- Divine Mercy
Saint Faustina is "a gift from God for our times", great mystic, mistress of spiritual life, prophet, who reminded the biblical truth about merciful love of God for every human being and calls to proclaim it to the world through the testimony of life, deed, word and prayer.
Apostle of Divine Mercy, Prophet of Our Times, Great Mystic, Mistress of Spiritual Life – these are the epithets usually appended to the name of Sister Faustyna Kowalska, St. Faustyna (Faustina), of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Sister Faustina is one of the Church’s most popular and widely known saints and the greatest mystics in the history of the Church.
Sister Faustina was born on 25 August 1905 in Głogowiec, Poland to Marianna and Stanisław Kowalski as the third of ten children. Two days later she was baptized with the name Helena in the parish church of Świnice Warckie. At the age of nine, she made her first Holy Communion. She attended elementary school for merely three years and then she went to work as a housekeeper in various well–to–do families in Aleksandrów and Łódź. From the age of seven, she had felt the calling for religious vocation, but her parents would not give her permission to enter the convent. However, impelled by the vision of the Suffering Christ, in July 1924 she left for Warsaw to find a place. For another year she worked as a housekeeper to save some money for a modest monastic trousseau. On 1 August 1925 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw on Żytnia St.
She lived in the Congregation for thirteen years, staying in many houses, the longest time (she spent) in Kraków, Płock and Vilnius; working as a cook, shop assistant in baker’s shop, gardener, and portress. She suffered from tuberculosis of the lungs and alimentary system and that is why for over 8 months stayed at the hospital in Kraków – Prądnik. Greater sufferings from those which were caused by tuberculosis, she offered as a voluntary sacrifice for sinners and as the Apostle of Divine Mercy. She experienced also many extraordinary graces such as: apparitions, ecstasies, the gift of bilocation, hidden stigmata, reading into human souls, the mystical betrothal and nuptials.
Sister Faustina’s principal task was to pass on to the Church and world the Message of Mercy, a recapitulation of the Biblical truth of God’s Merciful Love for every human being, and a calling to each of us to entrust our lives to Him and to actively love our neighbour. Jesus not only revealed the depth of His Mercy to St. Faustina, but also gave her new forms of worship: the picture inscribed Jesus, I trust in You, the Feast of Divine Mercy, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the Prayer in the Hour of His Death on the Cross, the Hour of Mercy. To each of these forms of worship, as well as to the preaching of the message of Mercy, He attached great promises, on condition that we care about the attitude of trust in God that is to fulfill His will and show mercy to our neighbours.
Sister Faustina died in Krakow on October 5, 1938, at the age of just thirty–three. Out of her charism and mystical experience grew the Apostolic Movement of the Divine Mercy which continues her mission, proclaiming the message of Mercy to the world through the testimony of life, deed, words and prayer. On April 18, 1993, the Holy Father John Paul II raised her to the glory of the altars and on April 30, 2000, numbered her among the saints of the Church. Her relics are in the Shrine of the Divine Mercy at Łagiewniki, Kraków.
The Holy Father John Paul II wrote that in the age of totalitarianisms Sister Faustina became the ambassador of the message that the only power strong enough to counteract their evil is the truth of God’s Mercy. He called her Diary a Gospel of Mercy written from a 20th-century perspective, which has helped people to survive the extremely painful experiences of these times. This message, Pope Benedict XVI has said,
the message of Mercy as the Divine Power, as God putting a check on all the world’s evil, is indeed the chief message of our times.
August 25, 1905
Birth of the third child in the family of Marianna and Stanisław Kowalski in the village of Głogowiec.
August 27, 1905
Baptism in St. Casimir Church, Świnice Warckie by the pastor Rev. Józef Chodyński. The child was christened Helen and her godparents were Konstanty Bednarek and Marianna Szewczyk (Szczepaniak).
First experience of God’s love and calling of little Helenka to a more perfect way of life during a Vespers Service in the parish church in Świnice Warckie.
Helenka Kowalska’s First Holy Communion given by the pastor, Father Józef Chodyński in Świnice Warckie.
Helenka Kowalska starts her primary education in Świnice Warckie.
Helen begins household service for Kazimierz and Leokadia Bryszewscy in Aleksandrów Łódzki.
Helen Kowalska returns from Aleksandrów Łódzki to Głogowiec and announces to the parents her desire of entering a convent. They oppose the idea firmly.
Helen Kowalska goes to Łódź in order to look for work; stays with uncle Michał Rapacki at 9 Krośnieńska Street. Household service at Franciscan Terciaries.
February 2, 1923
Helen begins household service for Marcjanna Sadowska, the owner of a store at 29 Abramowski St., Łódź.
August 1, 1925
Helen Kowalska enters the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy on Żytnia Street in Warsaw.
Postulant Helen Kowalska goes to Skolimów, a vacation house of the Congregation, to regain her health.
Postulancy of Helen Kowalska at the Congregation house in Warsaw under direction of Mistress Janina Bartkiewicz.
January 23, 1926
Arrival of postulant Helen Kowalska in Kraków in order to complete her postulancy and two years of the novitiate under direction of Mistresses: Małgorzata Gimbutt and Maria Józefa Brzoza.
