Author Susan Tassone is known as the “Purgatory Lady,” but after completing four books based on St. Faustina’s Diary she could be known as St. Faustina’s secretary. Tassone breaks down the Divine Mercy message into bite-size pieces – praying for the dead, praying for conversion, growing closer to Jesus in adoration –by showing how St. Faustina applied these in her spiritual life. Her latest book, Day by Day with St. Faustina: 365 Reflections, is a “prayer companion,” providing daily passages from the Divine Mercy message with reflections and meditations for daily life. Tassone tells us what we can all learn from St. Faustina.
Why Faustina is particularly worthwhile for today’s audience?
St. Faustina’s message was forward thinking and maybe intended more for our time. Her message seems perfectly suited to the issues roiling our country. So many of us are angry, sadly often with people we love because they do not see the world as we want them to see it. St. Faustina gives us a path to follow. She says follow God’s will. Be merciful with yourself and others. Forgive yourself and others. Share disagreements without becoming disagreeable. We can all turn to the Divine Mercy message for advice and comfort.
Tell us about your relationship with St. Faustina, how she has inspired you and helped you in your work.
I discovered St. Faustina’s Diary in the early 80s, before she was very well known, and it fascinated me. I loved to read diaries. St. Faustina invites us to learn how to live the message of conversion, to avoid purgatory and to become more faithful in praying for others, living and deceased. I pray to her and with her daily so that others can draw closer to her and know the love of God.
How is Jesus’ message of Divine Mercy similar to Mary’s messages in Medjugorje?
The message is the same. And it is in Fatima and Lourdes! Our Lady calls us to help her save souls, pray for our individual conversion and the conversion of sinners, pray for the dying, be prepared for your meeting with God, pray for the holy souls in purgatory. Pray with the heart: Rosary, Eucharist, Holy Bible, Fasting, Monthly confession. That we all do that.
St. Faustina shares all this and the value of suffering and how our daily work—included its smallest activities—can be transformed into a sacrifice for the living and the deceased when offered to God.
Out of all the saints and mystics in the Catholic tradition, what drew you to St. Faustina?
Promoting prayers for the Holy Souls has long been a personal mission dear to my heart, but it was Father Dan Cambra of the Marian Helpers who suggested writing about that in relation to St. Faustina’s Diary.
I have now written my fourth book based on St. Faustina and her diary. The first was St. Faustina Prayer Book for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, which came out in 2016. The second was St. Faustina Prayer Book for the Conversion of Sinners, published in 2017. The most recent was St. Faustina Prayer Book for Adoration, and now Day by Day with St. Faustina: 365 Reflections.
This is your fourth book drawing upon St. Faustina and her Diary. Why did you write this book?
- The Daughters of St. Paul told me that people come into their store with the Diary and tell them that they read it and now they don’t know what to do with it!
- I had another friend tell me that she listens to the Diary on CD in her car and after that wonders, “Okay, now what do I do?”
- The Divine Mercy Shrine staff told me people call in and ask if they have a Day by Day book for the Diary!
- A priest who endorsed the book said he felt a little intimidated by the depth—and length—of the visionary’s Diary.
I’m happy to say Day by Day with St. Faustina is both a comprehensive introduction to her writing AND A solid answer for those asking how to apply her teaching and example in daily life.
I am so pleased and grateful that the result is a book that doesn’t have just “a little something for everybody.” It has a lot of something for all of us, no matter how familiar—or unfamiliar you are with the diary of this great saint!
St. Faustina’s Diary is a teaching on the fundamentals of the Spiritual Life of a Christian and a vehicle for spreading the Divine Mercy message. She shows you how to draw closer to God. To put your trust in Him.
Day by Day with St. Faustina, walks you through her Diary and shows you how to apply these fundamentals in your life. If you have read the Diary, this will help you apply it.
If you have not read the Diary, this will help you walk through it. It will help you understand not only the essential elements of the Divine Mercy message (trust, works of mercy, the image a feast day, chaplet and novena) but the major themes.
Day by Day with Saint Faustina has been described as a “spiritual warehouse” revealing the beauty, truth and wisdom found in St. Faustina’s Diary. What can people expect from this book?
