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Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska

First saint canonized in the third millennium.
Nun, mystic and visionary; known as the Apostle of Divine Mercy.
Born 25th August 1905, near Lodz (then in the Russian Empire).
Died 5th October 1938, Kraków, Poland.
Beatified on 18 April 1993 & canonized by St John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday in great Jubilee 2000.
Feast Day - 5th October

St Faustina:
O Most Holy Trinity, I want to be completely transformed into your mercy and to be you living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of you unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbour.

Click here for the Divine Mercy chaplet & novena (in numerous languages).

Sr Maria Gaudia on the Sisters of Our Lady of Divine Mercy       

"The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy is mostly inspired by St Faustina, though she didn't start the Congregation but from 1995 she has been called our spiritual co-foundress, as her role, her inspiration is so powerful for all of us, she cannot be anything less than that. The historical beginning of the Congregation is in 1862, 1st November, when Mother Teresa Potocka founded the congregation. Since the very beginning, the mission of the congregation, the spirituality, the charisma, was mercy .. mercy through words, deeds and prayers."

3 2us by Mgr Keith Barltrop      

"It's a message that although we have so much to distrust in ourselves, we can have an absolute complete confidence in God's mercy towards us. St Faustina was not only the 'secretary', the mouthpiece of this message, but she lived it herself in the convent, through many ups and downs, as did Saint Thérèse. She had to learn to trust the message of mercy, she had to learn to detach herself from doing what she wanted, she had to experience many, many trials, disbelief, people thinking that she was deluded. Even after her death for many years the message of Divine Mercy was suspect. .. Eventually, thanks to the very providential appointment of John Paul II as Pope, these messages became known and accepted."

Patrick, from Germany, and Marie-Pierre, from DR Congo, have both chosen St Faustina as their incredible saint:

"My favourite saint is St Faustina because her intimate relationship with Our Lord has really opened up a lot of things that I did not really know about Our Blessed Lord. Her prayers, or the prayers she received from Jesus Christ, are so powerful and remind us about the message of mercy, which should always be the focus of our faith, and that we can all get close to Our Lord even though we are all sinners, and that we shouldn't despair and always have hope. "

"Ma sainte préférée c'est Sainte Faustine Kowalska parce que c'est une sainte qui m'a appris à aimer Dieu par des petites choses, par sa miséricorde, qui a eu presque une histoire semblable à la mienne. Une sainte d'une famille pauvre et qui aime Dieu et qui veut se donner malgré les limites des moyens, malgré les limites de ce que les gens peuvent voir. Mais sa relation avec le Christ c'est ce qui était le plus fort, et trés souvent je me confie à la Sainte Faustine pour mes amis en récitant le Chapelet de la Miséricorde tous les jours à quinze heures."

Pope St John Paul II's homily at St Faustina's Canonization
Divine Mercy Sunday, 30 April 2000 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

1. "Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus, quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius"; "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever" (Ps 118). So the Church sings on the Octave of Easter, as if receiving from Christ's lips these words of the Psalm; from the lips of the risen Christ, who bears the great message of divine mercy and entrusts its ministry to the Apostles in the Upper Room: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.... Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (Jn 20: 21-23).

Before speaking these words, Jesus shows his hands and his side. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in his heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity. From that heart Sr Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that heart and illuminating the world: "The two rays", Jesus himself explained to her one day, "represent blood and water".

2. Blood and water! We immediately think of the testimony given by the Evangelist John, who, when a solider on Calvary pierced Christ's side with his spear, sees blood and water flowing from it. Moreover, if the blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ crucified: "My daughter, say that I am love and mercy personified", Jesus will ask Sr Faustina. Christ pours out this mercy on humanity though the sending of the Spirit who, in the Trinity, is the Person-Love. And is not mercy love's "second name" (cf Dives in misericordia, 7), understood in its deepest and most tender aspect, in its ability to take upon itself the burden of any need and especially in its immense capacity for forgiveness?

Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sr Faustina Kowalska to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind. In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted his message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who were witnesses and participants in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people, know well how necessary was the message of mercy.

Jesus told Sr Faustina: "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy". Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked for ever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time.

3. What will the years ahead bring us? What will man's future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no lack of painful experiences. But the light of divine mercy, which the Lord in a way wished to return to the world through Sr Faustina's charism, will illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium.

