In what follows, we’ll look at the “Major Patrons” and the “Minor Patrons” of the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy. Actually, we’ll start with the “Super Patrons” — called such because they’re greater than all other saints. (Included with the name of each patron is their feast day or memorial. Of course, the main “feast day” of the Marian Missionaries is Divine Mercy Sunday.)
The Immaculate Mother of God (Dec 8)
This is the great feast of Mary and Mercy, because our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Conception was the most magnificent gift of mercy ever shown to a creature.
This mystery also serves as a reminder that in the present time of mercy, God wants to make great saints according to the pattern of the Immaculate Conception, meaning that he wants to give great gifts of holiness without any merits on our part. After all, Mary did nothing to deserve the gift of mercy that is the Immaculate Conception — rather, for her, it was a totally free gift. So also are the gifts of the time of mercy: We did nothing to deserve them.
Finally, the mystery of the Immaculate Conception served as the great inspiration for St. Maximilian Kolbe, who provides much of the vision for Marian Missionary spirituality, especially his powerful insights into the union between Mary and the Holy Spirit, the created Immaculate Conception and the uncreated Immaculate Conception, respectively.
St. Joseph (March 19)
St. Joseph is invoked as a protector of the Marian Missionaries, particularly because he is mentioned in the Diary of St. Faustina as being a special supporter of the work of spreading Divine Mercy (1203).
Also, because of his closeness to Mary, he helps us live our consecration to her. Each Marian Missionary is encouraged to make and renew the nine-day consecration to St. Joseph in the appendix of 33 Days to Greater Glory every March 19th. (A minor celebration would be May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.)
Finally, because St. Joseph’s heart has expanded to the point that he is a spiritual father for all of humanity, he reminds Marian Missionaries that their goal is to also have greatly expanded hearts. (See M-1, “The Heart of a Saint.”)
St. John Paul II (Oct. 22)
He is a key inspiration for the spirituality of the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy, because he consistently taught and emphasized the importance of Marian consecration, Divine Mercy, and the spirituality of communion that was the basis of the Second Vatican Council. He also authoritatively confirmed the prophetic message of Saints Thérèse of Lisieux and Faustina Kowalska that now is the time of mercy. Finally, he recognized that the Second Vatican Council is “the great grace of the 20th century” and the source of renewal for the Church in the modern world, especially through its “universal call to holiness.” Along these lines, he powerfully endorsed and encouraged the ecclesial movements in the Church on Petecost Sunday, 1998, movements which are composed primarily of laypeople, and he provided the foundational inspiration for what would become the ecclesial movement of the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy on that day. (See Our Story, “Fr. Gaitley’s Story.)
St. Thérèse of Lisieux (October 1)
This Doctor of the Church teaches essentials of the Marian Missionary spirituality: the Little Way (of mercy) and the Offering to Merciful Love. Also, not only is she the patron saint of missionaries but her prophetic voice announces that now is the time of mercy. Finally, her Offering to Merciful Love, gives hope to all Marian Missionaries to have a “Grand Canyon-sized heart” at the moment of their deaths, despite their weakness and littlenes. (See M-1, “The Heart of a Saint.”) It is significant that she was a favorite saint of several other Major Patrons of the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy, namely, Sts. Maximilian Kolbe, Faustina Kowalska, and Mother Teresa. She helped give these saints (and all of us) permission to see Jesus through the beautiful lens of his mercy and tenderness.
St. Faustina Kowalska (October 5)
This great Apostle of Divine Mercy for our time gave us the modern Divine Mercy message and devotion, inaugurated the Apostolic Movement of Divine Mercy (of which the Marian Missionaries is a part), and serves as a prophetic voice announcing that now is the time of mercy. The Vilnius Image of Divine Mercy, which was painted under Faustina’s direction, gets to the heart of the Marian Missionary spirituality. (See Spirituality, “Through an Encounter with Tenderness.”) The Marian Missionaries also owe a great deal to her spiritual director, Blessed Michael Sopocko (February 15), without whom we would not have the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska nor the Image of Divine Mercy.
St. Maximilian Kolbe (August 14)
His Militia Immaculata provides a key inspiration and example for the Marian Missionaries organization, especially through its apostolic emphasis on winning the whole world for God through Marian consecration as quickly as possible. Also, the third level of commitment in the Marian Missionaries (M-3) is inspired by his “unlimited consecration” to the Immaculata. Finally, his insights into Mary as “pure mercy” and her union with the Holy Spirit, who is the uncreated Immaculate Conception, serve as a foundation of the Marian Missionary theology of Mary.
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (September 5)
Mother Teresa is the great example one who consoles Jesus with Mary. Indeed, her whole life as a Missionary of Charity focused on quenching the thirst of Jesus with loving, joyful, trustful surrender and works of mercy. She also helps Marian Missionaries better understand Mary’s role in helping us to hear Jesus’ thirst. Consoling Spirituality, of which Mother Teresa is the greatest proponent, reveals a unique and powerful dimension of the tenderness of Jesus that serves as a basis of Marian Missionary spirituality.
