The House Where Original Divine Mercy Image Was Painted
October 7, 2023
The house where the original Divine Mercy image was painted by Eugene Kazimirowsky in 1934 can today be visited in Vilnius, Lithuania.
From Divine Mercy Visions To Divine Mercy Image
On February 22, 1931 in Plock, Poland Jesus appeared to St. Faustina and asked her to paint the Divine Mercy image. In her diary St. Faustina writes, “In the evening when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand [was] raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale. In silence I kept my gaze fixed on the Lord; my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy. After a while, Jesus said to me, 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.
I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.” (Diary, 47-48)
It took nearly three more years of doubts, difficulties and multiple encouragements from Jesus before painting of the image started. In 1933, St. Faustina met her confessor Bl. Fr. Sopocko in Vilnius who soon introduced her to Eugeniusz Kazimirowski – the artist who started painting the image in January 1934 and finished it in June 1934, under St. Faustina’s direction.
We do not know exactly why Bl. Fr. Sopocko chose Kazimirowski to paint the image but one of the main reasons probably was that both men knew each other as they rented apartments in the same house on Rasu Street in Vilnius.
Eugene Kazimirowski was born on November 11, 1873 studied at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts 1892-1897 as well as in Munich, Paris, and Rome. He moved to Vinius after World War I and taught at the Vinius Teacher Seminary. In 1936 he moved from Vilnius to Bialystok, Poland where he died on September 23, 1939.
Kazimirowski painted the image in the same house where he and Bl. Fr. Sopocko lived, in his studio on the first floor. St. Faustina would come every week to observe how the image was painted and to offer changes in the image she thought were needed. From St. Faustina’s Diary we know how especially concerned she was about Jesus’s face in the image being not as beautiful as His face in the visions she saw. St. Faustina writes in her Diary, “Once, when I was visiting the artist [Eugene Kazimirowski] who was painting the image, and saw that it was not as beautiful as Jesus is, I felt very sad about it, but I hid this deep in my heart. When we had left the artist’s house, Mother Superior [Irene] stayed in town to attend to some matters while I returned home alone. I went immediately to the chapel and wept a good deal. I said to the Lord, “Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?” Then I heard these words: Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace.” (Diary, 313).
It is not known if Kazimirowski was a devoted Catholic or what his thoughts about St. Faustina’s visions were. Did Bl. Fr. Sopocko chose Kazimirowski to paint the image only because he was his neighbor and/or the only artist he knew? Did Bl. Fr. Sopocko chose Kazimirowski because of the artist’s deep Catholic faith or maybe complete opposite – was Kazimirowski not a devoted Catholic at all and Bl. Fr. Sopocko hoped that painting the image would benefit Kazimirowski’s spiritual growth? We do not know the answers to these questions but can be confident that St. Faustina and Bl. Fr. Sopocko both prayed for the soul of the man who was so instrumental in painting the image that would later become one of the key elements of the Divine Mercy devotion.
How To Visit The House Where The Original Divine Mercy Image Was Painted
The house where the original Divine Mercy image was painted is within a walking distance of two other important Divine Mercy pilgrimage sites in Vilnius: (1) The Gate of Dawn chapel (where St. Faustina prayed, had visions in front of the miraculous Mother of Mercy image and where the Divine Mercy image was publicly venerated for the first time on April 26-28, 1935) and (2) the Divine Mercy shrine (which today hosts the original Divine Mercy image). The house where the image was painted though is not as frequently visited by pilgrims as the two other sites. The house currently belongs to the Sisters of Merciful Jesus (congregation founded by Bl. Fr. Sopocko). Its door is usually locked but if you ring the bell, sisters will let you in and allow you to pray in the room (currently chapel) where the image was painted.
The address of the house is 4A Rasu Street, Vilnius, Lithuania. If you walk from the Gate of Dawn chapel, walk through the arc under the chapel and then turn left on M.Dauksos Street, go straight until the street ends and you will be in front of Rasu Street with a few old buildings on a small hill. Cross Rasu Street, turn slightly left and look for the building 4A on the hill.
Marius Z. is writing about travel to holy places in Israel, Italy, Poland, France, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal and other countries. He writes about how to make pilgrimages inexpensive or even free while using credit card rewards points, frequent flyer miles, and hotel rewards points. History and spiritual message of each holy place is presented along with the information on where to eat, shop and stay while on a pilgrimage.