OF IMAGES OF MERCIFUL JESUS
by Adolf Hyla in Cracow Lagiewniki
In 1943 - ten years after the first image
of Merciful Jesus was painted in Vilnius (Lithuania) and five years after
s. Faustina died in Cracow (Polonia), artist Adolf Hyla visited the Congregation
of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow - Lagiewniki. He wished
to make a painting which he wanted to give to the monastic chapel as a
votive offering for saving his family from war accidents.
The sisters suggested that he may paint
the image of Merciful Jesus. They presented to the artist,
as a image to be copied, reproduction of the first picture painted by
Kazimirowski with s. Faustinas participation. They attached the
description of the image, contained in s. Faustinas diary.
The artist performed the entrusted work according to his own idea. As
the size of the donated picture did not fit in the altar of the sisters
chapel, Mother Irena Krzyzanowska ordered another picture. That picture
was blessed and placed in the convent chapel in Cracow- Lagiewniki,
where it is still venerated.
The artist presented the image of Merciful
Jesus against the background of a meadow and shrubs looming afar. Following
Fr. Sopockos suggestion in 1954, the background was darkened
and a floor was painted under Jesus feet.
The image donated by Adolf Hyla as a votive offering, was placed at the
Sacred Heart Church
in Wroclaw (Polonia). This church is connected with the Convent of the
Sisters of Our Lady
of Mercy (see footnotes in S. Faustinas Diary, p. 487, 488, 495).
After the World War II (1939-1945), the first image
of Merciful Jesus, painted by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski with sister Faustinas
participation in Vilnius, ended up in the USSR, where because of cruel
persecution of Catholics, thousands of people for a few dozen years had
to conceal their faith in God. Also the image was concealed.
Availability of an another image in Poland perhaps has become a providential
diverting of attention from the miraculous "a Holy Image" (called
so by John Paul II in 1993 in Vilnius).
Since there was no other way to save the "a Holy Image".
Furthermore, the numerous restorations and repainting
carried out at that time affected disadvantageously the appearance of
the image. The paraffin coat applied by the conservator effectively protected
the picture against humidity, however it simultaneously changed the intensity
of its original colours. Such treatments concealed its artistic value
for many years.
Following the thorough conservation in 2003, the image
regained its clear significance of the message. The subtle figure of the
Merciful Savior appearing in the dark afar directs the praying peoples
attention to the mercy rays light flowing
from the Heart opened on the Cross.
"I saw two rays coming out from the Host, as
in the image,
closely united but not intermingled..." (Diary, 344).
"The two rays (in the image) denote blood and
water. The pale ray stands for the water which makes souls righteous.
The red ray stands for the blood that is the life of souls. These two
rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized
Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross" (Diary, 299).
The image painted in St Faustinas presence (Eugeniusz Kazimirowski,
The image painted after St Faustinas death (Adolf Hyla, Cracow,
The image painted by Adolf Hyla undoubtedly contributed
largely to the development of
the worship of the Divine Mercy. This is confirmed by the reported graces
received through it.
Yet, its popularity has not diminished the importance of the first image
painted in Vilnius - exactly according to the pattern bequeathed by Our
Lord Jesus. This image was duly exposed in the high altar of the Shrine
of the Divine Mercy in Vilnius, where surrounded by the prayers of nuns
and pilgrims it receives public veneration.
"My gaze from this image is like
My gaze from the cross" (Diary, 326).
"Today I saw the glory of God which flows
from the image. Many souls are receiving graces, although they do not
speak of it openly. Even though it has met up with all sorts of vicissitudes,
God is receiving glory because of it; and the efforts of Satan and of
evil men are shattered and come to naught. In spite of Satans
anger, the Divine Mercy will triumph over the whole world and will be
worshiped by all souls"
The first image of Merciful Jesus, placed since
1987 at the Holy Spirit Church in Vilnius, did not arouse any special
interest in pilgrims or church authorities. The lack of appropriate exposure
conditions contributed to further disadvantageous changes in its matter.
It was only in July 2001 that with the consent of Fr Miroslaw Grabowski,
parish priest at the Holy Spirit Church,
the Congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus could attend this unique,
with care. This congregation for many years has made efforts to publicize
the image of Merciful Jesus, the one which came into existence in the
atmosphere of Gods miracle - s. Faustinas
prayer and suffering, her presence and her participation.
Thanks to the sisters efforts and dedication, in April 2003 the
picture was thoroughly restored
at the convents chapel in Vilnius. All overpaintings were removed,
all damages repaired,
and the stains resulting from dampness and attempts to remove them with
chemicals were eliminated. The conservation restored the images
PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION OF THE CONSERVATION
OF THE PAINTING
||After removal of varnish
||After removal of overpainting
|Close-up before conservation
||In the process
of removing overpaint
|After removal of overpainting
||Consolidation of the original artists painting
Despite the thorough conservation, the condition
of the paintings fabric was weakened considerably. It was recommended
that it should be exposed in appropriate conditions,
complying with the conservators recommendations. The conservation
works were entrusted
to Mrs Edyta Hankowska-Czerwinska from Wloclawek, Poland, an art conservator
and graduate from the Fine Arts Faculty of the Mikolaj Kopernik University
>> HISTORY OF THE FIRST IMAGE OF MERCIFUL JESUS
© The Congregation of Sisters of Merciful Jesus