However, as the Apostles once did, today too humanity must welcome into the upper room of history the risen Christ, who shows the wounds of his Crucifixion and repeats: Peace be with you! Humanity must let itself be touched and pervaded by the Spirit given to it by the risen Christ. It is the Spirit who heals the wounds of the heart, pulls down the barriers that separate us from God and divide us from one another, and at the same time restores the joy of the Father's love and of fraternal unity.

4. It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called "Divine Mercy Sunday". In the various readings, the liturgy seems to indicate the path of mercy which, while re-establishing the relationship of each person with God, also creates new relations of fraternal solidarity among human beings. Christ has taught us that "man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called "to practise mercy' towards others: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Mt 5: 7)" (Dives in misericordia, 14). He also showed us the many paths of mercy, which not only forgives sins but reaches out to all human needs. Jesus bent over every kind of human poverty, material and spiritual.

His message of mercy continues to reach us through his hands held out to suffering man. This is how Sr Faustina saw him and proclaimed him to people on all the continents when, hidden in her convent at Łagiewniki in Kraków, she made her life a hymn to mercy: Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo.

5. Sr Faustina's canonization has a particular eloquence: by this act I intend today to pass this message on to the new millennium. I pass it on to all people, so that they will learn to know ever better the true face of God and the true face of their brethren.

In fact, love of God and love of one's brothers and sisters are inseparable, as the First Letter of John has reminded us: "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments" (5: 2). Here the Apostle reminds us of the truth of love, showing us its measure and criterion in the observance of the commandments.

It is not easy to love with a deep love, which lies in the authentic gift of self. This love can only be learned by penetrating the mystery of God's love. Looking at him, being one with his fatherly heart, we are able to look with new eyes at our brothers and sisters, with an attitude of unselfishness and solidarity, of generosity and forgiveness. All this is mercy!

To the extent that humanity penetrates the mystery of this merciful gaze, it will be possible to fulfil the ideal we heard in today's first reading: "The community of believers were of one heart and one mind. None of them ever claimed anything as his own; rather everything was held in common" (Acts 4: 32). Here mercy gave form to human relations and community life; it constituted the basis for the sharing of goods. This led to the spiritual and corporal "works of mercy". Here mercy became a concrete way of being "neighbour" to one's neediest brothers and sisters.

6. Sr Faustina Kowalska wrote in her Diary: "I feel tremendous pain when I see the sufferings of my neighbours. All my neighbours' sufferings reverberate in my own heart; I carry their anguish in my heart in such a way that it even physically destroys me. I would like all their sorrows to fall upon me, in order to relieve my neighbour." This is the degree of compassion to which love leads, when it takes the love of God as its measure!

It is this love which must inspire humanity today, if it is to face the crisis of the meaning of life, the challenges of the most diverse needs and, especially, the duty to defend the dignity of every human person. Thus the message of divine mercy is also implicitly a message about the value of every human being. Each person is precious in God's eyes; Christ gave his life for each one; to everyone the Father gives his Spirit and offers intimacy.

7. This consoling message is addressed above all to those who, afflicted by a particularly harsh trial or crushed by the weight of the sins they have committed, have lost all confidence in life and are tempted to give in to despair. To them the gentle face of Christ is offered; those rays from his heart touch them and shine upon them, warm them, show them the way and fill them with hope. How many souls have been consoled by the prayer "Jesus, I trust in you", which Providence intimated through Sr Faustina! This simple act of abandonment to Jesus dispels the thickest clouds and lets a ray of light penetrate every life. Jezu, ufam tobie.

8. Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo (Ps 88 [89]: 2). Let us too, the pilgrim Church, join our voice to the voice of Mary most holy, "Mother of Mercy", to the voice of this new saint who sings of mercy with all God's friends in the heavenly Jerusalem.

And you, Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy; help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters. May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to the practice of brotherhood. Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope: Christ Jesus, I trust in you! Jezu, ufam tobie!"

