Footnotes to the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy
1 . On February 22, 1931, while staying at Plock, Sister Faustina received Jesus‟ order to paint a picture according to a model that was shown to her (cf. Diary 47). The Saint tried to fulfill the command, but not knowing painting techniques, she was unable to do it by herself. Still, she did not give up the idea. She kept returning to it and sought help from other sisters and from her confessors. A few years later her superior sent her to Vilnius (Wilno), where her confessor, Rev. Prof. Michael Sopocko, interested to see what the picture of a hitherto unknown theme would look like, asked the painter Eugene Kazimierowski to paint the picture according to Sister Faustina‟s directions. The picture was finished in June 1934 and hung in the corridor of the Bernardine Sisters‟ convent near St. Michael‟s Church in Vilnius, where Father Sopocko was rector. In 1935, during the celebrations concluding the jubilee Year of the Redemption of the World, the image of The divine Mercy was transferred to the Ostra Brama [“Eastern Gate” to the city of Vilnius] and placed in a high window so that it could be seen from far away. It was there from April 16 to April 28. By permission of Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski, on April 4, 1937, the image was blessed and placed in St. Michael‟s Church in Vilnius. In 1944, a committee of experts was formed, at the order of Archbishop Jalbrzykowski, to evaluate the image. The experts‟ opinion was that the image of The Divine Mercy, painted by E. Kazimierowski was artistically executed and an important contribution to contemporary religious art. There are several characteristic features of this original image. Against a plain background Christ is shown walking, with a narrow halo around His head, and his eyes slightly downcast, as if He were looking from above at the spectators. His right hand is raised in a gesture of blessing; while His left hand is opening the robe at His Heart (not shown), from which two rays of light issue, a pale one to the viewer‟s right, a red one to the left. The light of these rays shines through the hands and the robe. In 1943, in Lwow, at the request of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Stanley Batowski painted another image, which was placed in a side altar of the community chapel at No. 3/9 Zytnia Street in Warsaw. During the Warsaw uprising, this chapel (and with it the image) was burned. Batowski‟s image was very much liked by everyone. Encouraged by this, the Superior General of the Community of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy asked Batowski to paint another one for the house in Cracow, where the new form of devotion to The Divine Mercy was already expanding. The image was painted and sent to Cracow on October 6, 1943. 402 In the meantime, the superior of the Cracow house had been approached by the painter Adolf Hyla, who offered to paint some sort of picture for the sisters‟ chapel as a votive offering for having survived the war. The superior, Mother Irene Krzyzanowska, after consulting with the senior sisters and Father Andrasz, S.J., suggested that Mr. Hyla should paint the image according to Sister Faustina‟s directions. For that purpose, he was given the description (taken from Sister Faustina‟s Diary) along with a small copy of the image painted by Eugene Kazimierowski. The image was finished in Autumn of 1943 and brought to the Cracow house. Batowski‟s image arrived at the same time. For this reason a problem arose – which of the images should be kept in the sisters‟ chapel? It was settled by Cardinal Sapieha, who by chance happened to be present there. He inspected the two pictures and said, “Since Hyla has painted his picture as a votive offering, that picture should stay in the sisters‟ chapel.” He blessed the picture and ordered that it be hung. To this day the picture remains in the side altar to the left of the main entrance, in the Chapel of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at No. 3/9 Wronia Street in Cracow, and is held in reverence as the image painted under the direction of Sister Faustina Kowalska. People from all over Poland and from abroad come to this image of the Merciful Christ o beg for needed graces. There are many votive offerings, and copies of the image are found all over the world. S. Batowski‟s picture was placed in the Church of The Divine Mercy at Smolensk Street in Cracow. Over the years, many other painters have painted images of The Divine Mercy, based on either existing representations or on Saint Faustina‟s diary.
