Chronology of Events in the life of Saint Maria Faustina – Helen Kowalska of The Congregation of The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy
August 25, 1905 – Helen Kowalska is born in the village of Glogowiec, Turek County, Lodz Province, Poland (Parish records of births).
August 27, 1905 – She is baptized in St. Casimir Church, Swinice Warckie, Turek County, by pastor, Rev. Joseph Chodynski. She receives the name of Helen. (Acts of the Parish in Swinice).
1912 – At the age of seven, Helen hears for the first time a voice in her soul, calling her to a more perfect way of life (Diary 1:3).
1914 – She receives First Holy Communion from the hands of her pastor, Rev.Pawlowski (Acts of the Parish in Swinice).
November 1917 – She begins her primary education in Swinice (Minutes from Zbiorczej Szkoly Gminnej w Swinicach Warckich, April 6, 1976).
1919 – At the age of 14, Helen begins to work for the Bryszewski family in Aleksandrow, near Lodz, in order to help her parents (Memoirs of her mother, Marianne Kowalska).
October 30, 1921 – She receives the Sacrament of Confirmation in Alexandrow, near Lodz, from Bishop Vincent Tymienecki.
1922 – After working for a year for the Bryszewski family, she returns home and announces that she wishes to enter a convent. Her parents decidedly oppose this move (Diary 1:4; Memoirs of her mother).
Autumn 1922 – Helen leaves for Lodz to look for more work in order to help her parents. She works for three terciaries (Memoirs of her mother, p. 5; Memoirs of Stanislava Rapacka).
February 2, 1923 – Referred by an employment agency, she goes to work for Marcianne Sadowska, the owner of a store on 29 Abaramowski St., Lodz, where she remains until July 1, 1924 (Memoirs of Mrs. Sadowska, p.2).
July 1924 – Helen goes to Warsaw to enter a convent there (Memoirs of Mother General Michael Moraczewska, handwritten, p.1; Diary 1:4).
She applies at the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at 3/9 Zytnia Street in Warsaw. The superior assesses her as “no one special” and puts her to the test, telling her to go to work so she can pay for her wardrobe (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p. 1; Memoirs of Sister Borgia, p. 1).
Summer 1924 – Helen goes to work as a domestic for Aldona Lipszyc, at Ostrowek, Klembow County, near Warsaw (Memoirs of A. Lipszyc, p.1).
August 1, 1925 – She again applies to the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, and this time she is accepted (Memoirs of Sister Borgia, p.1; Diary 1:6).
Circa August 22, 1925 – Helen wants to leave the Congregation to enter a stricter order. She feels that there is too little time for prayer in the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.2; Diary 1:6).
August 1925 – The superior sends her to Skolimow, a vacation house of the Congregation, near Warsaw, to regain her strength (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.2).
January 23, 1926 – She leaves for the Novitiate in Cracow to complete her postulancy period, make a retreat, and receive the veil (Memoirs of Sister Borgia, p. 1; Diary 1:7).
April 30, 1926 – After an eight-day retreat, she receives her habit and her name in religion. From now on Helen will bear the name Sister Maria Faustina (Cracow Chron. 111:177; Memoirs of Sister Clemens).
June 20, 1926 – An administrative change of the Directress of Novices influences Sister Faustina’s spiritual formation (Cracow Chron. 111:179).
April 3, 1927 – Sister Faustina experiences the spiritual dark night. The trial lasts almost to the end of the Novitiate. Mother Directress, Mary Joseph Brzoza, encourages her, excuses her from formal spiritual exercises, and urges her to great fidelity to God (Diary 1:8).
April 16, 1928 – On Good Friday, the flame of Divine Love encompasses the suffering novice. She forgets past sufferings, and she more clearly recognizes how much Christ suffered for her (Diary 1:10).
April 20, 1928 – In the evening Sister Faustina, together with other sisters, begins the retreat before taking temporary vows (Chron. 111:203; Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.3; Diary 1:11).
April 30, 1928 – Sister Faustina makes her first profession of temporary vows, which she will renew each year for five years, until the moment when she will make her perpetual vows (Cracow Chron. 111:203; Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.3).
Dec. 6-10, 1928 – At the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Mother Michael Moraczewska is elected Mother General (Cracow Chron. 111:210). [Mother Michael will be Superior throughout Sister Faustina’s life. In difficult moments she will be her help and comfort.
