By Celine Klosterman
In St. Faustina Kowalska’s diary, the Polish nun describes a conversation Jesus has with souls struggling with sinfulness, despair and suffering.
Joan Maroney wants to help people feel as if Jesus is having those conversations with them. So she and her husband, Dave Maroney, will present “Tell All Souls About My Mercy,” a family-friendly, dramatic presentation highlighting St. Faustina’s revelations, at Sacred Heart Church in Fort Madison from 7-9 p.m. March 19. The event will include opportunities for reconciliation and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
“There is a long standing tradition of praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet at Sacred Heart Church,” says Father Troy Richmond, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison. “It is a devotion that has given consolation to many, especially at the time of a loved one’s death. … Family members may wonder if he or she was good enough to make it to heaven, or if they will ever see them again. The message of Divine Mercy revealed to St. Faustina is a message full of hope.”
The saint, who died in 1938, inspired Divine Mercy devotion after she said Jesus told her to spread his message of mercy and love. People at all stages of spiritual development need that message, says Joan Maroney.
If you’re struggling with sin, “the Lord is loving and calling us back to him,” she says. If you’ve been hurt, “Jesus says, ‘I will heal you.’” If you’ve fallen into despair after losing a loved one or a job, he’ll manifest himself to give you strength. And you’ll find his saving grace through the sacraments, she says.
The Maroneys’ presentation highlights such truths through dramatic readings, visual effects and meditative music. The Texas-based, nationally touring couple say their efforts help bring to life St. Faustina’s writings.
“People tell us, ‘I’ve read her diary, but this was the first time I felt Jesus was speaking to me,’” says Joan Maroney. “It’s a new level of understanding.”
She and Dave feel so passionately about the production’s power that 10 years ago she left her job in business management and he left his teaching position to go full-time with their ministry. The two make up Mother of Mercy Messengers, an outreach ministry of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception in Massachusetts.
The couple began a path toward their current roles after meeting a woman in their parish outside San Antonio who had a Divine Mercy devotion. The woman showed Joan how the image on the Shroud of Turin — the cloth many believe Jesus was buried in — is “proportionally exact” to the image of Jesus that the Lord told St. Faustina to paint, says Joan Maroney.
The similarity struck her. The woman told Joan Maroney that teams were needed to give presentations on Divine Mercy across the country, and gave her money to get started.
“It really wasn’t our idea; we were called to this ministry,” Joan Maroney says.
She and her husband have now given more than 600 presentations for more than 500 parishes and youth groups. They rely exclusively on donations. “We preach, ‘Jesus, we trust in you;’ now we have to live it,” she says.
Not that she minds. “It’s been a real blessing for us. We’re really happy to be able to do it.”
For more information or to schedule a Mother of Mercy Messengers presentation, call (830) 377-4423 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.