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BIOGRAPHY - (1905-1938)

Głogowiec - the place of birth of Sr. Faustina.

Sister Faustina with her family (1935)

Saint Sister Faustina Kowalska, a worldwide known apostle of Divine Mercy, one of the greatest mystics of the Church, was born on August 25, 1905 in Głogowiec (Łódź region), as the third of ten children, in a poor, catholic, peasant family. At her baptism in the nearby parish church of Świnice Warckie she was given the name Helena. Since her childhood she had distinguished herself by devotion, love for prayer, hard work, obedience, and an enormous sensitivity to human misery.
Despite completing only three years of schooling, in her DIARY she clearly described what she wanted to convey, in a simple, precise manner, without any ambiguity.

In the DIARY she wrote about her experiences from her childhood:

“From the age of seven, I experienced the definite call of God, the grace of a vocation to the religious life. It was in the seventh 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.”

At the age of sixteen she left her family home for nearby cities Aleksandrów, and then Łódź, where she worked as a servant to support herself and to help her parents. At these times the desire to join the convent was gradually growing inside her. Since her parents were against it, young Helena tried to deaden the God’s call.

Years later, she reminiscences about it in her DIARY:

"Once I was at a dance with one of my sisters and while everybody was having a good time, my soul was experiencing internal torments. As I began to dance, I suddenly saw Jesus at my side, Jesus racked with pain, stripped of his clothing, covered all over with wounds, who spoke these words to me, "How long shall I suffer and how long will you keep on deceiving Me?" At that moment a charming music stopped, and my company 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 (Lodz). 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, "Go at once to Warsaw (Poland), 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-bye to our parents, and thus, in one dress, with no other belongings, I arrived in Warsaw” (Diary, 9-10).

In Warsaw she knocked on numerous convents’ door, with no luck. Finally, on August 1, 1925, she applied to the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, located at Żytnia street in Warsaw, where she was accepted. Before that though, to satisfy the conditions and put together the personal outfit, she had to work as a housekeeper at multi-children family near Warsaw.

In her DIARY she described her feelings upon joining the convent:

"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" (Diary, 17).

                Wenecki Park – the dance site
Cathedral Church of St. Stanislaw Kostka
in Lodz (Poland)

The interior of the St. Stanisław Kostka Cathedral Church in Łódź (Poland),
where Jesus called St. Faustina to the religious life.

The general house of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy joined by Sister Faustina.
Warsaw (Poland), 3/9 Żytnia Street

Upon joining the Congregation, Helena assumed the name Sister Mary Faustina. She completed her probation time in Cracow, where, in the presence of Bishop Stanislaus Rospond, she took her temporary religious vows, and five years later, perpetual vows professing chastity, poverty and obedience. She was assigned to work in various houses of the Congregations spending the longest periods of time in Cracow, Płock and Vilnius, working as a cook, gardener and doorkeeper.

Her extraordinarily rich mystical life was not visible on the outside. She was passionately fulfilling 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 neighbors.

Her rigorous lifestyle and exhausting fasting, that 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 a treatment. After her first year in novitiate she went through unusually painful mystic experiences of so called dark night, and then, the spiritual and moral sufferings related to fulfilling the mission she was given by Lord Jesus.

Sister Faustina sacrificed her life for sinners to save their souls and, therefore, was undergoing diverse sufferings.  During the final years of her life, her health deteriorated significantly: she developed tuberculosis which attacked her lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Because of that, she underwent two hospital treatments, a few months long each.

Physically -  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.   (see annotation of the Saint Faustina’s DIARY)

Vatican, April 30, 2000. St. Peter’s Square. Sr. Faustina Kowalska was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

The house of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Płock,
where Lord Jesus appeared to Sr. Faustina and ordered her to paint the image of Him, as seen in her vision.

The house of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Wilno, 29 Grybo Street,
where Saint Sister Faustina was staying in the period of 1933-1936.
At this place Lord Jesus dictated to Sister Faustina Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

The house of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy
in Crakow - Łagiewniki (Poland), 3 Siostry Faustyny Street.
The place of eternal rest of Saint Sister Faustina’s earthly remains.
In Kraków, Lord Jesus expressed his wish to celebrate the hour of His death – the Hour of Mercy.

A an excerpt from the manuscript of DIARY of Saint Sister Faustina

On December 10, 2005, by the decree of Holy See, Saint Sister Faustina Kowalska
was declared a patron of the city of Łódź.

The monument of Saint Sister Faustina at the Niepodległości Square in Łódź



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