Your purpose and that of your companions is to unite yourselves with Me as closely as possible; through love you will reconcile earth with heaven (Diary 531)
Who we are
The Franciscan Congregation of Divine Mercy is an association consisting of consecrated women, clergy, other religious, and lay persons of all ages, who strive to live Mercy in their daily lives." We are inspired by the requests of the Lord Jesus given in the Diary of Saint Faustina for a congregation, consisting of three aspects, that is to "proclaim the mercy of God to the world and,... obtain it for the world" (Diary, par. 436)
Inspiration for the three aspects.
The following diary paragraphs are the inspiration behind the three aspects of the Fransciscan Congregation of Divine Mercy. "The Lord gave me knowledge of His will under under three aspects, so to speak, but it all comes down to one."
"The first is that souls separated from the world will burn as an offering before God's throne and beg for mercy for the whole world... And by their entreaties they will obtain blessings for priests, and through their prayers prepare the world for the final coming of Jesus." (Diary, par. 1155)
Monastic-Apostolic Branch and the Fraternity Branch
"The second is prayer joined to the act of mercy. In particular, they will defend the souls of children against the spirit of evil. Prayer and merciful deeds are all that will be required of these souls, and even the poorest person can be admitted to their number. And in this egoistic worl they will try to rise up love, the mercy of Jesus." (Diary, par. 1156)
Companions of the Franciscan Congregation of Divine Mercy
"The third is prayer in deeds of mercy, without any obligation of taking vows. But by doing this these persons will have a share in all the marathon privileges of the whole (congregation). Everyone in the world can be long to this group."
"The Monastic-Contemplative Aspect of the Franciscan Congregate of Divine Mercy (FCDM) is a contemplative community of women who, through the profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, live the charism of the FCDM through seeking union with God in contemplative prayer, intercession, sacrifice, and mercy. The First Aspect is the source from which all the other Aspects spring. All the other Aspects of the FCDM share in the charism of the First Aspect, living that charism according to their respective Aspects.
The Monastic-Apostolic Branch consists of women consecrated to God through the profession of the Evangelical counsels and who also live a life of prayer and community.
The women of the monastic Branch are obliged to observe prayer and the common life as defined in our statues and our rule of life.
The mission of the Monastic-Apostolic Branch includes:
Prayer, sacrifice, and deeds of mercy
Protecting children from the spirit of evil
Service to God's people through catechesis and other endeavors focused towrd the reconciliation of each person with self, with others, and with God
Other apostice work consistent with these and with the charism of the Franciscan Congregate of Divine Mercy (FCDM)
Second Aspect Fraternity
The second Aspect - The fraternity Branch
The fraternity Branch consists of individuals devoted to God's Divine Mercy while living in the world. The fraternity branch is open to secular clergy and laity - whether Catholic or non-Catholic - who are willing to devote themselves to the charism of the FCDM and the way of life of the fraternity Branch through promises, while living in the world.
The second aspect, the fraternity of the Franciscan Congregate of Divine Mercy (FCDM) offers open spiritual formation classes. The spiritual formation classes, which are given either in person or online, are open to everyone who wants to live mercy and deepen their spiritual life.
"A member of this group ought to perform at least one act of mercy a day; at least one, but there can be many more, for such deeds can easily be carried out by anyone, even the very poorest. For there are three ways of performing an act of mercy: the merciful word, by forgiving and by comforting; secondly, if you can offer no word, then pray - that too is mercy; and thirdly, deeds of Mercy." (Diary, par. 1157, 1158)
The Third Aspect - Companions of the Franciscan Congregate of Divine Mercy (FCDM) are those - whether clergy, religious, or lay, Catholic or non-Catholic of any age - who wished to unite themselves to the charism of the FCDM through prayer and acts of mercy.
