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Trust and Mercy

(for St. Maria Faustina and Sister Sabastiana Gabinowska)

By Paul A. White

She tried, she wanted to,

but she knew she should not

take on her perpetual vows

because she had no hope in God.

Or anything else. So she went

to confide in Sister Faustina,

who later became a Saint

for relaying messages

and visions of God’s mercy.

She wrote about it all her life.

In a barren cell with a cot,

a matchstick chair,

and a narrow window near the sky,

Sister Faustina told her

such distrust hurts Jesus

like a nail between the bones

of his right hand.

She said she would pray.

Sister Gabinowska promised

that after her perpetual vows

she would practice trust.

Still hopeless, she delayed.

When finally she took her vows

she began to show symptoms

of an irrevocable psychosis

and she was sent to the hospital.

When the Germans invaded Poland

she was taken away and executed

with the rest of the mental defectives.

How much she wanted to, how she tried,

it has to count for something.

Where else could she have gone

but to find the face of mercy. Contributor’s Note: PAUL A. WHITE lives in Cheektowaga and is a registered nurse working in pediatric home care. Diagnosed as schizophrenic at age 17, he has made writing a daily practice for more than 20 years. His chapbook, “The Difficult Gift,” published in 2011 by Jeanne Duval Editions of Atlanta, contains poems about his affliction, its treatment and his recovery. His recent work focuses on mysticism and divine mercy, which will the subject of a conference to be held Saturday at Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna.

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