Maria Faustina Kowalska


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Thérèse de Lisieux (1873—1897) French Carmelite nun


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Religious Sister (1905–38).

Born at Glogowiec (Poland), she was convinced she was called to the religious life after a vision in 1923. Two years later she entered the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy at Warsaw, and took perpetual vows as a lay-sister in 1933. From then until 1936 she lived at Vilna. She worked in the kitchen, the garden, and the porter's lodge; she was notably charitable to the poor and was generally zealous, diligent, and obedient. Her final years were spent at Cracow, where she died of tuberculosis, offering her life for the conversion of sinners.

During her short life she experienced numerous visions of the Merciful Jesus, and propagated this devotion through her diaries. Towards the end of her life she experienced for the first time having a cell to herself which made her think she was ‘just like a Carmelite’. She also realized how much sick people needed prayers and seemed to have a special intuition of how closely connected her own sufferings were with the repentance of particular sinners. In several ways her life resembled that of Theresa of Lisieux, and both came to accept completely the will of God in and through their sufferings. Her ‘message’, it has been well said, is in function of the text of John's first epistle, ch. 5, 4–11. She died peacefully on 25 August, her feast day. She was beatified in 1965 and canonized by John Paul II in 2000.

Her diary was published at Rome in 1990 and 1992, her Vita e Virti (1991) and the official Positio super virtutibus (also 1991). More popular presentations by Dr H. W., Soeur Faustine, apôtre de la Miséricorde Divine (Osny 1953) and M. Winowska, L'Icone du Christ miséricordieux (Paris 1973).

Subjects: Christianity.

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