All of this lends to the true joy and peace within the monastery walls. The time of formation is also a time of DISCERNMENT. No woman with a true vocation feels herself a prisoner. The sister desires and seeks to deepen her solitude with God at every moment. To those women who come to try and, through their discernment, discover that this is not the life God has called them to, there is no disgrace. The Institute of Divine Mercy, which is cautious and vigilant over the vocations of each member, looks upon all the world with the eyes of Mercy. The doors open outward for those who need to return to the world as God wills of them. The Diocese is prudent in accepting aspirants who become postulants. For God calls those whom He chooses, not those the world might choose.
Also, to all readers, it is important to bring up the subject of the regular HABIT worn by the Sisters of the Institute of Divine Mercy. In February 1991, the Mother of God spoke to this Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart, requesting that this "Order" of Divine Mercy be started to fulfill all that her Divine Son revealed to then Sister Faustina Kowalska, who is now Blessed Sister Faustina. I had heard of Faustina, but had never read any of her writings. In fact, I did not even own the Diary of Faustina until late 1993 when our Blessed Mother prompted me to read it. At this time in February 1991 I was given an interior vision of the habit that the nuns were to wear·from postulancy, then novitiate through temporary profession to solemn profession. Our Blessed Mother was kind enough to give to me a detailed description of this habit, which I wrote down as dictated by the Mother of God.
This vision of a habit, and its description, are contained in the Holy Rule and Constitutions of the Institute of Divine Mercy. The Bishopās Office have adopted this Rule fully, including the habit.
I have been asked not only by the Diocese, but by others as well, if there isnāt a conflict with what Jesus gave to Blessed Faustina in her Diary "DIVINE MERCY IN MY SOUL." First and foremost, when asked this question, I took it to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and prayed ardently and with trust for Him to enlighten me, His most unworthy servant. At no time in these five-plus years has our Lord changed one word that He conveyed to me, or that His Holy Mother said to me. Over and over I have been told by both Jesus and Mary that what I saw, and what I heard, was from God, for God, with God, and in God, and thus it was Godās Will.
There is a passage in the Diary in which Faustina relates a mystical experience she received as a special grace from Jesus. In this mystical encounter she relates how Jesus clothed her in a gown of white and placed upon her shoulders a cloak of red. Jesus then told Faustina directly that this was the garment he desired the members of His future community of Divine Mercy to be clothed in.
Some have understood this to be a description of the habit that the nuns were to wear. When, in December of 1993 through the spring of 1994, I read Faustinaās Diary for the first time, Jesus called my attention to this particular passage. After I read it thoroughly, Jesus explained to me that when He clothed Faustina in white gown and placed upon her shoulders a cloak of red, it symbolized the apostolic nature of the new religious community of Divine Mercy. Thus, the white gown symbolized the purity that each nun was to strive for; a purity that most pleases Jesus and brings the soul into union with Him. The red cloak symbolized the close resemblance each sister must have to the Sacred Passion of Jesus Christ in the taking up of their crosses, in becoming for His sake a victim soul willing to be crucified with Him and to Him in whatever manner He may desire for each sister. He told me that it was mystical and not meant to be taken literally as the habit of the community. When I was given the interior vision in February, 1991, with the detailed description by the Mother of God, she told me then that it was through her appearances in this day and age, particularly at Medjugorje, that her Divine Son wished to bring about the fulfillment of all He had given to Faustina. Our Lady told me that the Holy Spirit was working powerfully in the Church, and that this new community dedicated to Divine Mercy, would have a perpetual devotion to her, the Mother of God, as their Mother, Mistress and Queen.
The belt is black, as are stockings and shoes. The fifteen decade Rosary which is hung from the belt is also black. The veil is long, and gracefully folds over the arms, so the solemnly professed sister may be fully focused on Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Font of Divine Mercy. The headpiece covers all but the face, but does not bind. The white bib symbolizes chastity, falling gracefully over the chest and shoulders. A crucifix will hang just below the edge of the bib and below this will be the symbol of the Institute of Divine Mercy silk-screened on the front of the Scapular. From novitiate through the rest of her religious life, the sister will wear this symbol as a sign to her and to the world of Divine Mercy. This symbol, shown at the end of this article, depicts the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus in the center of the cross, the anchor of our faith. The rays of Divine Mercy flow out from His Heart in all directions·to all corners of the world forming a monstrance, since the Most Blessed Sacrament is the "heart and soul" of the nunsā devotional life and total commitment to perpetual adoration in constantly calling down Divine Mercy upon the world.
All of this I have put in writing and submitted, along with the approved Rule and Constitutions to the Bishop and his representatives. Before God, I cannot deny what I saw and what I was told by the Mother of God. Jesus and His Blessed Mother have not altered anything in these years of beginning. Thus, with humble heart, I submit this Heaven-sent explanation to you and to all who might read this paper in the sincere, heartfelt hope that any questions or concerns that may be out there will be allayed through the Mercy of Jesus Christ.
It is also vital to mention one last thing. There is still a great need for your generous DONATIONS to the BUILDING FUND. It is the request of the Bishop that a permanent Monastery Motherhouse be built for the Institute of Divine Mercy in the outlying area of Dallas. There have been offers of land, but no final decision has yet been reached on that and thus if you have LAND to offer, please write to the Institute of Divine Mercy to inform the Bishop of your offer. Any donation you can make to help build this Monastery will be deeply appreciated. On behalf of all the principals of the Institute of Divine Mercy, I have been asked to express their deepest gratitude for the response so far but there is still much to do. God cannot be outdone in generosity, and it is He alone Who will thank you, while we, His instruments, strive to live out our own mission to establish this Institute, continuing to permit His cloistered brides to call down Divine Mercy upon all the world in these end times.
If you would like to know more about the Institute of Divine Mercy and/or donate to this worthy cause, you may send your tax-deductible check or money order to: Institute of Divine Mercy, 8351 San Fernando Way, Dallas, TX 75218.
In the next issue we will begin to re-examine the need for prayer and why Divine Mercy is so important in these times as we near the Millennium by harkening back to the Messages of LaSalette in which Our Lady warned and prophecied that these dire times would come to the world and to her Divine Son's Holy Church.