All that is required of Companions of the FCDM is that the person promises to do "one act of Mercy a day," and to pray for the "reconciliation of earth and Heaven." (Diary, par. 1158)
St Faustina wrote: "I heard these words: 'BY YOUR ENTREATIES, YOU AND YOUR COMPANIONS SHALL OBTAIN MERCY FOR YOURSELVES AND FOR THE WORLD.'" (Diary, par. 435) "God demands that there be a congregation which will proclaim the mercy of God to the world, and by its prayers obtain it for the world." (Diray, par. 436) She heard Jesus tell her, "I DESIRE THAT THERE BE SUCH A CONGREGATION. (DIARY, par. 437)" At the very beginning of Holy Mass on the following day, I saw Jesus in all His unspeakable beauty. He said to me that He desired that 'SUCH A CONGREGATION BE FOUNDED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, AND YOU SHALL LIVE IN IT TOGETHER WITH YOUR COMPANIONS. MY SPIRIT SHALL BE THE RULE OF YOUR LIFE... PENETRATE MY MYSTERIES, AND YOU WILL KNOW THE ABYSS OF MY MERCY TOWARDS CREATURES AND MY UNFATHOMABLE GOODNESS - AND THIS YOU SHALL MAKE KNOWN TO THE WORLD. THROUGH YOUR PRAYERS, YOU SHALL MEDIATE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH.' (Diary, par. 438)
The inspiration behind our mission of reconciling relationships with self, others and God. St. Faustina wrote: "I heard these words in my soul: 'YOUR PURPOSE AND THAT OF YOUR COMPANIONS IS TO UNITE YOURSELVES WITH ME AS CLOSELY AS POSSIBLE; THROUGH LOVE YOU WILL RECONCILE EARTH WITH HEAVEN, YOU WILL SOFTEN THE JUST ANGER OF GOD, AND YOU WILL PLEAD FOR MERCY FOR THE WORLD.'" (Diary, par 531)
History of the foundress
The founder of the Franciscan Congregation of Divine Mercy is Mother Mary Veronica Fitch. She was born in Minnesota and as a youth did many animal related activities including walking and training neighborhood dogs as well as her own, horseback riding, working at the veterinarians and teaching pet care classes.
She went to college at the University of Minnesota Waseca for Light Horse Management. After college she worked on her parents' horse farm as trainer, riding instructor and barn manager.
The future Sister Mary Veronica accepts her call to be a nun while living on her parents farm and working with the animals at the age of approximately 26. She has good success as a riding instructor in helping people to get closer to God and to His Church for the five and a half years it takes to sell most of the horses and the farm. Her father tells her she must use what she knows is regards her animal skills, but she is certain she is finished with animals once she leaves the farm to pursue her vocation.
When reading some diary quotes the future sister has the understanding that she is to be in the contemplative Divine Mercy Community. From then on she aims to learn as much as she can about the Diary of Saint Faustina and prepare herself for living in the Divine Mercy Community.
After years of efforts to find the community she is called to, working with some other women who might be called to begin a new Divine Mercy community and efforts to begin one on her own, she receives permission to enter a Poor Clare Community to obtain formation in religious life for two years.
She leaves the Poor Clare Community and returns in less than 4 months as a very homesick postulant. She gives up the call to the Divine Mercy Community and devotes herself to Poor Clare life.
She ends up working with animals- wild and tame - at the monastery among other duties which included work in the kitchen, on the liturgy and in the alter bread room.
After years as a Poor Clare under Solemn Vows, Sister Mary Veronica with the consent the Abbess and her council petitions Rome to leave the cloister to try to begin the Divine Mercy Community. On October 22nd 2016 after receiving permission for a 3-year exclaustration she travels to the Diocese of La Crosse Wisconsin where Bishop William P Callahan has welcomed her to try to begin the Divine Mercy Community. While living at the St Anthony's retreat center in Marathon Wisconsin she meets many wonderful people interested in being in, or helping the beginning of the Divine Mercy Community. She does her first talk about Divine Mercy in Marshfield Wisconsin at Sacred Heart Catholic Church for the close of the year of Mercy.
in May the first of the formation meetings for the Fraternity Branch begin in Marshfield Wisconsin. She and a group of supportive friends go on pilgrimage and retreat to the Divine Mercy shrine in Stockbridge Massachusetts. Sister Mary Veronica moves into the empty rectory adjoining Corpus Christi Church in Bakerville, just outside of Marshfield Wisconsin. She begins to realize that animal therapy is supposed to be a part of this community and her former Abbess and mentor confirms it. In October another Fraternity Branch group is begun in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Work continues on making the Franciscan Association of Divine Mercy a non-profit corporation. On December 7th the Blessed Sacrament is enthroned in the old rectory in Bakerville.
