Spirituality for Today – October 2011 – Volume 16, Issue 3

Saint of the Month
St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, October 5

An image of Saint Maria Faustina KowalskaSaint Maria Faustina Kowalska

Named Helan Kowalska at birth, Maria's family of religious peasants lived in the Polish village of Glogowiec. Helena showed a remarkable devotion to prayer and service to the poor from a young age. She attended school for just three years, and then left home to work as a housekeeper to help support her family.

As a teenager, Helena wanted to join a convent, but her parents did not approve. Finally, when she was 20 years old, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Maria Faustina.

She would live at several Polish convents for the rest of her life, serving as a cook, gardener and porter. From all outside appearances, Maria was a simple, kind nun. However, this demeanor had a deeply mystical inner life.

Maria was blessed with the spiritual gifts of revelations, visions and prophecies. The young nun kept a diary in which she recorded her visions and words spoken to her by Jesus. Although mostly illiterate, Maria filled nearly 700 pages with her writings. She noted in her diary that the Lord called her His "secretary" for His "most profound mystery."

The Lord wanted Maria to instruct the world about the power of His Divine Mercy. He told her she would be a model for the mercy people should show one another, and the mercy that awaited each individual who embraced God. Maria carried out this task until her death from tuberculosis in 1938. Years later, her diary was accepted as divinely inspired and was translated into many languages.

O Jesus, eternal Truth, our life,
I call upon You and I beg Your mercy for poor sinners.
O sweetest Heart of my Lord, full of pity and unfathomable mercy,
I plead with You for poor sinners.
O Most Sacred Heart, Fount of Mercy
from which gush forth rays of inconceivable graces
upon the entire human race,
I beg of You light for poor sinners.
O Jesus, be mindful of Your own bitter Passion
and do not permit the loss of souls redeemed
at so dear a price of Your most precious Blood.

– St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives