New Album Pairs St. Faustina’s Poetry With Original Music

‘The Voice of Saint Faustina’ evokes the heart of the great Polish mystic.

Christopher Ganza (l) and Gabrielle Doran
Christopher Ganza (l) and Gabrielle Doran (photo: Courtesy Photo)

After listening to a cantor and organist musically perform passages from the diary of Polish visionary St. Maria Faustina Kowalska at the 2023 Divine Mercy Sunday service at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota, parishioner Andrew Kirsch was inspired to ask them to set some of the saint’s poetry to music.

The meeting was providential, because Gabrielle Doran, a soprano soloist, and Christopher Ganza, the Cathedral’s director of sacred music and organist, had both been asked at the last minute to fill in for other musicians scheduled to lead the service. 

“It was funny that it was the two of us that day when [Kirsch] had that moment and it wouldn’t, you know, a few hours before it wasn’t going to be me. It wasn’t going to be” Ganza.

This year Doran and Ganza are scheduled to lead the Cathedral’s Divine Mercy Sunday service where they will perform some of the 14 new musical arrangements of St. Faustina’s poetry from their new album, “The Voice of Saint Faustina.”

Kirsch, the album’s producer, hopes it will give Catholics an opportunity to experience the depth and beauty of the Polish saint’s work through the voice of Doran, which he believes is evocative of St. Faustina’s own voice. 

“There are just a lot of people who on the one hand, know the [Divine Mercy] chaplet very well,” said Kirsch, whose project management background helped prepare him to coordinate the production.  “They know they know the image very well. But they really haven’t heard the spiritual insights of Saint Faustina and I’ve been looking for a way to get those insights out more broadly. That was one of one of the two things that really helped inspire this.”

Born Aug. 25, 1905, in Glogowiec, Poland, to a poor and religious family of peasants, Sister Faustina was the third of 10 children, according to From a young age, she stood out because of her love of prayer, work, obedience, and also her sensitivity to the poor. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1925, taking the name Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament. She lived in the Congregation for 13 years in several religious houses where her deep, mystical interior life was hidden as she worked as a cook, gardener and portress.

Chosen by Christ to share his Divine Mercy devotion, St. Faustina recorded in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, the website states, the Lord’s messages to her including specifications for the well-known image of his Divine Mercy that features red and white rays emanating from his pierced side. Sister Faustina died in 1938 and was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000.

With input from the Cathedral’s Divine Mercy Cenacle group which he and his wife lead, and from family members, Kirsch asked the musicians to create music for 16 of St. Faustina’s poems which comprise the text of the album’s 14 tracks. 

Together, the poems reveal a range of her emotions and experiences, he said. “With some of these poems you feel like she’s singing out to other people, like speaking to them about God and other ones, like the one on pain, where she’s it’s inside herself,” he said. “She’s talking to God, but it’s not for anybody else to hear. It’s very private.”

Doran and Ganza each composed half of the musical pieces and then worked together to synthesize their work, said Doran, who has worked with a variety of choral groups, including the Cathedral’s choir. Though she doesn’t have formal training as a composer, Doran has written music and has been especially influenced by chant style while Ganza, who does improvisation on the organ, has been influenced more in the style of the psalms, she said. 

“I would read the poems through,” Doran said. “None of them are rhyming and none of them are metrical. It’s got a simple rhythm. It’s much harder to set to music and I think that was, for me, one of the challenges,” she said.

After composing music on piano and autoharp, Doran said she gave Ganza a rough idea of chords and melody lines. “We would then get together and flush it out together as like, a collaborative,” she said.  

“I feel like I can communicate the meanings best when it comes from our own hearts. We’re both very sensitive to text and so we’re able to sit with this poetry, which is beautiful, and make it really based on the words and not so much about any other musical aspects so really, the words came first.”

The musicians completed their compositions in the fall and recorded the album at the Cathedral of St. Paul in early October. Since its release in early December, the album has been popular, Kirsch said. 

Doran agreed: “People really, really love what they’ve heard so far. And so we’re excited to do it again this Sunday at the Divine Mercy service with our own compositions.”

 In the future, Doran said she hopes to adapt the music for use with the original Polish text. 

As she read St. Faustina’s diary during the project, Doran said she’s gotten to know the saint and her ability to convey the faith in a personal way. “We all see the [Divine Mercy] image and it says, ‘Jesus, I trust in you.’ 

“Then you read the diary and you say, oh no, this is what it means to trust in God like and to be able to take that into your own life,” Doran said. “I know for me, personally, it was just the right thing at the right time. I had a lot of other things going on in my life as we all do. And it was just such a great moment to have this project be literally.”

While some of the music is meditative and can used during prayer, Doran noted that the album features a number of musical styles. “The musical compositions that are real songs of their own and could be listened to just as a beautiful piece of music or performed or to play in the background,” she said, adding that the music also could be sung at Mass. 

Kirsch added, “Sometimes we just stop and like it. You can hear a pin drop because [St. Faustina] said something with such clear awareness of her intimate union with God. For me, in particular, the thing that I’ve been hearing in some of the songs, as I’ve listened to it repeatedly since it was produced, is in that line where she talks about a couple of times, how anybody any of us really can become a saint,” he said. That I just need to hear.”

From the song on the album entitled, “Called to Greatness:”

My heart has desired the love of the Immortal One.
My heart has sensed that I am a royal child,
That I have found myself in exile, in a foreign land.
I see that the heavenly palace is my home …


The Cathedral of St. Paul’s April 7 Divine Mercy service features music from “The Voice of Saint Faustina.” For details visit

Tracks from the album can be sampled and the digital album purchased at A CD of the album is available at

Pope Francis signs the honor book in Belem Presidential Palace in Lisbon, Portugal on Aug. 2, 2023.

Pope Francis’ Media Moment (April 6)

Father Roger Landry joins us with his reflections on Divine Mercy, and how penance cleanses the soul for receiving Christ in the Eucharist. Matthew Bunson and Jeanette De Melo take a look at Pope Francis’ media moment. A trove of books and recently published media interviews are spotlighting the Holy Father and his message.