St. Maria Faustina Kowalska was born in Poland and became a nun. She spoke with Jesus on several occasions. Many people had spoken with Jesus when he was living here on Earth. The difference here is that St. Maria Faustina Kowalska was born on August 25, 1905.
Her Father was a carpenter and a peasant, and her family was very poor. Her parents were religious and made sure that their ten children were, also. Maria stated that she knew by the age of 7 that she was being called to the religious life. After she finished school, she wanted to enter the convent, but her parents wouldn’t let her. She became a housekeeper to support herself and to help her parents. At the age of 19 she was at a dance when she had a vision of Jesus. She left the dance, went to the cathedral. Jesus told her to go to Warsaw right away and to enter the convent. She left immediately taking nothing with her and without getting permission from her parents.
The first thing she did once she arrived in Warsaw was to go to church and attend mass. The priest there told her where she could go to find a place to stay that was safe for her. She tried to get accepted into several convents, but was turned down each time. One convent even stated that they did not take in maids. This was referring to not taking in poor women. She finally got accepted at the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. They agreed to take her as long as she could pay for her habit. She worked and made payments to the convent and on April 26th at the age of 20 years old she received her habit and took the name of Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament. She took her first religious vows as a nun with her parents present in April, 1928. She was transferred to several different places those first years of being a nun. In 1930, it was discovered that she was ill, and she was sent to a farm that was owned by her religious order to rest. She recovered and returned to her convent.
It was on February 22, 1931 that she saw Jesus wearing a white gown with red and pale rays coming from his heart. Her diary stated that Jesus told her to paint an image looking like he was looking at that moment. He wanted the signature to be: “Jesus, I trust in You”. He wanted the image to be venerated, first in her chapel and then in the world. He promised that the souls that would venerate this image will not perish. He also wanted the Divine Mercy image to be “solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday was to be the Feast of Mercy”.
Maria didn’t know how to paint so she tried to find other nuns to help her, but no one offered. It took her three years before she found a painter to paint the picture under her direction. On, May 1,
1933 she became a perpetual sister of Our Lady of Mercy.
She was transferred to another convent and there she met Father Michael Sopoćko. She told him about her conversing with Jesus. He then ordered that she complete a psychiatric evaluation. She passed all parts of the evaluation. Father Sopoćko was then feeling confident in her. He suggested that she keep a diary and write down all her conversations with Jesus in it. The first Mass where the Divine Mercy image was displayed occurred on April 28, 1935, the first Sunday after Easter Sunday.
On September 13, 1935, Sr Maria Faustina Kowalska wrote in her diary that she saw a vision of The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. She stated in her diary that the purpose of the chaplet’s prayers for mercy are: “1. to obtain mercy, 2. to trust in Christ’s mercy, and 3. to show mercy.”
Later Sr Maria Faustina wrote rules for a new religious congregation that would be devoted to the Divine Mercy. She had taken vows to be with the convent that she was in. She asked for permission to leave this convent, but the answer was “no,” and they sent her away to another one of their convents.
She reported that Jesus spoke with her again and told her; “My Daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My Divine Mercy, I will make up for what you lack.”
Father Sopoćko wrote the first brochure on the Divine Mystery devotion in 1936. The Archbishop provided his permission for it to be printed. The brochure had the Divine Mercy image on the cover.
St. Maria Faustina became ill with what was believed to be tuberculosis, so she went to live in the sanatorium. She spent her time praying and reciting the Chaplet. She would pray for the conversion of sinners.
On March 27, 1937, she wrote in her diary about another vision. It was that the feast of the Divine Mercy would be celebrated in her local chapel and that many people would attend. She also stated that this celebration would take place in Rome attended by the pope.
She was asked in July 1937 to write the instructions for the Novena of Divine Mercy. She had reported this as a message from Jesus on Good Friday 1937. Throughout 1937 the Divine Mercy was promoted.
Sr. Maria Faustina’s health continued to deteriorate as it did her visions increased and she was looking forward to the end of her life. She died on October 5, 1938 at the age of 33.
Before dying she had told the nuns that there was going to be a terrible war and she asked them to pray for Poland. Her prediction came true and the people of Poland used the Divine Mercy for strength and inspiration.
After the war, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Mercy was founded. On June 24, 1956, Pope Pius XII blessed an image of the Divine Mercy in Rome.
For two decades there were some misunderstandings concerning the Divine Mercy and there was a ban place forbidding it publication. But in time this ban was removed and Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska was recognized as a saint.
Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the second Sunday of Easter which is the first Sunday after Easter. She is known and recognized as the Apostle of Divine Mercy.
There are at least two miracles accredited to her. One involved Maureen Digan. In 1981 she was praying at the tomb of St. Maria Faustina. She reported that she heard a voice saying, “ask me for my help and I will help you”. When Maureen did this the pain that she had been suffering for years ended. Her doctors later stated that she was completely healed, and it must have been a miracle. The church accepted it as one.
Father Ronald P. Pytel also was completely healed from a serious heart condition that he had suffered nearly all his life. He had prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day and read St. Maria Faustina’s diary. He celebrated Mass, on October 5, which is Blessed Faustina’s feast day. People prayed over him for healing. He started having problems taking his heart medication after that day, so he went to see his doctor and learned that his heart was completely normal. He did not need his medication anymore. This occurred three days after the Mass on October 5th.
St. Maria Faustina Kowalska listened to Jesus and never gave up doing what he asked her to do. She had total trust in Him.