Along with St. Benedict's Catholic Store, our apostolate of Divine Mercy includes helping to perpetuate Divine Mercy, as Jesus communicated to St. Faustina.
"I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You" - Jesus to St. Faustina (Diary 327)
Because Life is Really Hard and We All Need Mercy
Most of us are hurting. We have hurt others. We are in pain. We have caused pain. We are afraid, anxious, depressed. From the most noble saint to the worst sinner, we all need God's mercy. The message of Divine Mercy, assures us of the abundant mercy and love that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has for all of us, no matter who we are and what our situation is.
"Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this Chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy." Jesus to St. Faustina (Diary 687)
The Story of the Divine Mercy Billboard on I-85
In 2008, God asked us to do something crazy. He asked us to erect the biggest Divine Mercy billboard in the country on I-85 between Charlotte, NC & Greenville, SC. This landmark billboard, viewed by more than 50,000 people daily, (and shared by millions worldwide on social media) gave hundreds of millions of people hope through the message of Christ's unending mercy over the past 8 years and had cost us personally $1100 each month, with no outside donations.
In 2012, our Lord summoned us to make a much deeper commitment, one that required us to give of ourselves entirely by creating a physical place where we could more deeply share Christ's mercy with individuals personally and help lead them to the Church. A Catholic bookstore and evangelization center, St. Benedict's, opened in Greer, SC to fill this need and, like all things of God, has far surpassed our initial expectations.
As we entered our third year, with maintaining a Catholic mission alone being every bit the challenge we'd imagined it would be, where every penny earned goes right back into the center, and we take no personal paycheck, we realized that we could no longer do both, maintain the sign and the mission, without the help of others.
As with every decision we make, we prayed about this, and the clear answer at the beginning of this year was to simply ask our Lord's people what they wanted. If it was His will that this sign of His mercy continue to remain in place, we had confidence that He would make it happen through you. Although we received thousands and thousands of "likes" for the billboard, and we did receive a number of donations through our GoFundMe account, the fact is that those donations were only sufficient to cover the costs of the billboard for a few months. Additionally, there was increasing difficulty in dealing with the billboard company due to the death of the original owner leaving behind a family feud between siblings.
Basically there comes a time when you have to prayerfully discern whether or not you are trying to force something that may or may not be God's will. In this case, we have come to accept that this particular part of the journey has reached its end and the billboard will be removed soon.
St. Benedict's has proven to be the evangelization and Catholic presence that the upstate of South Carolina so desperately needs, and God consistently graces us with consolations that affirm that this is exactly what He desires. Every day we meet those who are lost, those who are away from the Church, away from God. Those who are in most need of Christ's Divine Mercy! Those who, for whatever reason, are unable to approach a Catholic church or priest, but who feel welcomed by the presence of Divine Mercy they find at St. Benedict's. Like a lighthouse in a rough sea, we are able to lead them back to the safe harbor, the Church. We look forward to being able to focus our limited resources in better growing our mission at St. Benedict's. We thank all those who did contribute to the billboard, both prayerfully and monetarily!