Maria Faustina Kowalska was born Helena Kowalska to a poor family in early 20th century Poland. She became convinced that she wanted a religious life for herself when she was still a child. However, Helena failed to secure permission to do so from her parents, with the result that she spent some time working as a housekeeper. Eventually, she received a vision from Jesus asking her how long she was going to keep putting him off, which caused her to head to Warsaw for the purpose of becoming a nun. Gaining entry to a convent was much easier said than done, not least because she was poor. Still, Helena was able to convince the Mother Superior of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy to accept her so long as she could pay for her habit. Subsequently, she took Sister Faustina Maria’s religious name of the Blessed Sacrament.
What Makes Faustina Kowalska So Notable?
Maria Faustina Kowalska lived 33 years, from 1905 to 1938. Throughout that time, she continued to report visions with Jesus as well as conversations with Jesus. Eventually, this resulted in the creation of the Image of the Divine Mercy, which was made possible by the assistance of Eugeniusz Kazimirowski because she herself had no artistic skill. The Divine Mercy devotion became a source of strength for the Polish throughout World War Two and beyond before spreading outwards. There was some initial resistance. However, it is clear that Maria Faustina Kowalska was accepted by the Roman Catholic Church in the end, seeing as how she was beatified in 1993 and then canonized in 2000.