Saint of the Week:
St. Faustina Kowalska
“We do not know the number of souls that is ours to save through our prayers and sacrifices; therefore, let us always pray for sinners.”
FEAST DAY: October 5
FUN FACTS: She is venerated within the Church as the “Apostle of Divine Mercy.”
Forever linked to Divine Mercy Sunday, the Divine Mercy chaplet, and the Divine Mercy Prayer recited all over the world at 3 o’clock, St. Faustina has become a (Catholic) household name over the past few decades.
Born in Glogowiec, Poland to a peasant family, Helena Kowalska was the third of ten children. She worked as a housekeeper in three cities before she answered God’s irresistible call. In 1925, Helena entered the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She took the name Faustina and was assigned to domestic service.
On the evening of February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to Faustina. He wore a white robe, and two rays — one white and one red — flowed from his breast. Jesus instructed Faustina to make a painting of his image, promising that anyone who honoured it would be saved. He also told her that he wanted the whole church to celebrate the first Sunday after Easter as the Feast of Mercy. At first, Faustina was ridiculed and poorly supported; but with the help of her spiritual director, Father Michael Sopocko, the message of Divine Mercy spread. By 1935, thousands of people in Poland were participating in the Divine Mercy movement.
At a time when many Catholics only saw God as a strict judge and were tempted to despair from ever being forgiven, Jesus revealed the Image of Divine Mercy to Faustina to show the world that He does not wish to punish, but to heal mankind.
Faustina died of tuberculosis in 1938. With the support of St. Pope John Paul II, the Divine Mercy devotion was established throughout the entire church. He beatified Faustina in 1993, and canonized her seven years later.