Thought for the Day – 15 February – Saint Claude de la Colombiere and Blessed Michael Sopoćko share a few things in common

Thought for the Day – 15 February – the Memorial of St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) Apostle of the Sacred Heart and Blessed Michal Sopoćko (1888-1975) Apostle of Divine Mercy

Saint Claude de la Colombiere

and Blessed Michael Sopoćko

share a few things in commonbl sopocka and st claude 15 feb 2019.jpg

We celebrate the feast day of Blessed Michael Sopoko today, 15 February, which makes for a perfect opportunity to discuss one of the more curious details in the life of St Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938), known today as the Lord’s “secretary” of Divine Mercy.

So what’s so curious?

Amazing parallels can be drawn between St Faustina’s confessor, Blessed Sopoćko and the confessor of another saint — and “secretary” — St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), who received the revelations of the Sacred Heart in the 1670s.

In other words, the similarities between the holy priests Blessed Michael Sopoćko (1888-1975) and St Claude de la Colombiere, SJ (1641-1682), both of whom died today and, therefore, we celebrate their entry into life today.

Blessed Sopoćko , ordained to the priesthood over 100 years ago, served as confessor and spiritual director to St Faustina Kowalska, who received revelations of the Divine Mercy in the 1930s.   Saint Claude served as confessor and spiritual director of St Margaret Mary Alacoque, who received the revelations of the Sacred Heart in the 1670s.

So here is where the parallels begin. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, like St Faustina, had doubts at first about her revelations.   For both young women, it was their confessors who played a large role in alleviating their doubts and encouraging them to embrace the special role the Lord seemed to be placing upon them.

But the parallels get even better.   Since St Margaret Mary Alacoque led a cloistered life — quiet and humble — it was her confessor who carried the burden of spreading the Sacred Heart message and devotion to the outside world.   This was the same situation with Fr Sopocko, who led the efforts to introduce the public to Faustina’s powerful private revelations and who arranged for the Lord’s requests of Faustina to be accomplished.   That includes hiring a painter to paint the image of the Merciful Saviour, now among Christianity’s most recognised images.

Here’s another interesting fact:

Saint Claude Colombiere died today, 15 February, the same day Blessed Sopoćko died. And 15 February, also happens to be St Faustina’s name day — the day of her patron saint, St Faustus.

Of course, when considering how the devotions to Divine Mercy and the Sacred Heart so strongly compliment each other, these details are far more than “curious.”   Certainly, they are Divine Providence at work, right?st claude and bl michal 15 feb 2019.jpg

Dr Robert Stackpole, STD, director of the St John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, a lay apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, notes, “Much like the traditional devotion to the Sacred Heart, our Lord gave to St. Faustina new forms in which His Merciful Heart was to be honoured and new vessels for a fresh outpouring of His grace. Namely, the Image of Divine Mercy; the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and, of course, a new feast for the universal Church — the Feast of Divine Mercy, intended for the Sunday after Easter.”

None of these parallels have escaped the attention of Fr Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, a world-renown expert on the life of St Faustina and the message of Divine Mercy.

He notes that it took 300 years for Fr Claude Colombiere to be canonised.
“And here, Fr Sopoćko died in 1975 and he’s already beatified [in 2008],” Fr Seraphim says.

So what does his rapid rise to the honours of the altar, mean for us?

“That God is in a hurry to get His message out,” says Fr Seraphim.BlSopockoStFaustina

Adapted from the Library Archive of The Divine Mercy – (Felix Carroll Feb 13, 2014)

Read Dr Stackpole’s series that explores the relationship between The Sacred Heart and The Divine Mercy. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

St Claude de la Colombiere, Pray for Us!st-claude-pray-for-us-15-feb-2017.jpg

Blessed Michal Sopoćko, Pray for Us!bl michal sopocka pray for us no 2 15 feb 2019.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – 15 February – St Claude & Blessed Michal

Quote/s of the Day – 15 February – the Memorial of St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) Apostle of the Sacred Heart and Blessed Michal Sopoćko (1888-1975) Apostle of Divine Mercy

