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María Faustina Kowalska.11.English.24,1,22

24 enero, 2022 Autor: admin


María Faustina Kowalska

10. To the House of the Merciful Father


Tuberculosis, which had not been diagnosed until her stay in Vilnius, was ravaging Sister Faustina’s body. It had attacked not only the respiratory system but also the alimentary canal. Her superiors sent her for treatment to a sanatorium in the municipal health institution in Kraków. Her first period of treatment lasted nearly four months from December 1936 (with a break for Christmas). Already on her third day there she had evidence of the efficacy of the Chaplet to the Divine Mercy Jesus had given her. She woke up during the night and realised that a soul was asking her for prayer. When she entered the ward next day she saw that one of the patients was dying and heard that the agony had begun during the night at the hour when she had woken up. In her soul she heard Jesus’ words: Say the chaplet which I taught you (Diary 810). She fetched her rosary, knelt by the dying person’s bedside and started saying the Chaplet with all the powers of her spirit, asking Jesus to fulfil the promise He had made regarding the Chaplet. Suddenly the dying person opened her eyes, looked at Sister Faustina, and died with an extraordinary calm on her face. And Jesus said: At the hour of death, I will defend as My own glory every soul that says this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same. When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God’s anger is placated, and unfathomable mercy envelops the soul, and the very depths of My tender mercy will be moved for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of My Son (Diary 811).


That is how Sister Faustina’s hospital ministry for the dying started. Though seriously ill herself, often so ill that she had to leave Mass, she always noticed others, who needed help. And when her superior forbade her these visits to the bedsides of the dying on account of her own poor health, she would offer up her prayers and acts of obedience for them, which as Jesus had taught her meant more in His eyes than great deeds undertaken wilfully. She also helped not only those who were dying in the sanatorium, but thanks to the gift of bilocation also those dying in another part of the hospital or even hundreds of miles away. This happened on several occasions, when a relative or one of the sisters, or even someone she had never known was dying. For the spirit space does not exist.


At the hospital she experienced a lot of extraordinary graces. Already in the first days, when she suffered much because for nearly three weeks she had no access to confession, This afternoon, she wrote in her diary, Father Andrasz came into my room and sat down to hear my confession. Beforehand, we did not exchange a single word. I was delighted because I was extremely anxious to go to confession. As usual, I unveiled my whole soul. Father gave a reply to each little detail. I felt unusually happy to be able to say everything as I did. For penance, he gave me the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus. When I wanted to tell him of the difficulty I have in saying this litany, he rose and began to give me absolution. Suddenly his figure became diffused with a great light, and I saw it was not Father A., but Jesus. His garments were bright as snow, and He disappeared immediately. At first, I was a little uneasy, but after a while a kind of peace entered my soul; and I took note of the fact that Jesus heard the confession in the same way that confessors do; and yet something was wondrously transpiring in my heart during this confession. I couldn’t at first understand what it signified (Diary 817).


Along with great physical and spiritual suffering there were also vast graces, which Sister Faustina did not divulge to anyone except her confessors. But occasionally someone was a witness to them. One day I went to Prądnik to visit her, Sister Kajetana Bartkowiak recollected, I knocked on the door. She always used to say, «Come in, please», but this time there was no answer though I knocked and knocked. I thought she must be in her room and lying in bed, as she was ill, so I opened the door and went in. Then I saw her all different, changed, and levitating over the bed, gazing into the distance as if she were looking at something there. I stood next to the bedside cabinet on which there was a little altar set up and was overwhelmed with terror, but a moment later she came round and said, «Ah, Sister, you’ve come, I’m glad, do come in». Informed of this, Mother Superior Irena Krzyżanowska forbade her to speak about it, and this is how Sister Faustina’s extraordinary spiritual life was kept secret.


The first stage of her hospital treatment ended in March 1937. Her health slightly improved, Sister Faustina returned to Łagiewniki Convent. But already in April she suffered a relapse. In July her superiors sent her to the Congregation’s house in the spa resort of Rabka, but the sharp mountain climate was not good for Sister Faustina, she felt worse and had to leave after thirteen days. But she took with her St. Joseph’s assurance that he was very much in favour of the work of Mercy entrusted her by the Lord. He promised her his special help and protection, but asked her every morning to say “three Our Fathers and one prayer which the Congregation said in honour of St. Joseph”. From henceforth Sister Faustina knew that she was supported in the carrying out of the mission not only by the Blessed Virgin but also St. Joseph. Other saints and angels, whose company and assistance she had often enjoyed, also lent a helping hand.


