter. At the same time he confirms in his statements that this image was painted exactly upon her indications. The extreme diligence in presentation
of the Savior’s Divine Image as memorized is emphasized by the fact that the image from the picture perfectly matches the size of the figure in the Shroud of Turin.


St. Faustina Kowalska . ..... . The Devotion to the Divine Mercy . . . .. . The Image . . . .... The Feast of Divine Mercy . ......................The Novena to the Divine Mercy . . .. . . The Chaplet to the Divine Mercy. . ............ Indulgences .............................................................. . The Promisses of Jesus. . . .. . . . The Hour of Divine Mercy. . ........... The Second Coming . . ......... Audio&Vidio. . . . . . . . . .............. . . ... Leggi il Diario on-line (In Italien only)






















































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