sauk-centre-stampPope Francis declared an Extraordinary Year of Mercy, beginning Dec. 8, 2015, and ending Nov. 20, 2016. Bishop Donald Kettler has designated places of pilgrimage and shrines within the St. Cloud Diocese for this Holy Year, inviting the faithful to experience grace and reconciliation as they rediscover joy in the mercy of God. A pilgrimage passport to encourage people to participate in this jubilee was introduced in the Dec. 18 issue of The Visitor. The passport may also be found at Click on “Pilgrimage Passport.”

This is the third profile of the five shrines to be featured. The St. Cloud Shrine at St. Mary’s Cathedral was spotlighted Jan. 15 and the National Shrine of St. Odilia was featured in the Jan. 29 edition.

Divine Mercy Shrine of Sauk Centre


The Divine Mercy image carved by Deacon Lawrence Kaas in 1980.

Where is it?

The carving of the Merciful Jesus is located on the altar of St. Joseph in St. Paul Church, 304 Sinclair Lewis Ave., Sauk Centre.

The construction of St. Paul Church was a providence of Divine Mercy. On Sunday, April 10, 1904, Bishop James Trobec blessed the cornerstone of the church and laid it upon the foundation. This date is significant as Sunday, April 10, 1904, was the Sunday after Easter, which is now known as Divine Mercy Sunday. The blessing of the cornerstone was at 3 p.m., known as the Hour of Mercy because it was the hour of Jesus’ death. The blessing took place one year before St. Faustina was born.

On April 18, 1982, the Sunday after Easter, Bishop George Speltz blessed the Divine Mercy carving and dedicated the community along with the Diocese of St. Cloud to Divine Mercy.

What will you see?

The Divine Mercy image, also known as the Merciful Jesus carving, was carved by Deacon Lawrence Kaas in 1980. The image is made of butternut wood from the Cold Spring Saw Mill. The cross is made of white oak from northern Minnesota and the red and white rays are made of bamboo. It was carved in an iconic style with the words “Jesus, I trust in Thee.”

The image in St. Paul Church captures Sister Faustina’s image of Jesus standing before her clothed in a white garment with his right hand raised in blessing. His left hand was touching his garment in the area of his heart, from where two large rays came forth. Jesus said, “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world.” (Diary of St. Faustina, 47)

A committee of four men took to heart the message of Sister Faustina and began to spread the message of love and mercy. St. Paul Church has celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday for the past 34 years — even before it was proclaimed Divine Mercy Sunday by St. John Paul II in 2000.

Who was St. Faustina?

Sister Faustina was born Helen Kowalska in the village of Glogowiec near Lodz, Poland. At the age of 20 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. In a vision, Jesus chose her as “His Apostle and Secretary of Mercy” so she would share the urgent message of Divine Mercy with “our troubled modern world.”

In 1934, in obedience to her spiritual director, Sister Faustina began to keep a diary, which she titled “The Divine Mercy in My Soul.” This account of revelations and spiritual experiences reveals how Jesus entrusted to her the mission of announcing to the world the message and devotion to his Divine Mercy.

Sister Faustina died in 1938. The devotion was beginning to spread throughout Europe and in 1941 it was brought to the United States. St. John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2000. At that time he announced the Sunday after Easter would be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday.

What to do while you are there:

Pass through the Holy Door at the main entrance, pray at the Shrine of Divine Mercy and/or attend Mass. For information about obtaining the jubilee indulgence, see the Jan. 15 issue of the Visitor or visit:

  • Hours to visit: Daily between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Masses celebrated at St. Paul Church: Sunday, 8:30 and 10 a.m.; Tuesday, 8:15 a.m.; Wednesday, 7 a.m.; Thursday, 8:15 a.m.; Saturday 4 p.m. (The rosary is prayed before Mass; however, it is not prayed on Sunday before the 10 a.m. Mass)
  • Confession: Thursday, 4 to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 3 to 3:45 p.m.
  • The Chaplet of Divine Mercy: Follows 7 a.m. Mass on Wednesday and on Friday at 9 p.m.
  • For more information about the shrine, call St. Paul Church at 320-352-2196 or visit

Door opening
The Opening of the Door of Mercy ceremony is Sunday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. The pilgrimage and door opening will begin at Holy Family School and process to St. Paul Church for the rite and Mass. A reception follows in the church basement.