13 Holy St Faustina Facts That Reveal Everything About Her Religious Life | Kidadl


13 Holy St Faustina Facts That Reveal Everything About Her Religious Life

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Faustina was a Polish nun and a saint of the Roman Catholic Church who is considered one of the greatest mystics!

She is the patron of mercy and her feast is celebrated on October 5 every year. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 18, 1993, and was canonized on April 30, 2000.

Did you know that Pope Francis has called Saint Faustina the Apostle of Mercy? This is because she is said to be an example of trusting in God's mercy.

This great saint is also referred to by many other names, including the Apostle of Divine Mercy, Great Mystic, Prophet of Our Times, and Mistress of Spiritual Life. Based on the visions and apparitions she had of Jesus Christ, she was instrumental in starting the devotion to the Divine Mercy in Catholicism.

The devotion to God's Mercy spread very quickly after the death of Saint Faustina in 1938, and by 1951, there were more than 150 centers dedicated to it in Poland. A religious order to spread the devotion to the Divine Mercy was set up by a bishop in Poland in 1955. It became so popular that the Second Sunday of Easter is celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday.

However, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, the head of the Holy Office in Rome, asked Pope Pius XII to condemn the work and visions of Saint Faustina. This request was denied. Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska was canonized as a saint on Divine Mercy Sunday by Saint Pope John Paul II in 2000. Did you know that she is the First Saint of the New Millenium?

One of the most well-known miracles attributed to Saint Faustina is the healing of Maureen Digan, who had a terminal disease known as lymphedema. She had to undergo many operations and spend a lot of time in hospitals. After watching the movie Divine Mercy, Bob, Maureen's husband, was convinced of the healing powers of Saint Faustina. The couple traveled to the saint's tomb in Poland and prayed, and she was miraculously healed. This miracle was key in initiating the beatification process of Maria Faustina Kowalska.

Maria Faustina Kowalska Life History

Maria Faustina Kowalska was born in Glogowiec, Poland, on August 25, 1905. Her parents, Marianna and Stanislaw Kowalski, were poor peasants and very religious. She was the third of 10 children and was baptized Helena in the church of Swinice Warckie by her parish priest, Rev. Józef Chodyński on August 27, 1905. Here are some more facts about her:

  • Young Helena, from an early age, was known for her love of prayer and sensitivity to the poor. She felt her call to religious life at the age of seven. She attended school only for three years, and although, she wanted to join the convent, her parents were against it.
  • Hailing from a poor family, her parents could not afford the cost required for a woman to pursue a religious path in life. At the age of 16, she worked as a housekeeper and a nanny to support her family. It was said that she had an innate gift for storytelling, which captivated the young children.
  • Even in her later life, this knack for storytelling was loved by her sisters, to whom she imparted the lessons of life. They even called her their 'lawyer' for the persuasive ways she used to support her arguments.
  • Saint Faustina even tried living a worldly life, but when she was 19 years old, she got her first vision of the divine. In her vision in 1924, she saw a suffering Jesus, who she said told her to join a convent.
  • She got this vision while at a dance with her sister, Natalia. Immediately after that vision, she packed her bags and began applying to convents. After receiving several refusals, finally on August 1, 1925, after her vision, Helena Kowalska was accepted into the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy by the then Superior General, Mother Michaela Moraczewska. From there, began the journey of her convent life.
  • When she joined the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Helena took the name Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament and took her religious vows as a nun in 1928, when she was 20 years old.
  • For 13 years, Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament was a part of the congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. This community of convents was devoted to caring for the needs of troubled women, unwed mothers, and young girls trapped in prostitution.
  • They helped these women with their spiritual and educational needs. Because she was not very highly educated, she worked as a cook, porter, gardener, and carried out other domestic duties. Even though her jobs were menial, it is said that she catered to her duties with diligence and cheerfulness.
  • After her first vision, she began to record the messages she received from the Lord in her diary as it was directed by the Lord himself. Her written records about mercy, love and eternal life would serve as lessons to the readers. Interestingly, these events were not known to any of her sisters, supervisors, or spiritual directors.
  • Saint Maria Faustina's life was filled with extraordinary suffering, sacrifice, and supernatural experiences. Her health began to deteriorate in 1930, and by 1937 she was very ill. Records say that she was suffering from tuberculosis. She died on October 5, 1938, at the age of 33, in Krakow and was buried on October 7 in the convent chapel cemetery. Her relics are currently in the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland.
Considered as one of the greatest mystics

What is Maria Faustina Kowalska known for?