“Lord, I am in this world to show Your mercy to others.
Other people will glorify You, by making visible the power of Your grace,
by their fidelity and constancy to You.
For my part I will glorify You,
by making known how good You are to sinners,
that Your mercy is boundless
and that no sinner, no matter how great his offences,
should have reason to despair of pardon.
If I have grievously offended You, My Redeemer,
let me not offend You even more,
by thinking that You are not kind enough to pardon me.”for-my-part-i-will-glorify-you-st-claude-de-la-colombiere-15-feb-2018.jpg

“God is more honoured by a single Mass
than He could be by all the actions of angels
and men together, however fervent and heroic they might be.
Yet, how FEW hear Mass with the intention of giving God
this sublime honour!
How FEW think with joy on the glory a Mass gives to God.
How FEW rejoice to possess the means of honouring Him
as He deserves! . . .
If we only knew the treasure we hold in our hands!”god-is-more-honoured-by-a-single-mass-st-claude-15-feb-2017

“When the Holy Spirit is in a soul,
He communicates Himself
in one way or another.
We can say,
that He makes virtue contagious
and turns a simple faithful
into an apostle!”

St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682)when the holy spirit is in a soul - st claude de la colombiere - 15 feb 2019

“Prayer is necessary to receive the help of God,
as grain is needed to harvest … a humble and trustful prayer,
for what is necessary for salvation,
is never lost.
It is heard at least by the fact,
that it begs for the grace,
to abide in prayer.”prayer is necessary - bl michal sopocka 15 feb 2019

“The decisive factor in obtaining God’s Mercy is trust.
Trust is the expectation of someone’s help.
It does not constitute a separate virtue
but is an essential condition of the virtue of hope
and an integral part of the virtues of fortitude and generosity.
Because trust springs from faith,
it strengthens hope and love
and is, moreover, linked up, in one way or another,
with the moral virtues.
It may, therefore, be called the basis on which,
the theological virtues unite with the moral.
The moral virtues, originally natural,
become supernatural,
if we practice them with trust in God’s help.”

Blessed Michal Sopoćko (1888-1975)the moral virtues - bl michal sopocka 15 feb 2019.jpg


One Minute Reflection – 15 February – Nothing else, than the body that proved itself superior to death and became the source of our life.

One Minute Reflection – 15 February – Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Today’s First Reading: Genesis 3:1-8 and the Memorial of St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) Apostle of the Sacred Heart and Blessed Michal Sopoćko (1888-1975) Apostle of Divine Mercy

“The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom.   So she took some of its fruit and ate it and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her and he ate it.”...Genesis 3:6

REFLECTION – “Those who have been tricked into taking poison, offset its harmful effect, by another drug.   The remedy, moreover, just like the poison, has to enter the system, so that its remedial effect, may thereby spread through the whole body.   Similarly, having tasted the poison, that is the fruit, that dissolved our nature, we were necessarily in need of something to reunite it.   Such a remedy had to enter into us, so that it might by its counteraction, undo the harm the body had already encountered from the poison.   And what is this remedy?   Nothing else, than the body that proved itself superior to death and became the source of our life.”…St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–c395) Father of the Church (Catechetical Oration, 27)genesis 3 6 the woman saw that the fruit was good - those who have been tricked - st gregory of nyssa 15 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, Your great mercy, gave us Your Son!   Surely nothing can be a greater proof to us of Your unending love and mercy to Your lowly creatures, we who are dust.   Through Him, who died and rose for us, You have shown us the way of true mercy. Grant us this day that by the intercession of St Claude and Blessed Michal, we may take up our crosses with Him, never leaving the love of His Sacred Heart, so that we may join Your holy saints in eternal life.   Through Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever,

bl michal sopocka pray for us - apostle of divine mercy 15 feb 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – 15 February – Help Me, O Lord that I may be Merciful