Into her hands Sister Faustina will place her perpetual vows. Before death she will ask pardon of the whole Congregation through Mother’s hands for all the failings committed during her entire religious life (Memoirs of Mother Michael, pp. 5, 11, 12).]
October 31, 1928 – Sister Faustina leaves for 3/9 Zytnia Street, Warsaw, where she is assigned to work in the kitchen (Cracow Chron. 111:212).
February 21, 1929 – She leaves for Vilnius to substitute for a sister going for her third probation (Vilnius Chron. 1:9).
April 11, 1929 – By morning train, she leaves Vilnius to return to Warsaw (Vil. Chron. 1:21).
June 1929 – She is assigned to work in a newly-formed house on Hetmanska Street, Warsaw (Memoirs of Sisters).
After a few months, Sister Faustina returns to the house on 3/9 Zytnia Street. Meanwhile the students, (wards) with whom she worked, promise that they will follow her there (Memoirs of Sisters).
July 7, 1929 – For a short while, Sister Faustina is sent to a house of the Congregation in Kiekrz near Poznan, to substitute for an ailing sister in the kitchen (Memoirs of Syster Xavier; letter of July 6 with no year, placed in the memoirs; Diary 1:74).
October 1929 – She is already back in Warsaw, as evidenced by a letter to Sister Justine, dated October 20, 1929. (Letters #25:66).
May-June 1930 – Assigned to the house of the Congregation in Plock, Sister Faustina works there by turns in the bakery, the kitchen, and the bakery store (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.3).
During her stay in Plock (from June 1930 to November 1932), she spends some time in Biala (a house of the Congregation situated in a village about 10 kilometers from Plock).
[Because the chronicles of Warsaw and Plock were ruined during World War II, it is difficult to fully ascertain the dates of her stay in these homes.]
A letter to Sister Justine Golofit, dated December 17, 1930, witnesses to the fact that Sister Faustina is, at that time, still in Biala (Letters #26:68).
February 22, 1931 – Sister Faustina sees a vision of the Lord Jesus, who tells her to paint an image according to the pattern she sees (Diary 1:18; Memoirs of Mother P-4).
November 1932 – She arrives in Warsaw for the Third Probation, which the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy make before taking perpetual vows (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.5; Diary 1:84).
Before beginning the Third Probation, she does to Walendow to make a retreat (Memoirs of Sister Seraphina Kukulska; Diary 1:84).
December 1, 1932 – Together with other sisters she begins the Third Probation under the direction of Sister Margaret Gimbutt (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.5; Diary 1:89).
The Third Probation in this Congregation lasts for five months. During this time, Sister Faustina works in the vestry, helping Sister Suzanne Tokarski (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p. 5; Memoirs of Sister Suzanne; Diary 1:89).
March 1933 – Sister Faustina’s younger sister, Wanda, visits her (Diary 1:97).
April 18, 1933 – With other sisters, Sister Faustina goes to Cracow to make an eight-day retreat and her profession of perpetual vows (Cracow Chron. IV:8).
April 21, 1933 – The eight-day retreat begins under the direction of Father Wojnar, S.J. (Cracow Chron. IV:8; Diary 1:102).
May 1, 1933 – Sister Faustina makes her perpetual vows. The celebrant for this ceremony is Bishop Stanislaus Rospond. After the vows, Sister Faustina remains in Cracow for another month (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.5; Cracow Chron. IV:8; Diary 1:114).
May 25, 1933 – She leaves for Vilnius (Vil. Chron., p. 178). [The chronicle notes: “Sister Faustina, who made her profession of perpetual vows in Cracow, arrived Thursday evening, by train.”]
January 2, 1934 – Sister Faustina goes for the first time to the artist Kazimirowski, who is to paint the image of The Divine Mercy (Memoirs of Rev. Sopocko, p.1; Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.6; Diary 11:240).
March 29, 1934 – She offers herself for sinners, especially for those souls who have lost trust in the Divine Mercy (Diary 1:133).
June 1934 – The painting of the image of The Divine Mercy, executed by artist E. Kazimirowski under the guidance of Sister Faustina, is completed. Sister Faustina cries because the image of the Lord Jesus is not as beautiful as she had seen Flim (Memoirs of Rev. Sopocko, p. 1; Diary I: 134).
