Feast Day: 5 October
Maria Faustina was born in Poland in 1905. She was one of 10 children and, when she was nearly twenty, entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy; an order that devote themselves to the care and education of troubled young women.
In the 1930s, Sister Maria Faustina life changed dramatically. While in prayer she received a message from the Lord about mercy. She was told she was to spread it throughout the world. She was asked to become the apostle and secretary of God’s mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God’s plan of mercy for the world.
It was a daunting prospect – if she were to accept, her life was to become like Christ’s, a life lived wholly for others, full of pain and sacrifice. Despite this, when God asked her to take on this burden she willingly offered her personal sufferings in union with Him to atone for the sins of others.
In her daily life she was to become a doer of mercy, bringing joy and peace to others; and, by writing about God’s mercy, she was to encourage others to trust in Him and thus prepare the world for His coming again. Through her strong devotion to the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, and the added support of Mary, she received the strength to bear all her sufferings as an offering to God on behalf of the Church and those in special need – especially great sinners and the dying.
All of the suffering and writing she did in secret. As a devout Catholic, she had a spiritual director and, as a Sister of her order, she had superiors who helped to look out for her. It was only these people who had any idea of what she was going through and it was only with her death at the age of 33 that the true extent of her writings and sufferings became known. Even her closest friends were amazed as they began to discover what great sufferings and deep mystical experiences had been given to this Sister of theirs, who had always been so cheerful and humble.
The message of mercy that Sister Faustina received is now being spread throughout the world; her diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul, has become the handbook for devotion to the Divine Mercy.
Why Maria Faustina is important
A reflection from someone in our young Catholic community
I have only recently found out about St. Faustina with the start of the year of Mercy, but everything I learn about her is just so awe inspiring and humbling. Faustina shows us that it is through the small ways of loving our neighbour and showing mercy to those that wrong us that we gradually change the world for better; but, more importantly, how we transform ourselves into people full of Christ’s joy, even when going through the most hard of struggles and sacrifices.
She is also an incredible example of humility and docility to God. I so often want to do the thing my own way or to be advantageous to me, but she shows the better path is the one of obedience and love. She shows this as it’s only this path that has led to a life of deeper joy and fulfilment for her and for those around her.
When we contrast this to the short-lived excitement we get from doing things our own way which gradually fades and leads us feeling empty until our next kick, its clear to me which path is the better one even if it means having to suffer along the way.