Our Morning Offering – 15 February – The Memorial of Blessed Michał Sopoćko (1888-1975) Apostle of Divine Mercy

Help Me, O Lord that I may be Merciful
St Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)

“Help me, O Lord, …
that my eyes may be merciful,
so that I will never be suspicious
or judge by appearances
but always look for what is beautiful
in my neighbours’ souls
and be of help to them…
That my ears may be merciful,
so that I will be attentive to my neighbours’ needs
and not indifferent to their pains and complaints.…
That my tongue may be merciful,
so that I will never speak badly of others
but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.…
That my hands may be merciful and full of good deeds.…
That my feet may be merciful,
so that I will hasten to help my neighbour,
despite my own fatigue and weariness.…
That my heart may be merciful,
so that I myself will share
in all the sufferings of my neighbour.”

(Extract from Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska, 163)
This prayer was used by Pope Francis for the Year of Mercy 2015 to be universally prayed by the me o lord that I may be merciful st faustina - 15 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 15 February – Blessed Father Michał Sopoćko (1888-1975) Priest, Apostle of Divine Mercy

Saint of the Day – 15 February – Blessed Father Michał Sopoćko (1888-1975) Priest, Apostle of Divine Mercy, Professor of Pastoral Theology at Vilnius University, Founder of Congregation of Sisters of Merciful Jesus, Chaplain during WWII.   He is best known as the Spiritual Director of Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938).   Patronage – Białystok.sopocko.jpg

Michał Sopoćko was born on 1 November 1888 in Nowosady (Juszewszczyzna), then under Imperial Russia.   The Czarist authority persecuted the Catholic Church as well as both the Polish and Lithuanian people within in its territories.   In the Sopoćko family, of noble lineage, the Polish and Catholic traditions were conserved and developed.   The young Michal matured in this religious and patriotic atmosphere.   Motivated by a desire for unconditional service to God, the Church and humanity, he entered the Major Seminary in Vilnius.   On 15 June 1914, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Franciszek Karewicz.Sopoćko.jpg

For four years (1914-1918) he worked as a parochial vicar in Taboryszki, where he opened two mission churches at Miedniki and at Onżadòw, as well as various schools.

As informed by someone that the German authorities may arrest him, he left the parish and went to Warsaw.   There he became a military chaplain for the Polish army.   While dedicated to his ministry as chaplain, he enrolled as a student in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Warsaw and from which he obtained a doctoral degree.   At the same time, he graduated from the National Pedagogical Institute.   In 1924, he became a co-ordinator of the regional military chaplaincies, based in Vilnius.

In 1927, Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski entrusted to him the responsibility of being Spiritual Director for the Major Seminary.   During this same period he taught for the faculty of Theology at Stefan Batory University, also in Vilnius.   He eventually requested the Archbishop to release him from both the military pastoral care and from the seminary duties.   His desire was to dedicate himself entirely to theological pursuits.   In 1934, he received the title of ‘docent’ in pastoral theology.   While teaching, he never forgot the importance of pastoral service.   He was rector of St Michael Church and also served as confessor for Religious Sisters.

One of the most significant events of Fr Sopoćko’s life occurred in 1933, when he became the Spiritual Director of Sr (now Saint) Faustina Kowalska of the Congregation of Sisters of Mary Mother of Mercy.  He continued to assist the Saint after his transfer to Łagiewniki and where she died on 5 October 1938.   As her confessor, he undertook a thorough evaluation of Sr Faustina’s mystical experiences concerning devotion to the Divine Mercy.   Following his advice, she wrote of these in her “Diary.”   To this day this remains a spiritual classic.BlSopockoStFaustina

The Divine Mercy devotion became a life-giving inspiration for Fr Sopoćko.   Due to his assistance and under the direction of Sister Faustina, the artist Eugeniusz Kazimirowski painted the first portrait of Jesus as the Divine Mercy. PRC-116-Blessed-Sopocko1-fr