April 30, 1926
Ceremony of the taking of the veil where she received her habit and her religious name: sr. M. Faustina. On that day Bishop Paweł Kubicki from Sandomierz presided at the ceremony of taking the vail and at the ceremonies of the first and final religious profession of vows.
April 20, 1928
Sister Faustina begins the retreat before taking temporary vows.
April 30, 1928
First religious vows (chastity, poverty and obedience) of Sister Faustina made for one year and to be renewed each year until the moment of her perpetual profession.
October 31, 1928
Sister Faustina goes to Warsaw to work in the kitchen.
February 21, 1929
Sister Faustina goes to Vilnius to substitute for sr. Petronela Basiura, who was going for her third probation.
June 11, 1929
Sister Faustina’s return from Vilnius to Warsaw (convent on Żytnia Street).
Sister Faustina goes to a newly-formed house of the Congregation at Grochów in Warsaw on Hetmańska Street.
July 7, 1929
Sister Faustina goes to Kiekrz to replace the sick sr. Modesta Rzeczkowska in the kitchen.
Sister Faustina’s stay at the General House on Żytnia Street in Warsaw.
February 22, 1931
Beginning of the prophetic mission in the life of Sister Faustina. First vision of the Merciful Jesus and His order to paint the image.
Jesus’s order regarding the establishment of the Feast of Divine Mercy on the first Sunday after Easter.
Sister Faustina goes for the third probation to Warsaw.
Retreat in Walendów. Sister Faustina’s confession to Fr. Edmund Elter S.J. and first confirmation of the supernatural origin of her visions.
December 1, 1932
Sister Faustina begins her third probation under the direction of Mistress Małgorzata Gimbutt.
Sister Faustina’s younger sister, Wanda visits her in the convent on Żytnia Street in Warsaw.
April 18, 1933
Sister Faustina’s arrival in Kraków.
April 21, 1933
Beginning of an eight-day retreat in the convent in Kraków under the direction of Fr. Antoni Bronisław Wojnar S.J. First confession to Fr. Józef Andrasz S.J.
May 1, 1933
Sister Faustina makes her perpetual profession in Kraków. Bishop Stanisław Rospond conducts the ceremonies.
May 23, 1933
Sister Faustina’s trip from Kraków to Vilnius. On the way she makes a stop at Częstochowa; starts work in the garden in Vilnius.
May 25, 1933
Sister Faustina’s arrival in Vilnius where she starts work in the garden.
Sister Faustina’s first meeting with the confessor Fr. Michał Sopoćko, spiritual director in Vilnius, who by the will of God was a help for her in accom- plishing the prophetic mission.
January 2, 1934
First visit at the atelier of painter Eugeniusz Kazimirowski where she used to go with her superior Mother Irena Krzyżanowska.
March 29, 1934
Sister Faustina writes the act of offering her life for sinners, especially for those who had lost trust in the Divine Mercy.
The end of works related with painting of the first image of the Merciful Jesus in Eugeniusz Kazimirowski’s atelier. Sister Faustina cried that Jesus in this image was not as beautiful as she had seen Him herself.
July 26, 1934
Sister Faustyna catches a cold.
August 12, 1934
Sister Faustina experiences a strong fainting. Called Fr. Michał Sopoćko administers the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to her.
August 13, 1934
Sister Faustina’s health improves.
February 15, 1935
Sister Faustina’s trip to home village of Głogowiec to visit her seriously ill mother.
March 4, 1935
Sister Faustina together with Sister Petronela goes to the market held on St. Casimir Feast Day (“Kazik”) to buy tools and household items.
April 26-28, 1935
First public exposition of the image of the Merciful Jesus in Ostra Brama church in Vilnius.
First revelation concerning the idea of the new congregation.
September 13-14, 1935
Revelation of the Chaplet to the Divine Mercy to Sister Faustina.
September 29, 1935
Sister Faustina with some of the sisters takes part in the Forty-Hour Devotions at the Church of St. Michael.
October 19, 1935
Sister Faustina’s trip for an eight-day retreat in Kraków.
November 4, 1935
Sister Faustina’s return to Vilnius after the retreat in Kraków. On the way she makes a stop in Częstochowa.
January 8, 1936
Sister Faustina’s visit at Archbishop Romuald Jałbrzykowski’s, during which she announced Jesus’s demand regarding the foundation of a new congregation.
March 21, 1936
Sister Faustina’s trip from Vilnius to Warsaw.
March 25, 1936
Sister Faustina’s arrival in Walendów and later trip to Derdy.
May 11, 1936
Sister Faustina goes to Derdy for a permament stay in Kraków, accompanied by Sister Edmunda Sekul.
May 12, 1936
Sister Faustina’s arrival in Kraków.
June 19, 1936
Sister Faustina takes part in a procession in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Jesuit church on Kopernika Street in Kraków.
September 14, 1936
Sister Faustina’s conversation with abp. R. Jałbrzykowski at the convent in Łagiewniki, Kraków.
