Saw Jesus at a dance

Helena Kowalska was born in Głogowiec, central Poland, in 1905, the third of 10 children in a peasant family which was poor and devout. When she attended Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament aged seven, she felt a religious calling. She wanted to enter a convent at 16 but her parents would not let her and she went to work as a housekeeper instead to support the family.

In 1924, when she was 19, she attended a dance with her sister, during which she saw an image of the suffering Jesus. She said that Jesus later instructed her to go to Warsaw and join a convent.

She obeyed and, without anyone’s knowledge, left for Warsaw the next day. She tried many convents but was turned away from most because of her impoverished-looking clothes. After several weeks of searching she was accepted into the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy.

In 1926, aged 20, she received her habit and took the religious name of Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament.

Mercy mission

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