By the Pope's decree of 1927 the Gate of Dawn Madonna picture, which was called the Image of the Holy Mother of Mercy, was crowned with papal crowns. The coronation ceremony was celebrated with the highest sacred and national importance - the golden crowns were put on by the papal nuncio.
One of the reasons this image of the Mother of Mercy is so important is because this Image came alive to St. Faustina and Mary spoke to St. Faustina and encouraged her to continue to fulfill the holy Will of her son. This image is displayed in an archway known in Vilnius as the "Gates of Dawn".
In the 16th Century, a large wall was built around the city of Vilnius, Poland to protect them from their enemies. The Gates of Dawn was the most dangerous part of this wall and they put an Image of the Mother of Mercy in the archway of this wall for protection. The history of Vilnius records that this section of the wall has gone unharmed in spite of all the various wars and battles that have taken place in its proximity.
The Mother of Mercy Image has also become known for its miraculous power and there is a long history of people in Vilnius publicly declaring that they were healing while praying to the image of the Mother of Mercy. In 1993, Pope John Paul II visited this shrine and prayed the Rosary there.
Holy Mother of Mercy
On the evening of the last day [November 15, 1935] of the Novena at Ostra Brama, after the singing of the litany, one of the priests exposed the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance. When he placed it on the altar, I immediately saw the Infant Jesus, stretching out His little arms, first of all toward His Mother, who at that time had taken on a living appearance. When the Mother of God was speaking to me, Jesus stretched out His tiny hands toward the congregation.
The Blessed Mother was telling me to accept all that God asked of me like a little child, without questioning; otherwise it would not be pleasing to God. At that moment, the Infant Jesus vanished, and the Mother of God was again lifeless, and Her picture was the same as it had been before. But my soul was filled with great joy and gladness, and I said to the Lord, "Do with me as You please; I am ready for everything, but You, O Lord, must not abandon me even for a moment." (Diary 529)
It was in April 1935 in the Holy Mother of Mercy Chapel where the image of The Divine Mercy was first made available for public veneration. It was at the end of a Jubilee year, and Jesus commanded Sr Faustina to have this ceremony done on the Sunday after Easter; the first "Divine Mercy Sunday." Father Sopocko presented a homily about The Divine Mercy. "When he began to speak (Father Sopocko) about the great mercy of Our Lord, the image came alive and the rays pierced the hearts of the people gathered there� " (Diary, 417).
"Toward the end of the service, when the priest took the Blessed Sacrament to bless the people, I saw Our Lord Jesus as He is represented in the image. Our Lord gave His blessing, and the rays extended over the whole world" (Diary, 420).
HAIL, HOLY QUEEN, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. O GOD, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Shrine of St Faustina of The Divine Mercy
P.O. Box 343288 Memphis Tn 38184
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