July 26, 1934 – Sister Faustina lies sick – with a cold (Vil. Chron., p. 223).
July 28, 1934 – She begins to write the Diary again.
August 12, 1934 – She becomes gravely ill. Dr. Maciejewska is summoned along with Father Sopocko, who administers the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to her (Vil. Chron., p. 226).
August 13, 1934 – Her health improves (Vil. Chron., p. 226).
October 26, 1934 – Walking with the students from the garden to supper (10 minutes before 6:00 p.m.), Sister Faustina sees the Lord Jesus above the chapel in Vilnius in the same way as she saw Him in Plock; that is, with the pale and red rays. The rays envelop the chapel of the Congregation and the infirmary of the students, and then they spread out over the whole world (Archives – Sister Faustina documents).
February 15, 1935 – Sister Faustina receives news of her seriously ill mother and leaves immediately that evening for her home village of Glogowiec, near Lodz (Vil. Chron., p. 261 ; Diary 1:165-169).
After leaving her home, Sister Faustina stops in Warsaw to see Mother General, Michael Moraczewska, and her former Directress, Sister Mary Joseph Brzoza. A few days later she returns to Vilnius [Diary 1:169).
[The Vilnius Chronicle does not note the date of her return.]
March 4, 1935 – Sister Petronilla and Sister Faustina go by wagon to the market held annually on St. Casmir’s Feast Day, for tools and items needed by the house (Vil. Chron. P. 264).
Sept. 29, 1935 – Sister Faustina accompanies some of the other sisters to the Church of St. Michael for the Forty-Hour Devotions (Vil. Chron., p. 302).
October 19, 1935 – Sister Antonina and Sister Faustina leave for an eight-day retreat in Cracow (Vil. Chron., p. 307; Cracow Chron. IV:49).
November 4, 1935 – In the evening, Sister Faustina returns to Vilnius from the retreat (Vil. Chron., p. 311).
January 8, 1936 – She pays a visit to Bishop Jalbrzykowski and announces to him that the Lord Jesus is demanding the founding of a new congregation (Diary 11:50).
March 17, 1936 – Sister Borgia Tichy, Superior of the house in Vilnius receives information from Mother General of the change of assignment for Sister Faustina from Vilnius to Walendow (Vil. Chron., p. 337).
March 19, 1936 – Sister Borgia confers with Archbishop Jalbrzykowski concerning Sister Faustina (Vil. Chron., p. 338).
March 21, 1936 – Sister Faustina takes the morning train from Vilnius to Warsaw (Vil. Chron., p. 338), and remains in Warsaw for a few days (Diary 11:90).
March 25, 1936 – She arrives in Walendow – a country house of the Congregation, 20 km from Warsaw. The sisters welcome her joyfully and sincerely (Memoirs; Diary 11:91).
April 1936 – After a few weeks, she is assigned to another country home, 1 km from Walendow, a place called Derdy (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p. 8).
This home is situated in a forested area, and Sister Faustina, enchanted with its natural beauty, writes of her joy to Fr. Sopocko in a letter dated May 10, 1936 (Letters #3:5).
May 11, 1936 – In company with Sister Edmund Sekul, she leaves Derdy for a permanent stay in Cracow (Cracow Chron. IV:60), where she works first in the garden and then as gatekeeper (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p. 8).
June 19, 1936 – With some of the sisters, she takes part in a procession in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Jesuit house on 26 Kopernik Street (Cracow Chron. IV:61 ; Diary II: 111).
Sept. 14, 1936 – Archbishop Jalbrzykowski, on his way to Tarnow, visits the convent at Cracow and spends a few minutes in conversation with Sister Faustina (Cracow Chron. IV:67; Diary II: 133; Memoirs of Sister Felicia and Sister Irene).
Sept. 19, 1936 – Sister Faustina is given a physical examination at the hospital in Pradnik (Diary II: 133-134).
October 20, 1936 – In Cracow, she makes an eight-day retreat directed by Father Wojton, S.J. (Cracow Chron. IV:70; Diary 11:153).
Dec. 9, 1936 – For health reasons, the superiors send Sister Faustina to the hospital in Pradnik, a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients in Cracow (Cracow Chron. IV:74; Diary 11:198).
