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In the tiny country of Poland, during the early part of the twentieth century would arise three very different individuals--Faustina Kowalska, Maximilian Kolbe, and John Paul II. Though living, at times, within fifteen miles of each other their lives would never intersect, yet their message of mercy would transform the lives of hundreds of people, Polish and those who were not. The documentary style film Ocean of Mercy tells the true story of the lives of these three influential individuals, as well describing the lasting impact they have made on this world. Journey across continents to discover new video footage, photographs, interviews with biographers and family members. As you do, be inspired by the faith and courage of the lives described in Ocean of Mercy.
Saint Faustina Kowalska
Born as Helen Kowalska in a small Polish town in 1905, Saint Faustina’s early life was far from extraordinary. As the third of ten children she was accustomed to hardship, and worked as a housekeeper for several years before entering the convent at age twenty. When she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy she took a new name “Maria Faustina” by which she is now know. In the early 1930s Saint Faustina began having what she called visions and conversations with Jesus. He asked her to become an embodiment of his deep mercy for the people of the world. Her life was one of cheerful, joyful service for others, along with a gentle humility and heart of suffering for the burdens of others. When she died in 1938 of tuberculosis, her diary--full of her conversations with Jesus, sufferings, and lessons--was published in a book. Today, she stands as an example of mercy, humility, service, and joy which viewers young and old alike will be inspired, encouraged and challenged by as they watch Ocean of Mercy. Her life was one lived completely selflessly for her Lord and others, a challenge to everyone who learns of her story.
Raymond Kolbe was born in 1894 in a tiny town near the heart of modern day Poland. In 1907 Raymond and his older brother would enter a Conventual Franciscans minor seminary. Three years later he would enter as a novitiate and take the name of Maximilian. After being ordained as a priest in 1918 Maximilian Kolbe would work tirelessly to convert non-believers, would publish a monthly periodical titled “Knights of the Immaculate,” and found two monasteries one in Japan and the other in India. After the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, he would remain one of the few brothers at the Polish monastery, opening it as a temporary hospital for many wounded and displaced Poles. He would eventually shelter and hide over 2,000 Jews from the Nazis. After his arrest by the Gestapo in February of 1941, Kolbe would be sent to Pawiak prision, and then on to Auschwitz. After two months, he would offer to take the place of a man facing the death sentence by starvation. It is said that even after two weeks without food and water, Kolbe remained sane, leading his fellow prisoners in prayers. Eventually the Nazis would inject a deadly substance of carbolic acid, which would eventually kill him. Maximilian Kolbe is a shining example of love in the face of death and hatred. His life, like Saint Faustina Kowalska’s, was one of selfless service for the good of others. Viewers will also be inspired and challenged by his life as they watch Ocean of Mercy
In 1920, also in a small Polish village, Karol Jozef Wojtala was born. He would become Pope Saint John Paul II, but in his early years he simply wanted to become a great Polish actor. When the Nazi occupation closed the theatrical school he was attending in 1939, he was forced to work in a quarry to avoid Nazi military service and deportation to Germany. At the close of the war, he would begin seminary studies in Cracow until his ordination in 1946. He would work throughout Poland and Italy until his Pontificate began in 1978. From then until his death in 2005 he would touch thousands of lives with his leadership and message of mercy. In addition he would canonize both Saint Faustina Kowalska and Saint Maximilian Kolbe, ensuring their legacy of service and mercy would continue to inspire generations of individuals.
As you watch Oceans of Mercy you will be struck by the impact of the lives of three of the Catholic Church’s saints. Even if you have no Catholic background, you will be inspired by their dedication and service to the people their lives touched. Their lives are wonderful examples of self-sacrifice, humility, mercy, and faith from which all can learn from. You will be inspired by the message of mercy each proclaimed without fear, and encouraged by their walks of faith. You will also have a special glimpse into their lives through interviews, videos, and photographs--catching tiny pieces and moments in history you may never have learned of before. Oceans of Mercy is sure to inspire young and old, Catholic and not alike. The lives of Saint Faustina Kowalska, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and Pope John Paul II will make a lasting impact on your faith and life. Oceans of Mercy will tie the lives of three great individuals together, and connect their lasting impact with your own life. Viewers of all ages can enjoy this film together, and each will glean a piece of inspiration or encouragement they can carry with them forever.
Ocean of Mercy has not been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America, and may include violence, thematic scenes, and issues not suitable for younger viewers. As always, it is recommend that parents preview all content to determine what is considered suitable for their children, but Ocean of Mercy is considered appropriate for most audiences.
This is one of the most remarkable documentaries I've seen on the message of Divine Mercy. I've seen it at least 5 times and have shown it at my home parish. The footage from the time these saints lived is awesome. There are interviews with St. Faustina's brother, one of the Sisters of Mercy, and Maureen Gigan, who was healed from an incurable illness through the intercession of St. Faustina. Lifelong friends of St. John Paul II are also interviewed as well as priests and bishops who knew him well. St. Maximillian Kobe, is shown from the time of his childhood to his martyrdom at Auschwitz. Two eyewitnesses to Father Kolbe's offer to take the place of a condemned prisoner also speak. I can't say enough about how powerful this film is. (Posted on 10/29/16)