On July 31st the first aspirant entered for formation as an active sister in the monastic apostolic branch of the community. On the Feast of Christ the King the second aspirant came to us again for life as an active sister of the monastic apostolic branch.
On March 27th the corporation named The Franciscan Association of Divine Mercy Inc. was accepted as a 501c3 non-profit entity by the US federal government. It was accepted under United States Council of Catholic Bishops' group ruling for organizations included in the official Catholic directory. Originally the name was chosen so that it did not sound like it was a religious community as we did not have approved statutes with the Catholic church at that time. On June 26th we closed on the house, buildings and property at 118065 Kraus Street in Marshfield Wisconsin. On July third we closed on 32 acres to be used for a hay field adjoining the property. Almost immediately generous volunteers began to come out and clean up the farm and the buildings and ready it for use for our Horse Partnership Therapy program. On September 20th we got our first three Mustangs to be our future therapy horses. Sister Veronica also began new classes which met at the farm called the Difference Between Men and Women and Understanding and Living the Teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
in March we had to shut down our in-person classes and spiritual direction because of the covid lockdown. We resumed our classes live on Facebook and began a private Facebook group called Merciful Heart of Jesus Farm. On May 17th 2020 we began a public group which is now called Sisters of The Franciscan Congregation of Divine Mercy.The covid lockdown took a severe toll on our membership and participation in class. We also ended up switching to go to meeting to air the classes but this was a difficult change as well for people. Two thirds of the barn floor of the St Francis Barn was torn up, tiled and received new concrete. Before this the barn really wasn't safe because of the broken up concrete and the metal left over from the stanchions that was sticking up out of the concrete. On December 25th 2020 our statutes were approved by Bishop William P Callahan O.F.M. Conv., and we became a private Association of the faithful recognized by the Catholic Church.
On March 25th 2021 Sister Mary Veronica made vows as a Sister of The Franciscan Congregation of Divine Mercy. On that day Sister Maria Lucia and Sister Mary Francis received the Holy habit and new names and began their "Entrant" stage. We also received permission to have private exposition for our community of the Most Blessed Sacrament.On June 29th we began a new class, "Living Beyond the Past With Jesus"which has been a popular class. Volunteers and others began to come back to the farm. We began our horse and dog therapy with individuals coming out mostly children who help train our horses and dogs. October was very busy, volunteers moved our shavings storage into St Clare's granary. Our horse therapy arena was put in with blinding speed and we offered horse therapy days and dog therapy days which were a big success.
Loving volunteers and donors have continued to help us. One of the most exciting things of all is that our children's program has developed notably. We now have more activities for children of all ages. We have begun the riding aspect of our horse program. Mother Mary Veronica became a therapy dog team instructor and evaluator through the Therapy Animals Unleashed program; our first therapy dog team trained, evaluated, and certified this summer. Thank God, we have a new tack room and a new bathroom, and are beginning work on a heated multi-purpose room as well for the Saint Francis Barn. This will enable our programs to continue during the cold winter months. We are praying for you! We ask for your prayers that we may do the holy will of God in this work of Divine Mercy. May God bless and reward you!
Merciful Heart of Jesus Farm
On June 26th 2019 we closed on our current home on Kraus Street in Marshfield, WI. We have an old farmhouse, a barn with two sections, an old granary and a 60 by 120 pole shed. We also have about 38 acres of land. All of this has been obtained by donations from kind benefactors.