St Maria Faustina Kowaiska Virgin, visionary
This ardent promoter of the “Divine Mercy” devotion was named Helena at birth on 25 August 1905 in Glogowiec, Poland. She worked as a domestic since the age of fourteen in order to help her parents Stanislaus and Marianna Kowaiska. On 1 August 1925, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at Warsaw. Here, in the humble setting of the simple daily chores she carried out, like cooking, baking, gardening, gate- keeping etc., Jesus, in a vision on 22 February 1931, made her his secretary, confidant and messenger, instructing her to paint an image of according to the profile she saw. She was blessed with other innumerable and extensive mystical experiences which she put down in her “Diary” at the behest of her spiritual director and Jesus himself.
Sr Helena took the name Maria Faustina at her veiling in the Novitiate on 30 April 1926 and made her final profession on 1 May 1933. On 2 January 1934, she visited the artist, E. Kazimirowski, in connection with the proposed painting.
Dogged by ill health and faced with hostility and humiliation in the convent on account of her visions, she was ever obedient to the dictates of conscience, superior and Lord. Suffering in silence, she was at her uplifting best in her prayer prayer for priests, for the Church and her needs, for the world at large. The Lord for his part, made his satisfaction at having chosen her, known to her “My child, you are my delight. You are the comfort of my heart. I grant you as many graces as you can hold. As often as you want to make me happy, speak to the world about my great and unfathomable mercy.”
Humble to the core, she sought pardon from the entire congregation for any unintentional failings on her part and then serenely awaited the coming of Jesus to take her to her heavenly abode “My one occupation is to live in the presence of my Heavenly Father”.
Sr Maria Faustina Kowalska died on 5 October 1938, aged 33 years, and was canonized by hr compatriot, Pope John Paul II, on 30 April in the Jubilee Year, 2000.