Faustina story to come alive on Bishop McVinney stage

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EAST PROVIDENCE — A live theatrical one-woman production, which travels the country bringing to life for audiences the spirit and life of Polish mystic Saint Faustina — whose personal encounters with Jesus have inspired a worldwide devotion to Christ’s Divine Mercy — will be staged at the newly renovated Bishop McVinney next month.

St. Martha Parish in East Providence is hosting the production on the diocesan stage on Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m., an event parish leaders hope will draw faithful from far and wide to attend.

“The message is very important,” said Deacon Dominic DiOrio, who serves the St. Martha community. “This is really an evangelization event.”

‘Faustina,’ a live drama produced by Saint Luke Productions of Washington state, features Hollywood-based actress Maria Vargo in the title role. Vargo brings a wealth of experience in theater and film to her role as Faustina Kowalska, who was born Helena Kowalska in 1905 into a large peasant family in Poland. Faustina longed for a life with God despite being born into the underclass, with no education or prospects.

Vargo, whose wide-ranging talents include singing and song writing, said that she looks forward to sharing the message of God’s endless mercy with the world, since she has experienced his mercy in her own life.

Despite the protests of her parents of her young aspirations to join God, Faustina secretly stowed away on a train to Warsaw in an effort to become a nun after seeing a vision of Jesus encouraging her to embark on the journey.

When she reached Warsaw, she approached numerous doors of convents seeking acceptance to their orders until The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy welcomed her in. She adopted the name Sister Maria Faustina, and served for the next 25 years as a cook and gardener, until she began to experience mystical visions in 1930.

Jesus appeared to her clad in a gleaming white garment, with rays of white and red light beaming forth from his heart. The Lord asked her to paint his image with the message, “Jesus, I trust in You,” across the bottom. This marked the beginning of the observance of the Divine Mercy, a powerful devotion within the Church.

The visions continued, with Jesus giving to her a most special prayer — the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Faustina continued to receive visions of Christ, documenting them in her personal diary until she succumbed to tuberculosis in 1938.

Besides serving as a tool of education and evangelization, proceeds from the live production will benefit St. Martha Parish.

Tickets for the production, which is suitable for anyone age 13 and older, are $12.

Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy will take the stage of the Bishop McVinney Auditorium, 43 Dave Gavitt Way, Providence, on Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, call Ana at 401-749-6999 after 5 p.m., or Beverly at 401-438-5398 after 4 p.m. Also, tickets may be purchased by check to St. Martha Church, 2595 Pawtucket Ave., East Providence, RI 02914, or online at https://membership.faithdirect.net/eents/details/94.