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.

Origin, promises and recitations

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 in 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 Divine Mercy devotion is also observed by the Universal Anglican Church.

Prayer groups

The Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy group is a community that holds regular meetings in which the Divine Mercy prayers are recited. There are groups all over the world, operated by different facilitators. In total there are 16 functioning EADM groups. They can be found at:

  • Africa - Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria,Cameroon, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda
  • Asia - India, Singapore, Philippines and Samoan Islands
  • Australia - South Australia
  • Europe - Portugal
  • North America - Arizona, Florida, Texas, Saskatchewan and Toronto
  • South America - Ecuador, Brazil

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