Fr Sopoćko wrote extensively on the subject of the Divine Mercy and, in 1938, he established a committee charged with building the Divine Mercy Church in Vilnius. However, this attempt had to be halted due to the onset of World War II.   But despite the war and German occupation, Fr Sopoćko persisted in his efforts to promote the devotion to the Divine Mercy. sopockodivinemercy1

Filled with zeal, he constantly helped those who were oppressed and threatened with extermination, for example, numerous Jewish people.  Fortunately, he managed to avoid arrest and imprisonment.   In 1942, along with his fellow seminary professors and students, he was forced to go into hiding near Vilnius.   He remained concealed for two years.   Yet it was during that very time when Fr Sopoćko played a major role in establishing a new Religious Congregation.   According to the revelations of Sr Faustina, this Congregation was to promote love for the Divine Mercy.   After the War, he wrote the Congregation’s constitution.  And he became actively engaged in the growth and development of what we know as the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine michal sopocko art.jpg

In 1947, Archbishop Jałbrzykowski, for two years at Białystok with his diocesan Curia, sought that Fr Sopoćko come to the same city.   He accepted a position as professor in the Archdiocesan Major Seminary.   There he taught pedagogy, catechetics, homiletics, pastoral theology and spirituality.   Additionally, he continued to further the apostolate of the Divine Mercy.   He also made serious efforts to obtain official approval for the Divine Mercy devotion from the Church authorities.   Fr Sopoćko worked tirelessly on the biblical, theological and pastoral bases by which to explain the doctrinal truth concerning the Divine Mercy devotion.   His publications were translated into numerous languages including: Latin, English, French, Italian and michal

Fr Michal Sopoćko died on 15 February 1975, in his apartment on Poleska Street.   He was popularly acclaimed for his sanctity.   He was buried in the parish cemetery in Białystok. Following the inauguration of the process for his Beatification, his body was moved to the Church of the Divine Mercy (30 November 1988)…

Fr Michal’s cause for beatification was started at the Vatican in 1987.   In 2004, St Pope John Paul II issued a decree on the virtues of Father Sopoćko.   In December 2007, Pope Benedict XVI approved of a miracle through his intercession.   His solemn beatification took place on Sunday 28 September 2008, at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Białystok.ksiadz-Sopocko.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 15 February

St Agape of Terni
Bl Angelus de Scarpetti
St Berach of Kilbarry
St Claude de la Colombierre SJ (1641-1682)
Beautiful St Claude:

St Craton
St Decorosus of Capua
St Dochow
St Druthmar of Corvey
St Eusebius of Asehia
St Farannan of Iona
St Faustinus
St Faustus of Monte Cassino
St Georgia
St Joseph of Antioch
St Jovita
Bl Michał Sopoćko (1888-1975) Apostle of Divine Mercy

St Onesimus the Slave
St Quinidius of Vaison
St Severus of Abruzzi
St Walfrid

Martyrs of Antioch: 5 saints
A group of Christians murdered together. We know the names of five of them – Agapev, Baralo, Isicio, Joseph and Zosimus.

Martyrs of Passae:

Martyrs of Prague – 14 beati – Franciscan Friars Minor martyred together by a mob led by Lutherans –
Franciscan Friars Minor martyred together by a mob led by Lutherans.
• Blessed Antonín of Prague
• Blessed Bartolomeo Dalmasoni
• Blessed Bedrich Bachstein
• Blessed Christoffel Zelt
• Blessed Didak Jan
• Blessed Emmanuel of Prague
• Blessed Gaspare Daverio
• Blessed Giovanni Bodeo
• Blessed Girolamo degli Arese
• Blessed Jakob of Prague
• Blessed Jan of Prague
• Blessed Juan Martínez
• Blessed Klemens of Prague
• BlessedSimon of Prague
They were martyred on
• Shrove Tuesday 15 February 1611 at the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Prague, Czech Republic
• body dumped nearby but given Christian burial on 19 February 1611 in the monastery
• re-interred in the side chapel of the church in 1616.
13 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI

Martyrs of Sweden:

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Pere Vallmitjana Abarca