I discovered there are key themes in the Diary that were repeated over and over again throughout the Diary. So, I did not pick out arbitrary quotes from the Diary. These major themes were scattered throughout the diary. I put them in an organized fashion and wove them throughout the book.
In order for an art form to speak to today’s modern world it has to draw from universal themes and present them in a fresh way. This book does just that. I fleshed out the teachings and in contemporary language, used images and eye-opening analogies and reflections to help you apply them in your life.
The reflections and prayers are fresh and original. I think you will be surprised and I hope you will enjoy them! St. Faustina gave us a lot of material to work with!
What has stood out for you most in her Diary and the Divine Mercy message; is there anything that surprised you?
It was the love of God that took my breath away. He loves us more than anybody can. And we were chosen before time to be with Him for all eternity!
In one of my favorite quotes, St. Faustina writes: When I received Holy Communion, I said to Him, “Jesus, I thought about You so many times last night,” and Jesus answered me, And I thought of you before I called you into being. “Jesus, in what way were You thinking about me?” In terms of admitting you to My eternal happiness. After these words, my soul was flooded with the love of God. I could not stop marveling at how much God loves us (Diary, 1292).
Jesus says to her, if I call creatures into being, that is the abyss of My mercy. He could have called anybody into being, but He picked you and me; it’s a tremendous grace to be born. Faustina tells us: He doesn’t need us. He is self-sufficient.
What makes this book unique? How does it stand out from other books that have been written about St. Faustina?
This is what makes the book so different and unique. This has never been done before! We walk you through the Diary and help you apply it to your everyday life. The book is read-able, pray-able, use-able. To help you become a saint! What God is calling you to be! And to grow in your love of divine mercy day by day.
In addition, the book is done liturgically. You can pick up the book anytime of the year and focus on that particular month tied into the liturgical season. For example, March is focused on Lent, the passion, suffering and sacrifice. May is all about Mary and her relation to Faustina and us. Our Lady shares what pleases her most (Hint: doing the will of God). What virtues are dear to her and God (Hint: humility, purity, and love of God). And of course, November is focused on purgatory. December includes love became Incarnate. God’s infinite love for you and much more!
We also include Feast days of Our Lord and Our Lady, Saints Feast Days. All moveable feast days. St. Faustina’s Order, the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, had special Feast Days that were important to the Order. The guardian angels were designated as one of its patrons. Every convent has a statue of St. Michael. In a special way we shared her revelations on them.
The diary of St. Faustina once was forbidden due to a faulty translation. Thanks to the papacy of St. John Paul II, St. Faustina has become a household Catholic name. Given the state of the world today, what part of Jesus’ message to Faustina does our world need to hear today?
The Divine Mercy message is the same as it was in St. Faustina’s time. It applies to us now more than ever. The Lord wants to remind us of his infinite mercy and love. He told Faustina these are his greatest attributes. He does not derive pleasure from the death of the wicked, but to turn from his evil way that he may live.
Also, I think Bishop Thomas Olmsted captured that message in his Foreward of the book:
“As we walk through life in this “valley of tears,” we are often beset by trials of various kinds. We experience temptations, the misery of our weaknesses and sinfulness, conflicts with others, misunderstandings, and more. It can be encouraging for us to know that many saints experienced similar struggles, and we can learn much from them about how to navigate the stormy waters of life in this world.”
The secret for St. Faustina was constant prayer. We learn from her Diary that she brought everything to the Lord in prayer, then listened to Him and received all that He wanted to tell her. In this way, St. Faustina was led day by day and even moment by moment into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, the source of her happiness. She teaches us to do the same.”
What encouragement would you give to someone who has not been able to make it through the entirety of Faustina’s diary?
Day by Day with St. Faustina walks you through the treasury of the Diary’s major teachings, insights, and revelations plus her day to day thoughts and advice on how to live a Christian life. Through this book Faustina encourages us to be who we are called to be. To do God’s will. Fulfill your mission on earth, and trust in Him.
You can go to the Diary at any point and look up the passages that peak your interest, or want to know more about it. I share the themes, beauty, and comfort the Diary offers all of us. It’s a grace- filled nudge that encourages each of us to read the Diary itself.
Hopefully Day by Day with St. Faustina will help you feel more comfortable in doing that.