Dec. 13, 1936 – Sister Faustina confesses to the Lord Jesus (Diary II: 207).
Dec. 24, 1936 – With the doctor’s permission she returns to the convent for the Christmas holidays (Cracow Chron. IV:74; Diary 11:226).
Dec. 27, 1936 – She returns to the hospital in Pradnik for further treatment (Diary 11:230).
March 27, 1937 – She comes back from Pradnik, her health significantly improved (Cracow Chron. IV: 82; Diary 111:18).
April 13, 1937 – Her health becomes so much worse that she is forced to remain in bed (Diary 111:22-23).
April 14, 1937 – Fatigued from sickness, she asks the Lord Jesus for health, and is heard (Diary 111:23).
April 23, 1937 – During an eight-day retreat starting on April 20 in the Cracow convent, Sister Faustina takes this opportunity to make her three-day retreat (Cracow Chron. IV:82; Diary 111:26).
April 29, 1937 – After the retreat, she converses with her former Directress of Novices, Sister Mary Joseph, who made her retreat in Cracow (Diary 111:29-30).
May 4, 1937 – Sister Faustina receives permission from Mother General Michael Moraczewska to leave the Congregation (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p. 9; Diary III: 30-31).
July 20, 1937 – She learns that she is going to be sent to a house of the Congregation at Rabka (Diary 111:54).
[The Chronicle makes no mention of this; however, it notes that the Superior went to Rabka for two days, which could have had some connection with Sister Faustina’s departure (Cracow Chron. IV:88 – dated July 19; Memoirs of Sister Irene).]
July 29, 1937 – Sister Faustina leaves for Rabka (Diary 111:54-55; Memoirs).
August 10, 1937 – She finds that the climate at Rabka does not agree with her, but makes her feel more ill, so she returns to Cracow (Diary IV:4).
August 12, 1937 – Father Sopocko stops at the convent in Cracow and spends some time with Sister Faustina (Memoirs of Sister Felicia; Diary IV:4-5).
August 25, 1937 – Father Sopocko spends a few days in Cracow. Sister Faustina is happy because she is anxious to see him (Diary IV:16).
August 29, 1937 – She receives permission to speak at length with Father Sopocko (Diary IV:17).
[The Chronicles make no mention of this.]
Sept. 6, 1937 – Due to increasing ill health, her assignment is changed from gardener to gatekeeper (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p.10; Diary IV:25).
Sept. 19, 1937 – Her brother Stanley visits her (Diary IV:40).
Sept. 27, 1937 – Sister Faustina and Sister Irene Krzyzanowska, Superior of the house, go to the printer to settle the matter of having some holy cards of the image of The Divine Mercy printed (Diary IV:45; Memoirs of Sister Irene, p. 2).
April 21, 1938 – Sister Faustina’s health deteriorates, and her superiors decide to send her to the hospital in Pradnik again (Cracow Chron. IV:119; Memoirs of Mother Michael, p. 10).
June 2-5, 1938 – She makes a three-day retreat in the hospital (Memoirs of Sister Irene Krzyzanowska and Sister Felicia; Diary MV. 114).
June 1938 – She stops writing the Diary.
July 1938 – Mother General Michael Moraczewska pays a visit to her at the hospital (Memoirs of Mother Michael, p. 10; Memoirs of Sister Felicia).
August 1938 – Writing her last letter to Mother General, she begs pardon for all the faults of her whole life and ends with the words: “till we meet in heaven” (Letters #23:64; Memoirs of Mother Michael, p. 11).
August 24, 1938 – Sister Camille, who is also a patient at the hospital in Pradnik, telephones to the Superior that Sister Faustina’s health has significantly worsened. The Superior rides to the hospital and spends the night at Sister Faustina’s bedside (Cracow Chron. IV: 129).
August 25, 1938 – Rev. T. Czaputa, chaplain of the house of the Congregation in Cracow, goes to the hospital in Pradnik to administer the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick (Cracow Chron. IV:129).
August 28, 1938 – Father Sopocko, being in Cracow, pays a visit to the Congregation and visits Sister Faustina a few times in the hospital (Memoirs of Father Sopocko, p. 3; Cracow Chron. IV: 129).