On her return from Rabka Sister Faustina was given a lighter duty, in the entrance lodge, than her previous job in the garden. Here she had plenty of opportunities to perform acts of mercy to various people – vagrants, the unem- ployed, hungry children – who called at the lodge gate asking for assistance. In each of them she tried to discern Jesus Himself and out of love for Him did good works for all of them. One day a poor young man, emaciated, barefoot and bareheaded appeared at the lodge, as Sister Faustina described the incident, with his clothes in tatters … frozen because the day was cold and rainy. He asked for something hot to eat. So I went to the kitchen but found nothing there for the poor. But, after searching around for some time, I found some soup, which I reheated and into which I crumbled some bread, and I gave it to the poor young man, who ate it. As I was taking the bowl from him, he gave me to know that He was the Lord of heaven and earth. When I saw Him as He was, He vanished from my sight. When I went back in and reflected on what had happened at the gate, I heard these words in my soul: «My daughter, the blessings of the poor who bless Me as they leave this gate have reached My ears. And your compassion, within the bounds of obedience, has pleased Me, and this is why I came down from My throne – to taste the fruits of your mercy» (Diary 1312).


The first months of 1938 saw a further deterioration in Sister Faustina’s health, and her superiors decided to send her to Prądnik Hospital again after Easter. The Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart, who worked as nurses in the hospital, prepared a room for her, but in the evening one of them informed her that she would not have Holy Communion the next day because she was exhausted. In the morning I made my meditation, she noted in her diary, and prepared for Holy Communion, even though I was not to receive the Lord Jesus. When my love and desire had reached a high degree, I saw at my bedside a Seraph, who gave me Holy Communion, saying these words, «Behold the Lord of Angels». When I received the Lord, my spirit was sub- merged in the love of God and in amazement. This was repeated for thirteen days, although I was never sure he would bring me Holy Communion the next day (Diary 1676).


She continued to make entries in her diary almost to the end of June. She noted down the words of Jesus, her prayers, contemplation and the more important events, including her last three-day retreat given her by Jesus Himself before the Feast of Pentecost. Every day He gave her a subject for contemplation and points for meditation. He preached conferences on spiritual struggle, sacrifice, prayer, and mercy. Sister Faustina was to contemplate His love for her and love of one’s neighbour. Under such direction her mind had no problems with comprehending all the mysteries of faith, and her heart burned with the living flame of love. On the Feast of Pentecost she renewed her religious vows. Her soul was in special communion with the Holy Spirit, whose inspiration filled it with indescribable ecstasy, and her heart was flooded with thanksgiving for such vast graces.


The other sisters who visited her in hospital noticed her radiant happiness. I often visited her, Sister Serafina Kukulska recalled, and always found her cheerful, even happy, and sometimes as if radiant, but she never disclosed the secret of her happiness. She was very happy in Prądnik and never complained that she was suffering. The doctor, the nurses, the patients – they were all very good to her. Sister Felicja Żakowiecka visited Sister Faustina twice a week. During these visits she spoke with Dr. Adam Sielberg on Sister Faustina’s condition. The doctor said it was very bad. Sister Felicja was surprised that the doctor allowed her to go to Mass despite her poor condition. Her condition was incurable, he replied, but Sister was an extraor- dinary nun, so he did not take any notice of that. Others in her state would never rise, but he had seen her holding on to the wall as she walked to the chapel.


Sister Faustina’s health was deteriorating all the time and the end of her life on earth was approaching. Aware of this, she took her leave of the community. In August 1938 she wrote a letter to Mother General Michaela Moraczewska: Dearest Reverend Mother, I feel this is our last conversation on earth. I feel very, very weak and am writing with a trembling hand. I am suffering as much as I can bear. Jesus does not ask you to suffer beyond your capacity. The grace of God is as great as the suffering. I put all my trust in God and His holy will. I am filled with an ever greater longing for God. I do not fear death, my soul abound in great peace. She expressed her thanks for all the good she had received from Mother General and the Congregation, she begged forgiveness for her transgressions against the rule, she asked for their sisterly love, prayer and a blessing in the hour of death. She concluded the letter with the words, Farewell, Dearest Mother, we shall each other at the feet of God’s throne. And now praised be the Divine Mercy in us and through us.


