+ Helena Kowalska in Głogowiec, Poland, to a poor, working-class family. She felt an attraction to the religious life at a young age, but her parents refused to give their blessing and she had to go to work at the age of 16 to help support her family.
+ In 1924 she was accepted by the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She was known by the religious name “Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament.”
+ On February 22, 1931, she had a vision of Jesus, dressed in white, with red and pale rays emanating from his heart. This is the origin of the Divine Mercy image and devotion, which Sister Maria Faustina dedicated the remainder of her life to promoting.
+ Sister Maria Faustina was later sent to Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) where, supported by Blessed Michael Sopoćko, a priest and university professor, she began to record her experiences of grace in her diary which was later published as Divine Mercy in My Soul.
+ In 1936, Maria Faustina returned to Poland and, a short time later, began to show signs of the illness—possibly tuberculosis—that would claim her life. Always faithful to promoting the devotion to Divine Mercy, she died in Krakow on October 5, 1938. She was canonized in 2000.
For prayer and reflection
“Pure love… knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love—love, and always love.”—Saint Faustina Kowalska
On this day, the Church in the United States celebrates the memory of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. A Redemptorist priest and missionary, Father Seelos was part of a mission band that preached missions in more than ten states. In 1866, he was assigned to St. Mary’s Assumption Church in New Orleans. He died there the following year of yellow fever, which he contracted while ministering to the sick during an epidemic. Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos was beatified in 2000.
O God, who in a wondrous manner
revealed the inexhaustible riches of your mercy to Saint Maria Faustina,
grant, we beseech you,
that by looking with trust upon the pierced side of your Son
we may be strengthened to show mercy one to another
and, at length, sing forever of your mercy in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.