Sept. 2, 1938 – Father Sopocko visits Sister Faustina in the sanatorium in Pradnik and sees her in ecstasy (Memoirs of Father Sopocko, p. 5; Memoirs of Sister Felicia).
Sept. 17, 1938 – Very weak and unable to keep much food, Sister Faustina is taken home from Pradnik. Calm and very uplifting, she waits for the moment of union with the Lord Jesus, not at all afraid to die (Cracow Chron. IV: 131).
Sept. 22, 1938 – As she loses more and more strength, she asks pardon of the entire Congregation for her unintentional failings, and serenely awaits the coming of her Heavenly Bridegroom (Cracow Chron. IV:132).
Sept. 26, 1938 – Father Sopocko visits her for the last time in Cracow, and she tells him: “My one occupation is to live in the presence of my Heavenly Father.”
[Father Sopocko notes that “She looked like an unearthly being,” and he adds, “At that time, I no longer had the slightest doubt that what she had written in her diary about receiving Holy Communion from an Angel was really true” (Memoirs of Father Sopocko, p. 5).]
October 2, 1938 – Sister Faustina, progressively weaker, but always uplifting, calmly awaits her departure (Cracow Chron. IV:133).
October 5, 1938 – At 4:00 p.m. Father Andrasz, S.J., arrives, and Sister Faustina makes her confession for the last time (Cracow Chron. IV: 134).
At 9:00 p.m. the Chaplain Rev. T. Czaputa, together with the assembled sisters, prays at her bedside the prayers for the dying. Sister Faustina, conscious to the end, unites with those praying (Cracow Chron. IV: 134).
At 10:45 p.m. Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, after long sufferings borne with great patience, goes to the Lord for her reward (Cracow Chron. IV:134).
October 7, 1938 – The funeral of Sister Faustina Kowalska takes place on the First Friday of the month and the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The Jesuits, Father Wojton and Father Chabrowski from the Monastery of St. Barbara Square, and one cleric from 26 Kopernik Street, take part in the funeral services.
At 8:30 a.m. the Matins are sung, next Father Wojton celebrates the Liturgy at the main altar and Father Chabrowski at the altar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (where the image of the Divine Mercy, renowned for countless graces, is presently found).
Fr. Chabrowski celebrates the Mass wearing white vestments. As the chronicle notes, everything is done very beautifully. No members of Sister Faustina’s family are present at the funeral (Cracow Chron. IV: 134).
Sister Faustina is buried in the convent cemetery situated in the garden of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, 3/9 Wronia Street, Lagiewniki, Cracow, in the common grave found on this cemetery.
October 21, 1965 – Twenty-seven years after the death of Sister Faustina, Bishop Julian Groblicki, specially delegated by Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, begins with a solemn session in the Archdiocese of Cracow, the Informative Process relating to the life and virtues of Sister Faustina. From this moment, Sister Faustina is worthy of the title, Servant of God.
Nov. 25, 1966 – While the Informative Process relating to the virtues, writings and devotion of the Servant of God, Sister Faustina, is being conducted (October 21, 1965 to September 20, 1967), her remains are exhumed and transferred to a tomb specially prepared for this purpose in the chapel of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Over the tomb is a black slab with a cross in the center. The slab usually has fresh flowers brought by the faithful, who plead for numerous graces through the intercession of Sister Faustina.
Sept. 20, 1967 – His Eminence, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, with a solemn session, closes the Informative Process of the Servant of God in the Cracow Archdiocese.
January 26, 1968 – The Acts of the Informative Process are received in Rome by the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
January 31, 1968 – By a Decree of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Process of Beatification of the Servant of God, Sister Faustina H. Kowalska, is formally inaugurated.
April 18, 1993 – The Venerable Servant of God, Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, is beatified by Pope John Paul II in Rome on the first Sunday after Easter, which is celebrated by many around the world as Divine Mercy Sunday.
April 30, 2000 – Blessed Maria Faustina Kowalska is canonized by Pope John Paul II in Rome, on Divine Mercy Sunday, during the Great Jubilee Year 2000. And the Pope states during his Canonization homily: “The Second Sunday of Easter from now on throughout the Church will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’”
My daughter, be diligent in writing down every sentence I tell you concerning My mercy, because this is meant for a great number of souls who will profit from it. (Diary 1142)