Sanctuary of Divine Mercy
ul. Siostry Faustyny 3-5
This is one of the most important sanctuaries in the world: every year millions of pilgrims from various countries arrive here to contemplate Divine Mercy by the grave of Saint Sister Faustina and the Jesus, In You I Trust painting.
The new basilica was built in the 20th/21st centuries by the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Popularly known as “Magdalenki” from the name of Saint Mary Magdalene, the patron saint of the institutions that they run for fallen girls and women, the sisters settled here late in the 19th century. Buried in the convent’s Chapel of St Joseph is Sister Faustina Kowalska (died in 1938), whose visions initiated devotion to Divine Mercy. In 1931 Christ in white robes with two rays leaving his pierced heart showed himself to Sister Faustina and ordered the establishment of the Holiday of Mercy on the first Sunday following Easter. The image of Christ described by Sister Faustina endures for posterity in a painting with an inscription Jesus, In You I Trust. According to the accounts of the saint, the rays (the red denotes blood, and the pale – water) symbolise the holy sacraments and the Church born from the pierced side of the Lord. They are also a reminder of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, whose biblical symbol is water.
During the Second World War, many pilgrims came to the chapel to pray by the painting, which is considered to be miraculous. Their number included Karol Wojtyła, who would, already as a priest and later bishop, celebrate solemn services praising Divine Mercy by the image of Christ famous for the graces. In 2000, as Pope John Paul II, he canonised Sister Faustina.
During the pontificate of the Polish Pope, the devotion to Divine Mercy spread all over the world, and copies of the painting are venerated on all the continents. A complex of modern buildings, today the world’s largest centre of devotion to Divine Mercy, developed by the original nunnery. Standing among them are two special places of prayer: the old Chapel of St Joseph, and the new Divine Mercy Basilica designed for around 5000 people and consecrated in 2002 by Pope John Paul II, who used the opportunity to entrust the whole world to Divine Mercy. The shape of the church alludes to the rays that issue from the heart of the Lord in the vision of Sr Faustina.
Every year Kraków is a destination for millions of pilgrims from all over the world. The Divine Mercy Sunday gathers thousands of faithful devotees. Every day, in the Hour of Mercy (at 3pm), the congregation remember the moment of Christ’s death on the cross and pray for mercy for the world.
Be sure to see:
- relics of Saint Sister Faustina in a side-altar in the old church, below the Jesus, I trust in you painting, and a marble kneeler for pilgrims, holding a relic of the saint
- the high altar in the new church with a painting of Merciful Jesus emphasised by the lights, and Kraków’s largest stained glass window decoration (148 m²/1600 ft²) presenting the sign of Divine Mercy: a cross of light against the sun
- freestanding Chapel of Perpetual Adoration: a monument of gratitude to God for the pontificate of John Paul II
- a viewing tower reached by 315 steps or a lift, which in good visibility commands a beautiful panorama of the Tatra Mountains
Information about the Sanctuary, registration of pilgrim groups, lectures, booking masses, visiting the panoramic tower, and Communio Sanctorum Chapel:
+48 12 351 88 00, 12 252 33 11, 12 252 33 33, fax 12 263 79 97
Masses: Mon-Sat: 9am, 10:30am, 12pm (midday), 3:20pm, 6pm, Sun and religious holidays 9am, 10:30am, 12pm (midday), 1:30pm, 3:20pm, 6pm
by public transport: trams 8, 10, 19, and 22;
by car: from Zakopiańska Street turn into Siostry Faustyny Street (access to the car park for passenger cars only) or from Turowicza Street turn into Motarskiego Street (coach parking);
by coach: follow the signposts to the car park in Motarskiego Street; from the car park take the paved walk to the Basilica
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