Pope St John Paul II's homily at St Faustina's Beatification
2nd Sunday of Easter, 18 April 1993 - in Italian

 1. “Celebrate il Signore, perché è buono, perché eterna è la sua misericordia” (Sal 118, 1). Il Salmo di ringraziamento attraversa come un fascio di luce tutta l’ottava di Pasqua. È il “grazie” corale della Chiesa, che adora Dio per il dono della Risurrezione di Cristo: per il dono della Vita nuova ed eterna, rivelata nel Risorto. La Chiesa, unanime, adora e ringrazia per l’infinito amore che, in Lui, si è comunicato ad ogni uomo e all’universo intero. “Sia benedetto Dio e Padre del Signore nostro Gesù Cristo... egli ci ha rigenerati, mediante la risurrezione di Gesù Cristo dai morti, per una speranza viva”(1 Pt 1, 3). Ci ha rigenerati “nella sua grande misericordia” (1 Pt 1, 3), Lui, Iddio e Padre di Cristo crocifisso e risorto: “dives in misericordia”. La Chiesa vive con questa intima consapevolezza fin dai suoi albori. In spirito di ringraziamento pasquale si radunavano i primi discepoli e fedeli, spezzando il pane nelle case (cf. At 2, 46), celebrando cioè l’Eucaristia. In questo medesimo spirito la Comunità apostolica accoglieva ed accompagnava i catecumeni, mentre cresceva il numero di quelli che benedicevano Dio, di quanti lo professavano “ricco di misericordia” (Ef 2, 4), ringraziandolo per l’amore rivelato in Cristo.

2. Oggi la stessa Chiesa, rigenerata “per una speranza viva”, rende grazie per “una eredità che non si corrompe... che è conservata nei cieli” per noi (1 Pt 1, 3-4). Il Popolo cristiano – nell’imminenza dell’anno 2000 – esprime la propria gioia pasquale a motivo di alcuni suoi figli e figlie che, in modo particolare, confermano questa eredità di Dio conservata nei cieli per noi. Ecco i loro nomi: Ludovico da Casoria, Paula Montal de San José de Calasanz,
Stanisław Kazimierczyk, Angela Truszkowska, Faustyna Kowalska.

6. Pozdrawiam Cię, Siostro Faustyno. Od dzisiaj Kościół zwie Ciebie błogosławioną, zwłaszcza Kościół na ziemi polskiej i litewskiej. O, Faustyno, jakże przedziwna była Twoja droga! Czyż można nie pomyśleć, że to Ciebie właśnie, ubogą i prostą córkę mazowieckiego polskiego ludu wybrał Chrystus, aby przypomnieć ludziom wielką Bożą tajemnicę Miłosierdzia. Tę tajemnicę zabrałaś ze sobą, odchodząc z tego świata po krótkim i pełnym cierpień życiu. Równocześnie tajemnica ta stała się proroczym zaiste wołaniem do świata, do Europy. Przecież Twoje orędzie Bożego miłosierdzia zrodziło się jakby w przeddzień straszliwego kataklizmu drugiej wojny światowej. Zapewne byś się zdziwiła, gdybyś mogła na ziemi doświadczyć, czym stało się to orędzie dla udręczonych ludzi tego czasu pogardy, jak szeroko ono poszło w świat. Dzisiaj – tak głęboko wierzymy – ogladasz w Bogu owoce Twojego posłannictwa na ziemi. Dziś doświadczasz u samego Źródła, kim jest Twój Chrystus: “Dives in Misericordia”.

“Sento chiaramente che la mia missione non finisce con la morte, ma inizia... ”, ha scritto Suor Faustyna nel suo Diario. E così è veramente avvenuto! La sua missione continua e sta portando frutti sorprendenti. È veramente meraviglioso il modo in cui la sua devozione a Gesù Misericordioso si fa strada nel mondo contemporaneo e conquista tanti cuori umani! Questo è senza dubbio un segno dei tempi, un segno del nostro XX secolo. Il bilancio di questo secolo che tramonta presenta, oltre alle conquiste, che spesso hanno superato quelle delle epoche precedenti, anche una profonda inquietudine e paura circa l’avvenire. Dove, quindi, se non nella divina Misericordia, il Mondo può trovare lo scampo e la luce della speranza? I credenti lo intuiscono perfettamente!

“Dziękujcie Panu, bo jest dobry...

Dziękujcie Panu, bo jest miłosierny...”.

