The Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, DC will be hosting rarely-displayed relics of St. Faustina Kowalska during March for Life week. St. Faustina’s first-class relic, a piece of bone, and a second-class relic, a piece of her habit, will be available for veneration in the shrine’s Luminous Mysteries Chapel from Thursday, January 23, 2020 until Sunday, January 26, 2020. This is only the fourth time since 2016 these relics have been on public display, and their visit to the shrine is not part of an organized tour. Following the March for Life week, they will return to the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Lakeville, Massachusetts where they are normally housed. 

“We are extremely grateful to the Mother General of the Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy and her willingness to entrust us with these relics,” said Dr. Maxime Nogier, deputy director of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. “The message of Divine Mercy that was revealed to St. Faustina was important to Saint John Paul II, so we are pleased to offer this extremely rare opportunity to all of our pilgrims visiting for the March for Life. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s encyclical Dives in Misericordia (Nov. 30, 1980). Our patron’s message of mercy resonates the spirit of why we march. ‘[The Church] seeks to practice mercy towards people through people, and she sees in this an indispensable condition for solicitude for a better and ‘more human’ world, today and tomorrow.’ We are also blessed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of St. Faustina’s canonization by Saint John Paul II later this year.” 

The relics are kept in a wooden reliquary that was hand-made during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Although the relics are not directly visible from the reliquary, they will be stationed next to the first-class blood relic of Saint John Paul II that is visible and attached to the chapel’s altar (which itself contains a relic of St. Faustina). 

The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy actively minister at the shrine through a partnership with the Knights of Columbus who own and operate the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. They will be giving short presentations about St. Faustina and the message of Divine Mercy to complement the visit of the relics.