Saint Faustina Kowalska is known for her love and devotion to Jesus, especially His Divine Mercy. Through the many visions that she had, she was able to grow and nourish her love for Christ in the Eucharist. Here are some more interesting facts:

  • Although, Sister Faustina did not know how to paint, she tried to draw the vision of Jesus Christ that she saw in 1931, on canvas with charcoal without much success. However, while working as a gardener in her convent in Vilnius, she met a priest who helped her contact Eugene Kazimierowski, an artist, who helped paint the first image of Jesus.
  • This popular image was of the Lord Jesus Christ raising one hand in blessing and pointing to his sacred heart with his other hand. White and red rays are seen flowing from his chest. White for the water that saves souls and red for the blood of the Lord Jesus. The image of the merciful Jesus was first displayed during the Mass celebrated on April 28, 1935.
  • This image is said to be the depiction of Jesus after the Resurrection when he appeared to his apostles. In her writings, Saint Faustina says that this image was revealed to her by Christ along with the words 'Jesus I Trust in You'. She added that she was told that any soul that venerated the image would not perish.
  • Did you know that the first holy cards with the image of the Divine Mercy were published in July 1937? In addition to that image, Saint Faustina also described her vision of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  Rosary or Hail Mary beads can be used to recite the prayers of this chaplet.
  • According to Saint Faustina, the prayers of the chaplet are to obtain mercy, trust in the mercy of Christ, and show mercy to those around us. Although the rosary beads are used to recite the Divine Mercy chaplet, the prayers are shorter.
  • The ideals of love and mercy were the biggest teachings that Saint Faustina received through her visions. They are the most powerful tools to alleviate pain and bring peace to a restless world. Through her visions, Saint Faustina also talks about eternal life and the grace of Jesus to those who believe in him!
  • The 'Eternal Father' prayer begins each decade or ten beads of the chaplet and is said on the single large bead. The ten small beads of the decade are used to recite the 'For The Sake Of His Sorrowful Passion' prayer. The chaplet concludes with the prayer of 'Holy God'. It requests the Holy Mighty One to have mercy and the Holy Immortal One to endow mercy on the whole world.
  • Over the years, the Divine Mercy devotion, including the image and the prayer, has grown in popularity. The Divine Mercy Novena starts on Good Friday and ends on Divine Mercy Sunday. Although it can be said at any time during the day, it is recited at the Hour of Great Mercy, which is 3 p.m.
  • Another vision that Saint Faustina is also known for is her vision of Heaven. She is also known to have had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary visiting souls in purgatory.
  • In her many writings, Maria Faustina describes another vision that she had in which an angel showed her Hell. She also wrote about the seven types of torture and suffering she witnessed there.

Maria Faustina Kowalska Books

Encouraged by Michael Spoćko, a priest appointed as a confessor to the nuns, Maria Faustina Kowalska kept a written account of the visions that she had. This journal came to be known and published as 'The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska'. It was titled 'Divine Mercy in My Soul'. It is listed among the best-selling books of recent times. Saint Faustina's diary and writings were key in promoting the Divine Mercy devotion. Here are some more facts about her books:

  • Faustina told the priest about her visions when she went to him for confession. However, he did not believe her and asked her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. When she passed the tests and was declared of sound mind and completely sane, Spoćko suggested she keep an account of her conversations, messages, and visions of Jesus.
  • This book was written between 1934 and 1938 in Vilnius and Krakow. Her earliest notes were written in July 1934. However, sister Faustina burnt the original version. She was later asked to rewrite what she had destroyed, and therefore, the first notebooks are not in chronological order.
  • The entries were written in secret and in her free time. She also wrote extensively while unwell, underlining the words spoken to her by Jesus. In addition to emphasizing God's mercy, her writings could also be used to better understand the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is comprised of God the Father, His son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
  • Her last entry was in June 1938, three months before she died. She wrote six notebooks in total, which were all published. She also wrote a smaller notebook on how she prepared for Holy Communion. The first edition of her diary was published in 1981.
  • Did you know that the diary of Saint Faustina is available in various languages, such as German, Russian, and Portuguese? Arabic and Chinese versions are also being produced. This will make this book easily accessible to all.
  • The book, 'The Letters of Saint Faustina' comprises nine letters that her spiritual director Michael Sopocko wrote to her and helps the reader to understand the relationship that they shared a bit better. It was first published in 2005.

Maria Faustina Kowalska Contribution As Nun

Maria Faustina Kowalska asked to join several convents but was turned down due to her poor background. Finally, she was accepted by the Mother Superior of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy under the condition that she would pay for her own religious habit or clothing.

  • She worked as a maid and saved money, and met the required conditions as she was accepted into the order on April 30, 1926. She worked as a cook in various locations in the convent. It was while she was in Plock that she got her first vision of the Divine Mercy on Sunday, February 22, 1931.
  • When she was transferred to Vilnis to work as a gardener, she met Michael Sopocko, a priest and professor. He helped her develop her image of the Divine Mercy and asked her to record her visions.
  • On May 18, 2020, Pope Francis added the feast of Saint Faustina to the General Roman Calendar as an optional memorial. Did you know that September 17 is celebrated as Saint Faustina's Day in John Paul II Hospital in Krakow? The chapel located here is where Saint Faustina spent many long hours in prayer.
  • There are many churches dedicated to this popular saint throughout the world, including the United States of America. Some of these are the Saint Faustina Catholic Church in Warren, MI, and the Chapel of Saint Faustina at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Baltimore, MD.
  • Did you know that there are quite a few movies based on the life of Saint Faustina? These include 'Divine Mercy: No Escape' and 'The Last Appeal: The Life of Faustina The Apostle of Divine Mercy'.
Kidadl Team
Written By
Kidadl Team

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