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Read the story of Saint Faustina Kowalska
Faustina, l’apostola della Divina Misericordia, appartiene oggi al gruppo dei santi della Chiesa più conosciuti. Attraverso di lei il Signore manda al mondo il grande messaggio della Misericordia Divina e mostra un esempio di perfezione cristiana basata sulla fiducia in Dio e sull’atteggiamento misericordioso verso il prossimo.
Suor Maria Faustina nasce il 25 agosto 1905, terza di dieci figli, da Marianna e Stanislao Kowalski, contadini del villaggio di Głogowiec. Al battesimo nella chiesa parrocchiale di Świnice Warckie le fu dato il nome di Elena. Fin dall’infanzia si distinse per l’amore alla preghiera, per la laboriosità, per l’obbedienza e per una grande sensibilità alla povertà umana.
At the age of nine she received her First Communion; it was a profound experience for her because she immediately became aware of the presence of the Divine Guest in her soul. She attended school for just a scant three years. While still a teenager, she left her parental home and went to work with some wealthy families in Aleksandrów, Łódź and Ostrówek, to support herself and to help her parents.
Fin dal settimo anno di vita sentiva nella sua anima la vocazione religiosa, ma non avendo il consenso dei genitori per entrare in convento, cercava di sopprimerla. Sollecitata poi da una visione di Cristo sofferente, partì per Varsavia dove il 1 agosto del 1925 entrò nel convento delle Suore della Beata Vergine Maria della Misericordia.
Under the name of Sister Maria Faustina she spent thirteen years in the convent in the various houses of the Congregation, especially in Krakow, Vilno and Płock, working as a cook, gardener and concierge.
Outside there was no sign of his extraordinarily rich mystical life. She carried out all the jobs diligently, she faithfully observed the religious rules, she was concentrated, silent and at the same time full of benevolent and selfless love.
His apparently ordinary, monotonous and gray life hid within itself a profound and extraordinary union with God.
At the basis of her spirituality is the mystery of Divine Mercy which she meditated on in the word of God and contemplated in the daily routine of her life.
Knowledge and contemplation of the mystery of God's Mercy developed in her an attitude of filial trust in God and mercy towards others. She wrote: “O my Jesus, each of Your saints reflects one of Your virtues; I wish to reflect Your compassionate and merciful Heart, I want to glorify it. May Your mercy, O Jesus, be imprinted on my heart and soul like a seal and this will be my distinguishing mark in this life and in the next.”(Q. IV, 7).
Sister Maria Faustina was a faithful daughter of the Church, which she loved as a Mother and as the Mystical Body of Christ. Aware of her role in the Church, she collaborated with Divine Mercy in the work of saving lost souls. Responding to Jesus' desire and example, she offered her life as a sacrifice. Her spiritual life was also characterized by love for the Eucharist and a profound devotion to the Mother of God of Mercy.
The years of her religious life abounded in extraordinary graces: revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the passion of the Lord, the gift of ubiquity, the gift of reading human souls, the gift of prophecy and the rare gift of betrothal and mystical marriage.
Living contact with God
The living contact with God, with the Madonna, with the angels, with the saints, with the souls in purgatory, with the entire supernatural world was no less real and concrete for her than what she experienced with the senses. Despite the gift of many extraordinary graces, she was aware that they do not constitute the essence of sanctity.
He wrote inDiary(>> [PDF] Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska):
"Neither the graces, nor the revelations, nor the ecstasies, nor any other gift bestowed on it make it perfect, but the intimate union of my soul with God. The gifts are only an ornament of the soul, but they do not constitute its substance nor perfection. My holiness and perfection consists in a close union of my will with the will of God.” (Q. III, 28).
The Lord chose Sister Maria Faustina as secretary and apostle of his mercy to transmit, through her, a great message to the world. “In the Old Testament I sent prophets with thunderbolts to My people. Today I send you to all mankind with My mercy. I don't want to punish suffering humanity, but I want to heal it and hold it to My merciful Heart.” (QV,155).
Sister Maria Faustina's mission consisted of three tasks:
1. Bring closer and proclaim to the world the truth revealed in the Sacred Scripture on God's mercy for every man.
2. Implore Divine Mercy for the whole world, especially for sinners, especially with the new forms of worship of Divine Mercy indicated by Jesus: the image of Christ with the writing: Jesus I trust in You, the feast of the Divine Mercy on the first Sunday after Easter, the>>> Chaplet of Divine Mercy (audio)and prayer at the hour of Divine Mercy (3pm). To these forms of worship and also to the spread of the adoration of Mercy, the Lord attached great promises on the condition of trust in God and the practice of active love for one's neighbor.
3. To inspire an apostolic movement of Divine Mercy with the task of proclaiming and imploring Divine Mercy for the world and to aspire to Christian perfection on the path indicated by Sister Maria Faustina. This is the path that prescribes an attitude of filial trust, the fulfillment of God's will and an attitude of mercy towards others.
Today this movement brings together in the Church millions of people from all over the world: religious congregations, secular institutes, priests, brotherhoods, associations, the different communities of the apostles of Divine Mercy and individual people who undertake the tasks that the Lord he sent to Sister Maria Faustina.
Sister Maria Faustina's mission was described inDiarywhich she wrote following the desire of Jesus and the suggestions of the father confessors, faithfully noting all the words of Jesus and revealing the contact of her soul with Him.
The Lord said to Faustina: "Secretary of My deepest mystery, … your deepest task is to write down all that I let you know about My mercy, for the sake of souls who, reading these writings, will feel an inner comfort and will be encouraged to approach Me”(Q. VI, 67). In fact, this work approaches the mystery of Divine Mercy in an extraordinary way.
TheDiaryit fascinates not only ordinary people but also researchers who find in it an additional source for their theological research.
TheDiaryhas been translated into various languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Slovak and Arabic.
Sister Maria Faustina, destroyed by illness and the various sufferings that she willingly endured as a sacrifice for sinners, in the fullness of spiritual maturity and mystically united with God, died in Krakow on 5 October 1938 at the age of just 33.
The fame of the sanctity of his life grew together with the spread of the cult of Divine Mercy in the wake of the graces obtained through his intercession.
In the years 1965-67 the information process relating to his life and virtues took place in Krakow and in 1968 the beatification process began in Rome which ended in December 1992.
Sister Faustina was beatified in St. Peter's Square in Rome on 18 April 1993 and declared a saint on 30 April 2000 by St. John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła, 1978-2005) who, on that occasion, established, for the first time, the Feast of Divine Mercy, to be celebrated every year on the first Sunday afterEaster.
The relics of St. Faustina are found in the sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki but some of them are scattered throughout the world.
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