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Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)

 

Born in 1905, as the third child of ten, into a very devout but poor family in a small village called GÅ‚ogowiec. She attended school for just three years and while still a young girl left home to work as a maid and thus help to support her family.

As early as seven years old she felt a calling to the monastic life. When she was 18, she asked her parents for permission to enter a convent, but they refused, because they still needed her help to support the family. In her desire to be obedient to them, Faustyna (Faustina) tried to stifle the inner voice of her vocation. In her Diary she recalls that one day she saw the flagellated Christ, who spoke to her in these words: “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting me off?” This was the turning point at which she finally resolved to become a nun. In 1925 she was received into the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw, taking the name of Maria Faustyna.

Faustina was a mystic who had many visions of Christ. These she recorded in her Diary, which she was urged to keep by her confessor. Jesus entrusted her with the mission of proclaiming to the whole world the truth of Divine Mercy. He conveyed to her His will that a Feast of Divine Mercy be instituted on the first Sunday after Easter, and he bade her paint a reproduction of her vision, which she was to furnish with the inscription: “Jesu, I trust in You”, that it might be venerated across the world. He also dictated to her a special prayer, called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, promising that all those who pray it will know His Mercy both in their lifetime and at their death.

St Faustina died in Krakow in 1938 at the age of 33, of tuberculosis. She was canonised by Pope John Paul II in 2000. She is buried in the convent church of the Sisters of Divine Mercy. A new basilica has been built alongside the convent: the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy.

 

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