By Father Bill Kneemiller
Many Catholics are familiar with St. Faustina’s “‘Diary,” which is a true spiritual classic, estimated to have sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Recall that St. Faustina lived in Poland in a poor convent in the early 1930s. She reported to her superior that Jesus appeared to her and instructed her to “Paint my image.” A couple of years following her vision, a professional artist came in and painted the Divine Mercy image per her descriptions. In the following decades, the image spread throughout the world and is now in many Catholic churches on every continent.
Who was this humble Polish visionary? Father Titus Kieninger, ORC, captures an intimately spiritual aspect of St. Faustina. His compact book of 171 pages, “The Angels in The Diary of Saint Faustina,” reveals her extraordinary interactions with the celestial beings. She stated that she prefers the company of angels to that of human beings:
“I demand nothing from creatures and communicate with them only in so far as is necessary… My communing is with the Angels” (p.22).
St. Faustina communed with and saw angels everywhere, and she relates these experiences as being everyday occurrences. On a train ride to Warsaw, she could see not only her “companion Angel,” but also angels who took care of different churches they passed along the route. She mentioned that her companion (guardian) angel was a source of joy and goodness to her. She gave some very direct advice to all of us: “Oh, how little people reflect on the fact that they have beside them such a guest” (p. 23).
The book covers many subjects on angels with remarkable clarity:
• The presence of angels in the life of St. Faustina.
• The angels and their relationship to God.
• The hierarchy of the angels and their relationship to us.
• The relationship of the angels to the mystery of God’s love for us.
• The role of both the guardian angels and the fallen angels.
The remarkable aspect of this coverage of these celestial beings is St. Faustina’s day-to-day experience of the supernatural. In addition, St. Faustina gives detailed accounts of the relationship of angels and God’s will and love for us. Readers see this clearly in her descriptions of the guardian angels who act as good instruments of the Holy Spirit by “consoling, illuminating, encouraging and protecting” (p.56).
I found Father Kieninger’s book very readable and a wonderful introduction to St. Faustina’s Diary, which is a classic although a little heavy for the average reader. Father Kieninger’s book provides a clear and simplified introduction to find the hidden gems in the diary. This book is available through Religious Supply in Davenport, The Mustard Seed in Iowa City, or from the Order of the Holy Cross in Carrollton, Ohio.
(Father Bill Kneemiller is chaplain at the Kahl Home in Davenport.)