This simple devotion introduced by St. Faustina Kowalska in 1935 focuses on God’s mercy, and is easy for kids to learn. Here’s how to pray it, plus a history of the devotion and two videos you can show your kids.
This article is adapted from The Catholic Family Book of Prayers.
This prayer was given to Saint Faustina Kowalska, a sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, in a vision of Jesus in 1935. It may be prayed with the image of Divine Mercy on hand as an object of meditation. It’s typically said with the aid of rosary beads.
Make the Sign of the Cross; if you’re using rosary beads, this would be on the crucifix. Optionally, pray the following prayers:
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
Another optional prayer, said three times, is:
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
Then say the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father), the Hail Mary (once), and the Apostles’ Creed.
For each of the five sets of beads, on the large bead, say:
ETERNAL FATHER, I offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
On each of the ten smaller beads, say:
For the sake of his sorrowful passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.
After reciting this set of prayers five times (on all five decades), conclude by saying the following prayer three times:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.
End by making the Sign of the Cross.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
The History of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament, OLM, (1905 – October 5, 1938) was a Polish nun and mystic. Her apparitions of Jesus Christ inspired the Roman Catholic devotion to the Divine Mercy and earned her the title of “Apostle of Divine Mercy.”
Throughout her life, Faustina reported having visions of Jesus that she recorded in her diary, later published as The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul.
At the age of 20, she joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Her confessor, Father Michał Sopoćko, supported her devotion to the Divine Mercy. Faustina and Sopoćko directed an artist to paint the first Divine Mercy image, based on Faustina’s vision of Jesus. Sopoćko used the image in celebrating the first Mass on the first Sunday after Easter. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II established the Feast of Divine Mercy on that Sunday of each liturgical year.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy prayer has its origin in a vision St. Faustina had on September 13, 1935. In the vision, she saw an angel sent to a city to destroy it. She began to pray for God’s mercy on the city and felt the strong presence of the Holy Trinity. After she prayed the internally instructed prayers, the angel was powerless to harm the city. In subsequent visions, St. Faustina learned that the prayers she spoke were to be taught to all the people of the world.
Although the chaplet is said on beads like the Rosary, it is about a third of the length of the Rosary, and unlike the Rosary that has evolved over the years, the form and structure of the chaplet has remained unchanged since St. Faustina attributed it to a message from Jesus.
According to St. Faustina’s account, the chaplet’s prayers for mercy are threefold: to obtain mercy, to trust in Christ’s mercy, and to show mercy to others. She wrote that Jesus promised that all who recite this chaplet at the hour of death or in the presence of the dying will receive great mercy. She wrote that Jesus said:
“….When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior.”
St. Faustina also stated that Jesus promised that anything can be obtained with this prayer if it is compatible with his will.
According to Roman Catholic tradition, the chaplet may be said at any time, but it is said especially on Divine Mercy Sunday and on Fridays at 3 p.m. (The hour Jesus died by crucifixion, 3 p.m., is called the Hour of Mercy.) The Chaplet is prayed daily at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In the Philippines, Singapore, and Hong Kong the “3 o’clock Prayer” is broadcast on radio and television stations daily at 3 p.m.
In 2000, St. Pope John Paul II ordained the Sunday after Easter Divine Mercy Sunday. It is often prayed as a novena each of the nine days from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday.
Chaplet of Divine Mercy on Video