Warsaw: Saint Faustina and the Virgin Mary

Her birth name was Helena Kowalska (1905-1938).

Faustina was her religious name in Warsaw.

She was canonized in the year 2000.

The apparitions of Jesus and Mary before entering the convent

Helena was born in Glogowiec, between Lodz and Wloclawek, in the Swinica district, to a poor family of ten children. Her father was a peasant and a carpenter. She reports in her diary more than twenty apparitions of the Virgin and more than thirty visions of Christ, angels and the dead. In 1910, Helena saw the Virgin in a dream. She held her by the hand and gave her a "tour of paradise." In 1912, she heard "God" calling her by her name (Winowska, 1973, 20).

From 1919, her desire to enter the convent grew, but her parents were opposed to it, so she went to work in Lodz. On August 1, 1923, during a ball, she had the following experience:

"When I started dancing, suddenly I saw Jesus beside me: stripped, tortured, and covered with wounds." (Diary, 37, quoted by Winowska, 23). She ran to St Stanislaus Kostka Cathedral and as she fell prostrate before the tabernacle, she heard: "Go to Warsaw, you will enter the convent there."

Helena returned home, and said goodbye to her sister. She asked the Virgin to help her. Suddenly, she heard, "deep in her soul": "Go to such a village, near the city, you will spend the night safely there."

The apparitions of Jesus and Mary at the convent

On August 1, 1924, Helena was admitted to the convent of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw as a "candidate." She became sister Faustina.

At the end of her novitiate, one night in April 1927, "the Virgin visited me, holding Jesus in her arms. Joy filled my soul, and I said, ‘Mary, my Mother, do you know what terrible suffering I endure?’ And the Mother of God answered me, ‘I know how much you suffer, but do not be afraid, I do have and I will always have compassion on you.’  She smiled affectionately and disappeared. "(Diary, 43.)

On February 22, 1931, she had her famous vision of Christ asking her:

"Paint a picture of what you see, with the inscription: ‘Jesus, I trust in you!’ (Diary, 51.)

In the same message, Christ declared to her that He wanted a "Feast of Mercy" on the Sunday following Easter.

A novena of prayer and offering

On August 15, 1934, the Virgin appeared to her again as she prayed in her cell:

"… I saw the Virgin, of unspeakable beauty. She said to me: ‘My daughter, I ask of you prayers, prayers, and more prayers, for the world, and especially for your homeland: For nine days, be close to the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and receive Communion in atonement. During these nine days, you will stand before God as an offering, everywhere, always, in every place and at every moment, night and day.’ "(Dairy, 152.)

At the end of this novena, Sister Faustine saw the Virgin covering her confessor with her "mantle." (Journal, 153)

The image is painted

During the week of 1935, the icon of "Christ of Mercy" was painted in Wilno (then a Polish city and now Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania) according to the indications provided by Sister Faustina, then exposed at Ostra Brama.

The encouragement of the heavenly Mother

On August 5, 1935, she saw the Virgin, "unspeakably beautiful,” come from the altar to her prie-dieu. She pressed me against Her and said to me:

"I am your Mother, thanks to the unfathomable Mercy of God. A soul is all the more pleasing to me as it faithfully fulfills the divine will... Be brave, do not be afraid of apparent obstacles, but fix your gaze on the Passion of my Son, in this way you will win the victory." (Diary, 194-195.)

The following August 15th:

"I heard the rustle of a robe and I saw the Virgin in a very beautiful light, dressed in a white dress and a blue scarf. She said to me: ‘You cause me great joy, when you worship the Trinity for the graces and privileges that it has granted me.’" (Diary, 229.)

March 25, 1936:

"Suddenly I saw the Mother of God who said to me: ‘I have given the Savior to the world, and you must speak to the world of His mercy and prepare the world for the second coming of the One who will come, not as the Merciful Savior, but as Just Judge ... Do not be afraid of anything, but be faithful till the end ...’" (Diary, 251.)

Faustina distributed some images in Krakow and Wilno and people began to venerate them. In 1936, Faustina fell seriously ill, probably of tuberculosis. She died in 1938.

Approval of the message and canonization of Faustina

In 1937, the archbishop of Wilno allowed the faithful to pray before the image he had installed in a chapel.

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the young archbishop of Krakow, became promoter of the cause. Elected to the pontifical throne, he beatified Sister Faustina in 1993 and canonized her in the year 2000.

Divine Mercy Sunday is now celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.


Sources :

La Miséricorde de Dieu dans mon âme. Petit Journal de sœur Faustine, Marquain, Jules Hovine, 1985 ;

M. Winowska, L'Icône du Christ miséricordieux. Message de sœur Faustine, Versailles, Ed. Saint-Paul, 1973.


La Miséricorde de Dieu dans mon âme. Petit Journal de sœur Faustine, Marquain, Jules Hovine, 1985 ;

M. Winowska, L'Icône du Christ miséricordieux. Message de sœur Faustine, Versailles, Ed. Saint-Paul, 1973.