Saints Who Exemplified Mercy - by Erin Allen

March Virtue of the Month: Mercy 
by Erin Allen - 6th-grade Student and Student Council Chaplain

Mercy is showing compassion and forgiveness to all those who are afflicted. Sometimes that affliction can be spiritual through the loss of faith. As Catholics, we are called to demonstrate this virtue in our daily lives, in every interaction we have. To help us live out this virtue, we have many saints we can look up to as examples. Throughout the rest of the month of March, ask St. John Vianney and St. Faustina Kowalska in your prayers to strengthen our ability to show Mercy, so we can one day live like them in Heaven. 

St. John Vianney: St. John Vianney, born in 1786, was one of the most dedicated Catholics ever known. At age 19, he entered the Seminary and was ordained after a priest who tutored him saw the dedication St. John Vianney had to his faith. After his ordination, St. John Vianney was sent to Ars, France, a small town of only 50 Catholic families, where nobody practiced their faith. Even though he was ready to hear confessions and celebrate Mass, nobody ever came. He wanted them to return to their faith, so he prayed to God every night for a long time, and eventually, his prayers were answered. The families were finally coming to Mass. Even people from all over France were coming to hear St. John Vianney's homilies and have their sins forgiven. Ars became one of the most Catholic cities in France for a very long time, even though St. John Vianney passed away at age 73 in 1859. He was canonized in 1925 and is the patron saint of parish priests. 

St. Faustina Kowalska: Helena Kowalska, born in 1905, lived in Glogowiec, Poland, with the constant feeling of God’s call in her heart. She found that call impossible to ignore when she was 20 years old. In 1925, she officially entered a convent and took up the name Faustina. One evening on February 22nd, 1931, St. Faustina had a vision of Jesus with two rays, one white and one red, coming out of his heart. He told St. Faustina to paint a picture of Him as He appeared, and all those who honored it would be saved. Jesus then instructed St. Faustina that the Sunday after Easter was to be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. St Faustina did as she was told, and showed people the picture she painted when she asked them to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. At first people didn’t believe her, but in 1933 her efforts began to move forward with help from her spiritual mentor. By 1935, thousands of people were celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday. Although she passed away in 1938, Saint Pope John Paul II helped to spread Divine Mercy Sunday all over the world. St. Faustina was canonized on April 30th, 2000, and her feast day is October 5th.