September 19, 1936
Sister Faustina’s physical examination at the hospital in Prądnik, Kraków.
October 20, 1936
Sister Faustina begins an eight-day retreat in Kraków.
December 9, 1936
Sister Faustina goes to the hospital in Prądnik.
December 24, 1936
Sister Faustina’s return to the convent for the Christmas holidays.
December 27, 1936
Sister Faustina goes to the hospital in Prądnik for further treatment.
March 27, 1937
Sister Faustina returns from the hospital to the convent in Łagiewniki.
April 13, 1937
Sister Faustina’s health deteriorates.
April 14, 1937
Sister Faustina’s miraculous healing. Jesus said, Go and tell the superior that you are healthy.
April 23, 1937
Sister Faustina makes a three-day retreat.
May 20, 1937
Sister Faustina regains her health from before her miraculous healing because she wants to serve Jesus in the state which He favoures more.
May 4, 1937
Sister Faustina receives permission from Mother General Michaela Moraczewska to leave the Congregation but because of great spiritual darkness does not exercise the permission recognizing there is no God’s will in it.
July 29, 1937
Sister Faustina goes for treatment to Rabka.
August 10, 1937
Sister Faustina returns from Rabka to Kraków.
August 12, 1937
Sister Faustina’s appointment with Fr. Michał Sopoćko at the convent in Łagiewniki.
August 25, 1937
Fr. Michał Sopoćko spends a few days in Kraków and meets Sister Faustina in the convent in Łagiewniki.
September 6, 1937
Sister Faustina is assigned duties at the gate instead of the garden because of her health condition.
September 19, 1937
Brother Stanisław visits Sister Faustina.
September 27, 1937
Sister Faustina together with Mother Irena Krzyżanowska goes to the J. Cebulski’s printing house (22 Szewska Street) to settle the matter of printing holy cards of the Merciful Jesus. Then she prayed at Mariacki church in Kraków.
Revelation of the Hour of Mercy in Łagiewniki, Kraków.
April 21, 1938
Sister Faustina goes to the hospital in Prądnik for the second time.
Mother General Michaela Moraczewska pays a visit to Sister Faustina at the hospital in Prądnik.
August 24, 1938
Mother Superior Irena Krzyżanowska keeps all-night vigil at Sister Faustina’s bed in the hospital in Prądnik.
August 25, 1938
Fr. Teodor Czaputa, chaplain of House of the Congregation in Łagiewniki, Kraków, administers the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to Sister Faustina in the hospital in Prądnik.
August 28, 1938
Fr. Michał Sopoćko comes to Kraków and visits Sister Faustina a few times in the hospital in Prądnik.
September 17, 1938
Sister Faustina’s return from the hospital to the convent in Łagiewniki.
September 22, 1938
Sister Faustina, according to the tradition of the Congregation, asks pardon of the sisters for her unintentional failings.
September 26, 1938
Sister Faustina’s last meeting with Fr. Michał Sopoćko during which she says, My one occupation is to live in the presence of my Heavenly Father.
October 5, 1938
October 7, 1938
Sister Faustina’s funeral took place on the first Friday of the month and the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Fr. Władysław Wojtoń S.J. celebrated the Holy Mass at the main altar and Fr. Tadeusz Chabrowski S.J. at the altar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. No members of Sister Faustina’s family were present at the funeral because Sister Faustina did not want to inconvenience them with travel expenses. Sister Faustina was buried in the convent ceme- tery in the garden of the Congregation.
March 6, 1959
The Holy See issues a notification which prohibits the spreading of the cult to the Divine Mercy in the forms handed over by Sister Faustina (published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, p.271).
October 21, 1965
Following Cardinal Karol Wojtyła’s decision, the Informative Process in the Archdiocese of Kraków begins, which was related to the life and virtues of Sister Faustina. Bishop Julian Groblicki conducted a solemn session inaugurating the process.
November 25, 1966
Sister Faustina’s remains are transferred from the tomb in the cemetery to the convent chapel in Łagiewniki and assembled under the floor.
September 20, 1967
The Informative Process in the diocese is proclaimed finished by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła. The acts are sent to Rome.
April 15, 1978
Revocation of the Notification prohibiting the spreading of the cult to the Divine Mercy in the forms handed over by Sister Faustina (published on 30 July 1978 in: Acta Apostolicae Sedis, p.350).
First edition of the Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska.
April 18, 1993
June 7, 1997
Pilgrimage of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki, Kraków; prayer before the miraculous Image of the Merciful Jesus and the relics of Blessed Faustina.
April 30, 2000
Canonisation of Sister Faustina by the Holy Father John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square, Rome; through telecommunications it was possible to connect with the Shrine of Divine Mercy. The establishment of the Feast of Mercy for the entire church.
August 17, 2002
Second pilgrimage of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Shrine in Łagiewniki, Kraków, where He entrusted the whole world to the Divine Mercy during the consecration of basilica.
First edition of Letters of Saint Sister Faustina.
May 27, 2006
Holy Father Benedict XVI prays before the miraculous Image of the Merciful Jesus and the relics of Saint Faustina in the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki, Kraków.