Find inspiration and strength in the lives of these Holy Men and Women, each a reflection of Christ’s Mercy throughout his or her life.

Let us open our hearts to the demonstrations of Mercy found in each of the following stories.

Read the paragraphs below to learn more about the Saints of Mercy. May we, inspired by their examples, respond to God’s call to be merciful to others.

St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney, (Patron Saint of parish priests) was a true shepherd of God’s love and mercy. Through powerful Spiritual Works of Mercy, St. John Vianney dedicated his life to nurturing lost souls of sinners and inspired them with the truth of God’s mercy: “God Himself runs after the sinner and makes him return to Him.”

Saint John Vianney taught his parishioners primarily by the witness of his own life. It was from his example that they learned to pray, halting frequently before the tabernacle for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. His reputation as a confessor and director of souls made him known throughout the Christian world. He became internationally notable for his priestly and pastoral work in his parish because of the radical spiritual transformation of the community and its surroundings. He heard confessions of people from all over the world for the sixteen hours each day, and his life was filled with works of charity and love.

As he explained to himself and his flock: “There are no two good ways of serving God. There is only one: serve him as he desires to be served.” He considered this the golden rule for a life of obedience: “Do only what can be offered to the good Lord.”

St. Faustina

Saint Faustina had taken deeply into her heart God’s gospel command to “be merciful even as your Heavenly Father is merciful.”

Saint Faustina was born Helena Kowalska in a small village west of Lodz, Poland on August 25, 1905. She was the third of ten children. In the 1930’s, Sister Faustina received from the Lord a message of mercy that she was told to spread throughout the world. She was asked to become the apostle and secretary of God’s mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God’s plan of mercy for the world. Her entire life, in imitation of Christ’s, was to be a sacrifice – a life lived for others.

Through her, the Lord Jesus communicates to the world the great message of God’s mercy and reveals the pattern of Christian perfection based on trust in God and on the attitude of mercy toward one’s neighbors.

On February 22, 1931, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ appeared to this simple nun, bringing with Him a wonderful message of Mercy for all mankind. Saint Faustina tells us in her diary under this date:

“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.”

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, calling her the “Little Flower”.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a French Carmelite nun, was born on January 2, 1873. She is popularly known as “The Little Flower of Jesus” or simply, “The Little Flower”.

Thérèse has been a highly influential model of sanctity for Catholics and for others because of the “simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life”. Together with St. Francis of Assisi, she is one of the most popular saints in the history of the church. Pope Pius X called her “the greatest saint of modern times”.

Thérèse felt an early call to religious life, and overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of 15, she became a nun and joined two of her elder sisters in cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy. After nine years as a Carmelite religious, she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24. Her feast day is on October 1.

The spirituality and message of St Thérèse of Lisieux became known to millions through the publication of her autobiography Story of a Soul a year after her death.

“For me prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial, as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.” St Thérèse

Blessed Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in India, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor, and she was often referred to as the “Angel of Mercy” by her supporters and followers. Mother Teresa lived her life as a symbol of God’s mercy, responding to Christ’s call to give up everything and serve among the poorest of the poor. “I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ.”

During her early years as a young nun, Mother Teresa became a novitiate of the Sisters of Loreto in Darjeeling, India, and went on to take her Final Profession of Vows to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. With profound empathy and a fervent devotion to her faithful cause Mother Teresa inspired young women and laypeople from around the world to join her in her life of charity, service and selfless love. With the support of her volunteers, Mother Teresa went on to develop a vast and effective international organization of missionaries to serve impoverished citizens across the globe.

In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. She died in September 1997 and was beatified in October 2003.

For her unwavering commitment to aiding those most in need, Mother Teresa stands out as one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century. Despite the enormous scale of her charitable works and the millions of lives she touched with her acts of mercy and love, to her dying day she held only the most humble conception of her own achievements. Summing up her life Mother Teresa said, “As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”

St. Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II considered sharing the message of Reconciliation and Divine Mercy his personal task from God. He lived with a burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love would reach all the inhabitants of the earth and fill their hearts with hope.

Pope Saint John Paul II served as Pope from 1978 to 2005. As Pope he designated the second Sunday of Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday in a surprise announcement at the canonization, on April 30, 2000, of Sister Faustina Kowalska. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with world religions during his papacy, and he upheld the Church’s teachings on such matters as artificial contraception and the ordination of women, but also supported the Church’s Second Vatican Council and its reforms.

One of the most well-remembered moments of his pontificate was his intimate, one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. It was a holy moment in which he expressed gentle attention and forgiveness, acting as a true reflection of Christ’s mercy. Pope John Paul lived the faith he preached—completely unafraid of the vulnerability in forgiveness—and became an example of mercy and humanity for the entire world.

In 1981, at the Shrine of Merciful Love in Italy, John Paul II stated:

“How much the world is in need of the mercy of God today! In every continent, from the depths of human suffering, a cry for mercy seems to rise. In those places where hatred and the thirst for revenge are overwhelming, where war brings suffering and the death of innocents, one needs the grace of mercy to pacify the minds and the hearts and make peace spring forth. In those places where there is less respect for life and human dignity, one needs the merciful love of God, in whose light we see the ineffable value of every single human being. Mercy is needed to ensure that every injustice may find its solution in the splendor of truth.”

On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed Venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on May 1st, 2011, Divine Mercy Sunday. Saint Pope John Paul’s voice for the Catholic Church has carried the tender and beautiful messages of ecumenism, forgiveness, and redemption, and has blessed the life of all the faithful.