Introduction to the Life of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska:
- Feast Day: October 5
- Type of Feast: Commemoration
- Dates: August 25, 1905 (Glogowiec, Poland)-October 5, 1938 (Krakow, Poland)
- Birth Name: Helena Kowalska
- Patron of: Mercy
- Beatification: April 18, 1993, by Pope John Paul II
- Canonization: April 30, 2000 (Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter 2000), by Pope John Paul II
- Prayers: Divine Mercy Chaplet; Divine Mercy Novena
The Life of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska:
On Good Friday 1937, Christ appeared to Saint Faustina and dictated to her the prayers that He wished her to pray in a novena from Good Friday through the Octave of Easter, now known as Divine Mercy Sunday. These prayers seem intended primarily for her private use, but the novena has become very popular. It is often combined with the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which can also be prayed throughout the year. (Saint Faustina especially recommended that the chaplet be prayed on Fridays at 3:00 P.M., to commemorate the Death of Christ on the Cross.)
Saint Faustina died on October 5, 1938, in Krakow, Poland, of tuberculosis. The depths of her devotion to Christ and to His Divine Mercy only became know after her death, when her diary was revealed by her spiritual director, Father Michał Sopoćko. Father Sopoćko promoted the devotion to the Divine Mercy, but the devotion and the publication of Saint Faustina's writing was temporarily suppressed by the Vatican, because of possibly heretical misinterpretations.
As archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II) became devoted to Saint Faustina. Through his efforts, her works were once again allowed to be published, the Divine Mercy devotion became quite popular, and the cause of her sainthood was opened in 1965.
A miracle was attributed to Saint Faustina in March 1981, when Maureen Digan of Roslindale, Massachusetts, was cured of lymphedema, an incurable disease, after praying at Saint Faustina's tomb. The certification of the miracle led to Saint Faustina's beatification on April 18, 1993. A priest who had heart damage was cured on October 5, 1995, and this led to Saint Faustina's canonization on April 30, 2000—Divine Mercy Sunday that year.