|Note: Sister Faustina was declared a Saint on April 30, 2000.
Helena Kowalska was born in the village of Glogowiec west of Lodz, Poland on August 25, 1905.
As early as the age of seven Helena heard a voice in her soul calling her to a more perfect way of life. By age 15 she had made known to her parents her desire to enter into the convent.
On August 1, 1925, she applied for the second time to the Congregation of The Sister’s of Our Lady of Mercy......................(Sister Mary Faustina) This time she was accepted. She was nearly 20 at this time.
After completion of her postulancy period she received her veil, and on April 30, 1926 she received her habit and her name in religion. From now on Helena would bear the name of Sister Mary Faustina.
Sister Faustina began to have a number of religious experiences far from what one might consider the norm. These visions lasted throughout her entire life. From trials of spiritual darkness, to the manifestations of Christ, she was seemingly caught in a battle of good and evil, her soul the arena.
Having mentioned these unusual occurrences to her spiritual advisors, ( Rev. M. Sopocko and Fr. J. Andrasz, S.J.) Sister was instructed to keep a diary of these events. Sister also notes in the diary that it was the, "express command of the Lord Jesus, that this diary be written."
On April 30, 1928, Sister Mary Faustina made her first profession of temporary vows, which would be renewed each year for 5 years when she would make her perpetual vows. Her apparitions continued.
February 22, 1931 Sister Faustina had a vision of the Lord which is today for the betterment of the world. Sister writes the following words as spoken to her, by Jesus. (note: Jesus's words are written in red.)
(Diary I (18) 47: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 throughout the whole world.
48:I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.
Getting permission to have this image painted took some time. Meanwhile in May 1933, Sister makes her perpetual vows. The painted image known as, The Image of Divine Mercy, was executed by artist E. Kazimierowski under the guidance of Sister Faustina. The painting was completed in June 1934, even though Sister was not quite pleased with the outcome of the artist’s work.
On September 13, 1935 sister received another revelation that would go hand in hand with the image, known as the Divine Mercy. The revelation came in the form of a prayer that should by said in front of the Image.
(Diary I (197) 475:Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. In atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world..
476:This prayer will serve to appease My wrath. You will recite it for nine days, on the beads of the Rosary, in the following manner: First of all, you will say one Our Father and Hail Mary and the I believe in God. Then on the Our Father beads you will say the following words: "Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins and those of the whole world. On the Hail Mary beads you will say the following words: "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world." In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world."
Diary II (50) 584:When you reflect upon what I tell you in the depths of your heart, you profit more than if you had read many books. Oh, if souls would only want to listen to My voice when I am speaking in the depths of their hearts, they would reach the peak of holiness in a short time.
Diary II (229) 848:Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet: the very depths of My tender mercy are stirred for the sake of those who say the chaplet. Write down these words, My daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them.
Suffering from different illness, including asthma and tuberculosis Sister’s health began to deteriorate. On April 21, 1938 her superiors decide to send her to the hospital in Pradnik. On August 24, 1938 Sister Faustina writes her last letter to Mother General begging pardon for all the faults of her whole life. Finally she ends with the words: "Till we meet in Heaven."
With nothing else for the hospital to do in regard to improving her condition, Sister Faustina is taken home. On October 5, 1938 Father Andrasz, S.J. arrives and Sister Faustina makes her last confession. At 9:00 p.m. Chaplain Rev. T. Czaputa, together with the sisters pray by her bedside. Sister Faustina conscious to the end, prays with them. At 10:45 Sister Mary Faustina after a long suffering, passes away.
Note to the reader: The information provided here is very basic. The many visions both good and bad, were written down in these diaries as she was instructed to do. Sister Faustina’s diaries were compiled and published in Polish under the title; Divine Mercy In My Soul. It was later translated and published in English in 1987.
To read Divine Mercy In My soul is an undertaking. It totals 697 pages. However, it is one of the most moving and inspirational books, I have ever read. While reading this book I felt I could almost hear and see Jesus speaking to Sister Faustina. I also felt I shared in her pain and sufferings when she was tormented by the evil of satan.
At the time of her death I do not believe Sister Faustina was aware of her instrumental role in bringing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to the world who so desperately needs it.
Today thousands and thousands gather at the hour of 3:00 p.m. as it is the time that Jesus requested the Chaplet be said. On their knees in front of the image of the Divine Mercy this beautiful chaplet is said every day around the world.
In ending, there is no doubt in my mind that Divine Mercy is the means by which God will save the world. As without His mercy we would return to the dust from which we came. It is my hope that those who read this come to understand the importance of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and will join me in saying this beautiful and spiritually uplifting devotion. May God Bless you all. Michael webmaster Medjugorje USA.