Faustina Kowalska

Maria Faustina (Kowalska)
of the Blessed Sacrament
Virgin, Religious, Christian Mystic,
"Apostle of Divine Mercy"
Born(1905-08-25)25 August 1905
Głogowiec, Łęczyca County, Congress Poland
Died5 October 1938(1938-10-05) (aged 33)
Kraków, Second Polish Republic
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified18 April 1993, St. Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Canonized30 April 2000, St. Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Major shrineBasilica of Divine Mercy, Kraków, Poland
Feast5 October

Saint Maria Faustyna Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament OLM (born Helena Kowalska; 1905–1938[1]), popularly spelled Faustina, was a Polish Roman Catholic nun and mystic. Her apparitions of Jesus Christ inspired the Roman Catholic devotion to the Divine Mercy and earned her the title of "Apostle of Divine Mercy".

Throughout her life, Faustina reported having visions of Jesus and conversations with him, of which she wrote in her diary, later published as The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul. Her biography, submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, quoted some of these conversations with Jesus regarding the Divine Mercy devotion.[2]

At the age of 20 years, she joined a convent in Warsaw, Poland, was transferred to Płock, and was later moved to Vilnius where she met her confessor Father Michał Sopoćko, who supported her devotion to the Divine Mercy. Faustina and Sopoćko directed an artist to paint the first Divine Mercy image, based on Faustina's vision of Jesus. Sopoćko used the image in celebrating the first Mass on the first Sunday after Easter. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II established the Feast of Divine Mercy on that Sunday of each liturgical year.

The Roman Catholic Church canonized Faustina as a saint on 30 April 2000.[3][4] The mystic is classified in the liturgy as a virgin[5] and is venerated within the Church as the "Apostle of Divine Mercy".

Early life

Childhood and early years

The registered birth certificate of Helena Kowalska

She was born as Helena Kowalska on 25 August 1905 in Głogowiec, Łęczyca County, north-west of Łódź in Poland. She was the third of ten children of Stanisław Kowalski and Marianna Kowalska. Her father was a carpenter and a peasant, and the family was poor and religious.[6]

She stated that she first felt a calling to the religious life while attending the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 7 years of age.[7] She wanted to enter the convent after completing her time at school, but her parents would not give her permission. When she was 16 years old, she went to work as a housekeeper, first in Aleksandrów Łódzki where she received the Sacrament of Confirmation, then in Łódź, to support herself and to help her parents.[2]

Joining the convent in Warsaw

In 1924, at the age of 19 years, Faustina went with her sister Natalia to a dance in a park in Łódź. Faustina said that, while at the dance, she had a vision of a suffering Jesus. She then went to the Cathedral. From there, she said Jesus instructed her to depart for Warsaw immediately and to join a convent.[8] She took a train for Warsaw (around 85 miles away) without gaining the permission of her parents, knowing anyone in Warsaw, or bringing any belongings other than the dress she was wearing.[9] After she arrived, she entered the first church she saw ( Saint James Church in Warsaw) and attended Mass. She asked the priest, Father Dąbrowski, for suggestions, and he recommended staying with a Mrs. Lipszycowa, a local woman whom he considered trustworthy, until she found a convent.

Faustina approached several convents in Warsaw, but was turned down every time, in one case being told that "we do not accept maids here", referring to her poverty. Faustina could read and write and had three or four years of education. After several weeks of searching, the mother superior at the convent of Zgromadzenie Sióstr Matki Bożej Miłosierdzia (Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy) decided to give Faustina a chance and conditionally accepted her, provided that she could pay for her religious habit. Faustina knew nothing of the convent she was entering except that she believed she was led there.

In 1925, Faustina worked as a housemaid to save money, making deposits at the Convent throughout the year, and finally gained acceptance. On 30 April 1926, at the age of 20 years, she received her habit and took the religious name of Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament.[4] The name "Faustina" is a diminutive of Fausta, which means "fortunate" or "lucky".[10] Richard Torreto sees it as the feminine form of the name of a Roman martyr Faustinus, killed in AD 120.[11] Faustinus and Jovita. The Roman Martyrology lists a Saint Faustina of about AD 580 and two ancient saints (as well as four modern ones) called Faustinus, assigning the Roman martyr to the third or fourth century, while the other is the Faustinus associated with Jovita.[12] In April 1928, she took her first religious vows as a nun with her parents attending the profession rite.[4] She was a nun for a little more than a decade, and she died at the age of 33 years on 5 October 1938.

From February to April 1929, she was sent to the convent in Wilno, then in Poland, now Vilnius, Lithuania, as a cook. Although her time in that city was short, she returned there later and met Father Michael Sopoćko, who supported her mission. A year after her first return from Vilnius, in May 1930, she was transferred to the convent in Płock, Poland, for almost two years.[4]

Other Languages
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Сьвятая Фаўстына Кавальская
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: Faustina Kowalska
Bahasa Indonesia: Maria Faustina Kowalska
português: Faustina Kowalska
Simple English: Faustyna Kowalska
slovenščina: Favstina Kowalska
Tiếng Việt: Faustina Kowalska