|Net Abbey home page Divine Mercy Sunday|
The task of "proclaiming and introducing into life" the mystery of God's mercy, and imploring that mercy for the world, which the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II places before entire Church, was entrusted to Saint Faustina as her life's witness and mission.
Saint Faustina was born in 1905 in the village of Glogowiec near Lodz (Poland) as the third of ten children in the family of Marianna and Stanislaw Kowalski. From her childhood she was distinguished by a love for prayer, diligence at work, obedience and sensitivity for the poor. She attended not quite three years of elementary schooling, and later, as a teenager, left her family home to work as a domestic servant.
At the age of twenty she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in which, as Sister Maria Faustina, she spent thirteen years of her life performing the duties of cook, gardener, and doorkeeper. Her life, tough seemingly very ordinary, monotonous and drab, concealed in itself an exceptionally profound union with God. From her childhood she desired to become a great saint, and she consistently strove toward that goal, working together with Jesus for the salvation of lost souls, even to the extent of offering her life as a sacrifice for sinners. Therefore, her life as a religious was marked with the stigma of suffering, but also with extraordinary mystical graces.
The mission of Saint Faustina consists in:
Worn out and weakened by tuberculosis and the sufferings she bore in sacrifice for sinners, Saint Faustina died in the odor of sanctity in Cracow on October 5, 1938 at the age of 33.
On the first Sunday after Easter, April 18, 1993, in St. Peter's Square in Rome, Pope John Paul II declared her one of the community of the blessed. On the following day during his general audience he said:
"God has spoken to us through the spiritual wealth of Blessed Sister Faustina Kowalska. She left to the world the great message of Divine Mercy and an incentive to complete self-surrender to the Creator. God endowed her with a singular grace that enabled her to experience His mercy through mystical encounter and by a special gift of contemplative prayer.
Blessed Sister Faustina, thank you for reminding the world of that great mystery of Divine Mercy; that 'startling mystery', that inexpressive mystery of the Father, which today every individual and the whole world need so very much."
Sister Faustina was canonized in Rome on the first Sunday after Easter, April 30, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.