Minor Patrons[Please note: The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Super Patron Saint of the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy. However, she can also be invoked under various titles. The first three Minor Patrons below refer only to the title of Mary and do not change the fact that our Blessed Mother is our Super Patron.]
Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11)
Mary revealed herself at Lourdes as “the Immaculate Conception,” which is the foundation of St. Maximilan Kolbe’s Mariology, a Mariology that the Marian Missionaries also embrace. On top of this, on February 11, 2013, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, while praying before an image of Divine Mercy on the grounds of the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Mark Middendorf, president and founder of Lighthouse Catholic Media, received a key inspiration for the founding of the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy. Therefore, this feast day has a special significance to the Marian Missionaries organization. (See Our Story, “Mark Middendorf’s Story.”)
Another key date that is not communally celebrated is May 31, the Visitation and Pentecost Sunday in the Year of the Holy Spirit, 1998. (See Our Story, “Fr. Gaitley’s Story.”) Also, February 2, 2012 was the feast of the Presentation, which is when Eric Mahl first showed up at the Shrine of Divine Mercy and also when he returned to the Shrine. (See Our Story, “Eric Mahl’s Story.”) Finally, see the next point on Our Lady of Fatima.
Our Lady of Fatima (May 13)
Our Lady of Fatima is important for the Marian Missionaries because she’s part of the “Second Greatest Story,” the witness to Divine Mercy in our time. She not only spared the life of St. John Paul II, so he could witness to the whole Church that now is the time of mercy, but through her apparitions, the Lord established devotion to the Immaculate Heart, which Marian Missionaries understand as a call to console the heart of Mary. On top of all this, the first Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy moved into the Merrell Inn on May 13, 2014, which officially began the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy.
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12)
Our Lady of Guadalupe should have a special place in the heart of every Marian Missionary because, just as the Image of Divine Mercy presents Jesus through the lens of his great tenderness, the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe presents Mary through the lens of her great tenderness, especially through her words to St. Juan Diego:
“Listen. Put it into your heart, my smallest child, that the thing that frightened you, the thing that afflicted you is nothing: Do not let it disturb you… Am I not here, I who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more?”
St. John, the Evangelist and Beloved Disciple (December 27)
The most important book for the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy is the Gospel of John. It’s the Gospel of Love (see chapters 13-17), written by the apostle loved by the Lord above all others, the one who rested his head on the Heart of Jesus while Jesus rested his head on the Heart of the Father. It’s the Gospel that most clearly reveals the goodness and love of the Father through Jesus Christ: “No one has ever seen God, the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (1:18). It’s the Gospel of Marian consecration, as Jesus says to St. John and to all of us from the Cross, “Behold, your mother” (19:27). It’s the Gospel of Divine Mercy in so many ways, but especially in that it tells us about the blood and water that gushed forth from the pierced side of Jesus (19:34) and recounts the scene in the upper room where Jesus appears to the disciples as we see him in the Image of Divine Mercy (20:19-23).
St. Ignatius of Loyola (July 31)
His spirituality is an important component of Marian Missionary formation, especially the idea of having a First Principle and Foundation and making the End-of-Day Examen.
St. Francis Xavier (December 3)
With St. Thérèse of Lisieux, he is the patron of missionaries. He is particularly helpful to Marian Missionaries because he lived Ignatian spirituality and St. Ignatius of Loyola’s directive to “Set all afire!”
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (October 16)
In a certain sense, she inaugurated in the Church the modern, prophetic thread that led to the present time of mercy. Also, she heard the Lord’s words, “Behold this Heart which loves so much yet is so little loved,” which are a focus of Marian Missionary ongoing formation. Finally, the date of her memorial, October 16, happens to be the anniversary of both the founding of the Militia Immaculata and the papal election of John Paul II.
St. Louis de Montfort (April 28)
He is the great popularizer of Marian consecration who inspired other giants of Marian consecration who came after him, notably St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa, and St. John Paul II. His declaration that a total consecration to Jesus through Mary is the “surest, easiest, shortest, and most perfect means” to becoming a saint and is a major inspiration to Marian Missionaries.
Servant of God, Catherine Doherty (December 14)
While she is hardly mentioned in Marian Missionary formation materials, she can nevertheless help Marian Missionaries better be the “eyes and ears” of mercy, specifically the “ears.” For, whereas Blessed Mother Teresa would emphasize Eucharistic Adoration as a way to learn to “see” Jesus’ presence hidden in the Eucharist so as to better recognize him hidden in the poor, Catherine would emphasize “Poustinia” (a time alone, listening to God, especially through Sacred Scripture) so as to better hear and listen to Christ speaking through the poor. She is also an important inspiration to the functioning of the Marian Missionary Community in Lee, Massachusetts, which was inspired by Catherine’s Madonna House Apostolate and follows much of her spirit.