ROME — Because Pope Benedict XVI was seen as a man of tradition, it was often easy to miss the innovative aspects of his papacy. In equal-and-opposite fashion, because Pope Francis is seen as a maverick, it’s tempting to overlook the various ways he stands in continuity with his predecessors.
Yet Francis’ signature initiative — probably the thing he would tell you he’s been building toward from the beginning, his Holy Year of Mercy — has at its core a figure straight out of the St. John Paul II playbook.
In fact, there’s a woman behind the pontiff’s jubilee: St. Faustina Kowalska, the Polish nun who launched the worldwide Divine Mercy devotion.
Faustina was an early 20th century mystic who belonged to an order called The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She reported a series of visions, captured in her 700-page diary, in which she said Jesus told her to spread devotion to his mercy under the motto, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
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