October 5

St. Faustina Kowalska

St. Faustina Kowalska

Her Desire to Be a Religious

Sister Faustina Kowalska was born on August 25, 1905 in the small Polish town of Glogowiec. She belonged to a poor yet religious family of peasants. She was the third of ten children. She was baptized with the name Helena in the parish church of Swinice Warckie.

From a very young age, Helena stood out because of her love of prayer, piety, work and obedience. Above all, she had a deep love for and sensitivity to the poor. When she was seven, she had already felt the first indications of a vocation to religious life. She received First Holy Communion at nine, which she described as a very profound moment.

Helena attended school for only three semesters. She wanted to enter the convent. However, her parents would not grant their permission. At sixteen, she left home and worked as a housekeeper in Aleksandrów, Lodi, and Ostrówek in order to find the means to herself and to help her parents. She was obedient to her parents, but the desire to enter the religious life never left her.

The Humble Sister Faustina

When she was nineteen, Helena claimed that she had a vision in which God told her to go to a vast city in Poland and enter the convent. It is said that she took the next train to Warsaw. She tried joining several religious orders. However, they turned her down because of her lack of education. Finally, the Mother Superior of the Servants of Our Lady of Mercy decided to give her a chance. Helena was given the name Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament.

Sister Faustina worked in menial jobs that did not need education such as cooking, gardening and housekeeping. Despite this, she was blessed by visions of Christ who handed her a special mission. Jesus wanted her to spread the devotion regarding the mercy of God. He wanted her to help people remember that the Father is merciful and loving to all, even those who have gone astray in sin.

The Secretary of Mercy

In another vision, Jesus asked the nun to have a portrait painted of the Lord as the King of Divine Mercy. He also asked Sister Faustina to be a living example of mercy for others and to make sacrifices for others in imitation of Christ. Sister Faustina did what Jesus asked. But when the other nuns made fun of her and said her visions were not true, she forgave them.

As advised by her spiritual director, Sister Faustina kept a diary of her experiences and visions. Because of her poor education, the diary was difficult to read. However, after Sister Faustina’s death, the spellings were corrected and her diary was sent to the Vatican.

Consumed by tuberculosis and by numerous sufferings which she unhesitatingly accepted as sacrifice for others, Sister Faustina died in Krakow on October 5, 1938 at the age of thirty-three. She was known with a reputation for spiritual maturity and a mystical union with God. Her reputation of holiness grew as did the devotion to the Divine Mercy and the graces granted through her intercession. Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Faustina on April 18, 1993. On April 30, 2000, the same Pope canonized her. Her feast day is October 5.

Five Interesting Facts About St. Faustina Kowalska

  1. St. Faustina Kowalska is known as the Apostle of the Divine Mercy.
  2. The remains of St. Faustina Kowalska rests at the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki.
  3. Other than her visions, St. Faustina Kowalska also experienced many extraordinary graces such as ecstasies, the gift of bilocation, hidden stigmata, reading into human souls, and a mystical betrothal and nuptial.
  4. The original portrait of the Divine Mercy was painted by an artist by the name of Eugene Kazimirowski. St. Faustina described her vision and provided the details so that the portrait may be as accurate as possible.
  5. St. Faustina Kowalska saw visions of heaven, purgatory and hell. These were all written in her Diary.

Prayer to St. Faustina Kowalska

O God, who in a wondrous mannerrevealed the inexhaustible riches of your mercy to Saint Maria Faustina,grant, we beseech you,that by looking with trust upon the pierced side of your Sonwe may be strengthened to show mercy one to anotherand, at length, sing forever of your mercy in heaven.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,God, forever and ever. Amen.