Feast Of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska – Oct. 5

Feast Of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska – Oct. 5

Early Life


Sister Faustina, Helena Kowalska the world-renowned apostle of Divine Mercy and one of the greatest mystics of the Church was born on August 25, 1905, in the village of Glogowiec, in Lodz, Poland. At her baptism, in the nearby parish church of Świnice Warckie, she was given the name Helena. During her childhood she distinguished herself by acts of devotion, her love for prayer, hard work, obedience and a tremendous sensitivity to human misery.

At the age of sixteen (16) she left her family home for the nearby city of Aleksandrów and then moved to Łódź, where she worked as a servant (house keeper) to support herself and to help her parents. During this period the desire to join a convent was gradually growing inside her. Since her parents were against it, young Helena tried to deaden God’s call.


Entrance into the Convent (August 1, 1925)




From the young age of seven, Helen (Faustina) experienced the call of God to the religious life. Here is how she puts it in her dairy:


“From the age of seven, Religious nced the definite call of God, the grace of a vocation to the religious life. It was in the seventh (7th) year of my life that, for the first time, I heard God’s voice in my soul; that is, an invitation to a more perfect life. But I was not always obedient to the call of grace. I came across no one who would have explained these things to me. The eighteenth (18th) year of my life. An earnest appeal to my parents for permission to enter the convent. My parents’ flat refusal. After this refusal, I turned myself over to the vain things of life, paying no attention to the call of grace, although my soul found no satisfaction in any of these things. The incessant call of grace caused me much anguish; I tried, however, to stifle it with amusements. Interiorly, I shunned God, turning with all my heart to creatures. However, God’s grace won out in my soul. Once I was at a dance [probably in Lodz] with one of my sisters. While everybody was having a good time, my soul was experiencing deep torments. As I began to dance.  I suddenly saw Jesus at my side, Jesus racked with pain, stripped of His clothing, all covered with wounds, who spoke these words to me:  How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting Me off?  At that moment the charming music stopped, [and] the company I was with vanished from my sight; there remained Jesus and I. I took a seat by my dear sister, pretending to have a headache in order to cover up what took place in my soul. After a while I slipped out unnoticed, leaving my sister and all my companions behind and made my way to the Cathedral of Saint Stanislaus Kostka. It was almost twilight; there were only a few people in the cathedral. Paying no attention to what was happening around me, I fell prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament and begged the Lord to be good enough to give me to understand what I should do next. Then I heard these words [from Jesus]:  ‘Go at once to Warsaw; you will enter a convent there.’  I rose from prayer, came home, and took care of things that needed to be settled. As best I could, I confided to my sister what took place within my soul. I told her to say good-by to our parents, and thus, in my one dress, with no other belongings, I arrived in Warsaw...” (Dairy, 7 – 10)


This intending young Polish nun had so much struggles and difficulties in finding a suitable convent to join, however God lavished her with his graces as she tells us in her dairy:


“At last the time came when the door of the convent was opened for me – it was the first (1st) of August [1925], in the evening, the vigil [of the feast] of Our Lady of the Angels. I felt immensely happy; it seemed to me that I had stepped into the life of Paradise. A single prayer was bursting forth from my heart, one of thanksgiving.” (Dairy, 16)

She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. (A Cloistered Religious Congregation) She went through her postulancy in Warsaw, and then was sent to the novitiate house in Cracow, where during  her invertiture she was given the name Sister Mary Faustina and was incorporated into the novitiate. After her first year in the novitiate, she went through an unusually painful mystic experience: her so-called “dark night”, and then, further spiritual and moral sufferings related to fulfilling the mission she was given by the Lord Jesus. 
After a two year novitiate, she made her first profession of vows on April 30, 1928. Next, as a temporarily professed sister, she worked in various houses  of the Congregation: in Warsaw, in Vilnius, in Kiekrz near Poznan, in Plock, in Biala near Plock, in Warsaw and in Cracow. On May 1, 1933, she took her perpetual vows. 

She was assigned to work in various houses of the Congregation, spending the longest periods of time in Cracow, Płock and Vilnius, working as a cook, gardener and doorkeeper. She passionately fulfilled her duties and faithfully observed all the monastic rules. She was focused and silent, but at the same time, natural and cheerful full of a kind and unselfish love for her neighbours. Her rigorous lifestyle and exhausting fasting, which she was undertaking even before joining the Congregation, weakened her body to such an extent that already during her postulantship it became necessary to send her for medical treatment.

Mystical Experience

Her extraordinarily rich mystical life was not visible to others in the convents or outside. Her contact with the supernatural world – meetings with the Lord Jesus, the Holy Mother, the angels, Saints, the souls who were in purgatory – was such real, simply and ordinary as the world perceived by the senses. Already, during her firsts weeks in the Congregation, she had a vision of purgatory, then a vision of Heaven and hell. She received many, extraordinary graces, like apparitions, a gift of the ability of the reading in souls of other people, bi-location (it is an ability to be in two places at the same time), hidden stigmata, or so called mystical engagement and marriage with Jesus. The theologians include her into a circle of the most distinguished mystics in the history of the Church. In her spiritual “Diary”, which she wrote on the order of Our Lord Jesus, on order of the priests-confessors and because the superiors agreed, she described not only extraordinary meetings with supernatural reality, but also her grey common placeness, which became beautiful and rich because of the fact that it was experienced with union with God. God picked her out as a secretary and apostle of the Divine Mercy. Through her, He delivered to the Church and the world, great message about the merciful love of God to every person. 

St. Faustina Receives A Vision Of The Divine Mercy Image
 

This great prophetic mission of Saint Faustina started in Plock, Poland on the 22nd February 1931. “When I was in my cell in the evening – she wrote in “Diary” I saw Jesus dressed in a white robe. A hand was raised up to blessing, and the second hand touched His robe at the level of His heart. From His robe, which was slightly opened, two beautiful rays of light were visible, one was red and the other pale. Silently, I looked at THE LORD. My soul was afraid and yet full of joy. After a very short time, Our Saviour said to me: 


‘Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and  [then] throughout the world. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory. (Diary 47 – 48). 

When Sister Faustina relayed this vision to her confessor he told her to paint the picture in her soul. But when she was going away from the confessional, the Lord Jesus said: 


“My image already is in your soul. I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.”(Diary 49). 

Sister Faustina did not know how to paint, other sisters also did not, so a painting of the picture was delayed, And the Lord Jesus assured Sister Faustina that the image and message of mercy was a very important matter. The Lord told her:


“Know that if you neglect the matter of the painting of the image and the whole work of mercy, you will have to answer for a multitude of souls on the day of judgment.” (Diary 154).


Death

Sister Faustina sacrificed her life for sinners to save their souls; for that she underwent a diverse range of sufferings.​ During the final years of her life, her health deteriorated significantly: she developed tuberculosis which attacked her lungs and gastrointestinal tract. As a result, she underwent two periods of hospital treatment, each lasting a few months. Physically and totally ravaged, but spiritually entirely mature being mystically united with God, she died in Cracow-Łagiewniki on October 5, 1938 in the odour of sanctity, having lived for only 33 years, including 13 years of monastic life.

Canonization



On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II (Now St.) canonized the apostle of Divine Mercy – Sister Faustina Kowalska. The canonization ceremony took place at the Vatican, on the second Sunday of Easter, the Sunday that was instituted by the Pope as the Feast of Divine Mercy for the entire Church. Saint Faustina’s name is forever linked to the annual feast of the Divine Mercy, the Divine Mercy chaplet, and the Divine Mercy prayer recited each day at 3 p.m. by many people.


~St. Maria Faustina Pray For Us!

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