It was at Prądnik Hospital that she spoke for the last time with her Vilnian spiritual director, Father Sopoćko, who was in Kraków in early September 1938 and had the opportunity to visit his extraordinary penitent before she died and hear instructions directly from her relating to the work of Mercy which Jesus had initiated through her services. Sister Faustina told him that his chief concern was to be the establishment of the Feast of the Divine Mercy in the Church and not to worry too much about the new congregation, and that there would be signs which would let him know what to do in this matter. She said that she would soon die and that she had finished all she had had to write and pass on. After having said good-bye to Sister Faustina he left her room, but on his way out remembered that he had not left her the booklets with the prayers to the Divine Mercy Jesus had given her. When he returned and opened the door to her room he found her levitating over the bed and absorbed in prayer. Her eyes were fixed on an invisible object, and her pupils slightly dilated, for some time she did not take any notice of me, and I did not want to disturb her and was intending to leave, but soon she came round, noticed me and apologised for not hearing me knock or enter. I gave her the prayers and said good-bye, and she said, «See you in heaven». The last time I visited her, on 26 September in the Łagiewniki Convent, she did not want to talk to me, or perhaps she couldn’t any longer, saying she was in communion with the Heavenly Father. Indeed she gave the impression of a supernatural being. I no longer had any doubts that what she wrote in her diary about Holy Communion being administered to her in hospital by an angel was absolutely true.


On her return from hospital (17 September 1938) Sister Faustina waited in the convent’s infirmary for the moment of her passage from this world to the Father’s House. The Sisters took turns in keeping a vigil by her bedside. The superior of the house, Mother Irena Krzyżanowska, like to visit her there, and observed Sister Faustina’s great calm and a strange charm about her. The tension regarding the accomplishing of the work of Mercy entrusted her by the Lord had gone. There will be a Feast of Divine Mercy, I see it, all I want is to do God’s will, she told Mother Superior. Asked by her if she was pleased to be dying in our Congregation she replied, Yes. You’ll see that the Congregation will be solaced by me. Shortly before she died she sat up in bed and asked Mother Superior to come up closer. Then she whispered, Jesus wants to elevate me and make me a saint. I observed a profound gravity in her, and had a strange feeling that Sister Faustina took this assurance as a gift from the Divine Mercy, without a trace of pride, Mother Irena recalled.


On the afternoon of 5 October 1938 Father Andrasz arrived at the Łagiewniki Convent and for the last time granted Sister Faustina absolution and administered the Sacrament of the Sick. That day at supper time a bell was heard. The sisters in the refectory got up from table and went upstairs, where Sister Faustina was lying in her room. By her bedside were the chaplain, Father Teodor Czaputa and Mother Superior Irena Krzyżanowska, while the rest of the Sisters stood in the corridor. Together they said the prayers for the dying, after which Sister Faustina told Mother Superior that she would not die yet. The sisters went down to the evening service. Sister Eufemia Traczyńska, a young nun in her juniorate, had heard from Sister Amelia Socha that Sister Faustina was bound to become a saint. Sister Eufemia wanted to see how saints die, but she could not exactly count on her superior granting her permission to attend a sister dying of tuberculosis. She prayed to the souls in purgatory to wake her when the time came for Sister Faustina to die. I went to bed at the usual time, Sister Eufemia recollected, and was soon asleep. Suddenly someone woke me up. «Sister, if you want to be by Sister Faustina when she dies, get up now». I knew at once it was an error. The sister who had come to wake up Sister Amelia had gone to the wrong cell and woken me instead. I woke Sister Amelia, put on my overall and bonnet and dashed to the infirmary. Sister Amelia arrived after me. It was around eleven at night. When we got there Sister Faustina as if opened her eyes and gave a faint smile, and then bowed her head and … Sister Amelia said that probably she had just died. I looked at Sister Amelia but said nothing. We continued to pray. The Candlemas candle continued to burn.


also their charges and even the farm hands came down to pray in the crypt where Sister Faustina’s coffin stood. One of them was Janek, who was said to be lapsed. He stood by Sister Faustina’s coffin and cried, so great was the impression she had made on him that apparently after the funeral he was converted. There was also Jadzia, a blind charge, who told of her unusual experiences. After the funeral service, which was conducted by Father Władysław Wojtoń SJ attended by two other priests, the sisters themselves carried Sister Faustina’s coffin down to the community’s cemetery in the garden.


Sister Faustina had achieved the fullness of union with God and sang a hymn in honour of His unfathomable Mercy. For us on earth she left a promise: Poor earth, I will not forget you. Although I feel that I will be immediately immersed in God as in an ocean of happiness, that will not be an obstacle to my returning to earth to encourage souls and incite them to trust in God’s mercy. Indeed, this immersion in God will give me the possibility of boundless action (Diary 1582).




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