Dzisiaj, w dniu beatyfikacji Siostry Faustyny, wielbimy Boga za wielkie dzieła, jakich dokonał w Jej duszy. Wysławiamy Go i dziękujemy Mu za wielkie dzieła, jakich dokonał i ciągle dokonuje w duszach ludzkich, które dzięki jej świadectwu i orędziu odkrywają nieskończone głębie Bożego Miłosierdzia.

Ecco le parole del Papa in una nostra traduzione italiana.

6. Ti saluto, Suor Faustyna. Da oggi la Chiesa ti nomina Beata, soprattutto la Chiesa della terra polacca e lituana. O Faustyna, come meraviglioso è stato il Tuo cammino! Come si può non pensare, che proprio Te, una povera e semplice figlia del popolo polacco di Mazowsze, Cristo ha scelto per ricordare alla gente il grande mistero della divina Misericordia. Questo mistero hai portato con Te, lasciando questo mondo dopo una vita breve e piena di sofferenza. Allo stesso tempo questo mistero è divenuto veramente un grido profetico rivolto verso il mondo e verso l’Europa. Il Tuo messaggio della divina Misericordia è nato praticamente quasi alla vigilia del pauroso cataclisma della seconda guerra mondiale. Probabilmente non Ti sorprenderesti, se avessi potuto sperimentare sulla terra ciò che questo messaggio è diventato per la tormentata gente di quel tempo del disprezzo, come si è esteso nel mondo. Oggi – crediamo così profondamente – guardi in Dio il frutto della Tua missione sulla terra. Oggi sperimenti presso la stessa Fonte, chi è il Tuo Cristo: “dives in misericordia”.

“Sento chiaramente che la mia missione non finisce con la morte, ma inizia...”, ha scritto Suor Faustyna nel suo Diario. E così è veramente avvenuto! La sua missione continua e sta portando frutti sorprendenti. È veramente meraviglioso il modo in cui la sua devozione a Gesù Misericordioso si fa strada nel mondo contemporaneo e conquista tanti cuori umani! Questo è senza dubbio un segno dei tempi – un segno del nostro XX secolo. Il bilancio di questo secolo che tramonta presenta, oltre alle conquiste, che spesso hanno superato quelle delle epoche precedenti, anche una profonda inquietudine e paura circa l’avvenire. Dove, quindi, se non nella divina Misericordia, il Mondo può trovare lo scampo e la luce della speranza? I credenti lo intuiscono perfettamente!

“Ringraziate il Signore, perché è buono... Ringraziate il Signore, perché è misericordioso...”. Oggi, nel giorno della beatificazione di Suor Faustyna, adoriamo Dio per le grandi opere che ha compiuto nella sua anima. Lo glorifichiamo e Gli rendiamo grazie per le grandi opere, che ha compiuto e continua a compiere nelle anime umane, le quali – grazie alla sua testimonianza e messaggio – riscoprono le infinite profondità della divina Misericordia.

8. Celebriamo il Signore, perché è buono. Celebriamolo, perché è misericordioso. Ecco gli Apostoli, riuniti nel Cenacolo: i primi che hanno innalzato questo ringraziamento pasquale. Per primi essi hanno ricevuto lo Spirito Santo per la remissione dei peccati, il medesimo Spirito nel quale sono stati mandati: “Come il Padre ha mandato me, anch’io mando voi” (Gv 20, 21). Questa missione perdura attraverso i secoli, di generazione in generazione. E perdura ugualmente la grazia, capace di “fare nuove tutte le cose” (cf. Ap 21, 5).

Ecco Tommaso, singolare rappresentante di coloro che dicono: “Se non vedo... non crederò” (Gv 20, 25). Egli è diventato, otto giorni dopo, portavoce di quanti confessano: “Mio Signore e mio Dio” (Gv 20, 28). Possa la verità su Cristo crocifisso e risorto trovare accesso presso le sempre nuove generazioni di coloro che “pur non avendo visto crederanno” (Gv 20, 29).

 “Dives in misericordia”. Quanto è necessario, all’uomo di tutti i tempi, l’incontro con Te, o Cristo! L’incontro mediante la fede, la quale si prova nel fuoco delle privazioni e fruttifica nella gioia.

Nella gioia pasquale. La fede fruttifica in gioia “indicibile e gloriosa” (1 Pt 1, 8)."