Marianists and Divine Mercy

By Brother Andrew Kosmowski, S.M.

In this Year of Mercy, we have been urged by Pope Francis to contemplate the role of Divine Mercy in our lives and to perform various corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Each diocese has at least one Holy Door, usually at the cathedral, in which we as pilgrims can walk through and, if we meet the conditions, can receive indulgences. Numerous people have decided to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy during this year, associating it with Saint Faustina Kowalska, a sister in the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. This order, and through it the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, has a Marianist connection.

In the early 1800s, Venerable Marie Therese de Lamourous, a minor noblewoman, had a vision to start rehabilitating a group of prostitutes of Bordeaux, France. The vision, a nightmare, had the prostitutes cast into Hell, saying “If you were with us, we would not be here now!” When she arrived at the Misericorde with Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, she was given a tour and at departure said, “Farewell! I’m staying!” After she settled herself, she started to write a rule of life for those who would work with these women, visiting them in jail and helping them reestablish themselves when released. Many people heard of her works, including Teresa Potoska of Warsaw, Poland. After staying a few months with the women in Le Pian-Medoc, a small hamlet outside of Bordeaux, she returned to her home city and created a similar project. From this project, the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy sprung forth. The sisters that Marie Therese started merged in 1972 with another congregation and are now called the Sisters of Mary and Joseph and Mercy.

Because of the works the Sisters of Mary and Joseph and Mercy have done, and because of their connections to Saint Faustina and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the archbishop of Bordeaux declared the chapel door at Le Pian-Medoc, the home of the Lamourous family during the French Revolution, as a Holy Door during the Year of Mercy.

Brother Andrew recently visited Le Pian-Medoc which is outside of Bordeaux, France. See the photo gallery to scroll through five photographs with descriptions from his visit.


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