2. That is; in the picture.
3. During her stay in Vilnius, Sister Faustina was told by her confessor, Father Michael Sopocko, to write down her interior experiences. When asked by someone in the Congregation why Sister Faustina had been writing a diary, Father Sopocko answered: “I was a professor at the Seminary and at the School of Theology of the Stefan Batory University in Vilnius at the time. I had no time to listen to her lengthy confessions at the confessional, so I told her to write everything down and then to show it to me from time to time. This is how the Diary came into being” (Father Sopocko‟s letter of March 6, 1972). Sister Faustina mentions the confessor‟s order in numbers 6 and 839 of the Diary. In addition to this order from her confessor, the Saint mentions, on many pages of her Diary, a distinct command to write, given her by the Lord jesus Himself (see Diary nos. 372, 459, 895, 965, 1142, 1457, 1567, 1665, and others).
4. Aldona Lipszycowa then lived in Ostrowek in the district of Radzymin. She was born on April14, 1896 in Tbilisi, USSR, the daughter of Serafin Jastrzebski and Mary Lemke. In 1965/66 she was one of the witnesses in the informative process of the Servants of God. “My husband,” she recalls, “had asked the pastor of St. James Parish in the suburb of Ochota, to find someone to help me in my housework. Rev. Canon James Dabrowski, when 403 pastor in Klebow, became my husband‟s friend. He baptized him, blessed our marriage and baptized all our children. The Rev. Canon sent us – in the summer of 1924 – Helen Kowalski with a note that he did not know her, but hoped she would be all right” (A. SF. Recol.).
5. The convent of the Congregation of the sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at No. 3/9 Zytnia Street in Warsaw.
6. Mother Michael – Olga Moraczewska was born in 1873. She was considered highly educated for those times. She spoke several languages and completed the Conservatory of Music. She entered the congregation later in life. After making her final profession of vows, she was appointed superior of the house in Warsaw. She kept this position until 1928. After the term of office of the Superior General M. Leonard Cielecka, she administrated the entire Congregation. During her administration as Superior General, the Constitutions of the Congregations received approbation. She dearly loved her community and sought its spiritual and material development. She founded new homes in Warsaw in the suburb of Grochow, in Rabka, in Lwow, and in Biala, a house affiliated to the house in Plock, 10 km away. She died in Cracow November 15, 1966, and is buried in the Congregation‟s cemetery (A.SMDM-C).
7. It is a Community tradition that sisters stay under the same roof with the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. Since the chapel at the Warsaw house was in a separate building a few meters from the sisters‟ house, a second chapel was made on the second floor of the sisters‟ convent. By permission of the Archbishop‟s Curia, the Blessed Sacrament was kept there and, in accord with church law, on certain days the Holy Mass was said. The chapel was commonly referred to as “The Little Chapel” or “The Little Jesus.”
8. According to the Congregation‟s custom, canonical silence was observed from 9:00 p.m. Private prayers could be recited silently. Most likely the Saint thought that praying prostrate on the floor, not the prayer itself, offended this custom.
9. The “superiors” could be the superior general and the directress of the postulants, for they decided whether the Saint would be admitted to the reception of the habit and so to the novitiate in Cracow. The superior general at the time was Mother Leonard Cielecka, born December 24, 1850 in Paplin Ziemi Siedleckiej. She came from a family of landowners, and received a higher education in several languages and music. Entering the Congregation on September 1, 1885, she made her perpetual vows in Warsaw in 1893, and was given responsible positions in the Congregation at an early age. In 1908 she became superior of the house in Derdy near Warsaw. From 1912 she was superior in Warsaw, and from 1918, in Walendow. After the Congregation separated from its General headquarters in France, in 1922 at the First Chapter in Poland, she became the first Superior General of all the homes in Poland. She kept this post for 6 years; i.e., until 1928, and then became assistant to the new Superior General. She died November 1, 1933. The directress of the postulants, Mother Jane Bartkiewicz, was born July 31, 1858. She entered the Congregation on December 10, 1877, and made her perpetual vows in 404 Laval, France in 1885. While the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy was dependent on the General Home in France, Mother Jane was Vicar General for the homes in Poland. She was a sturdy and energetic person, sometimes even despotic. She greatly loved the Congregation and wished its good, trying to achieve this in a way repugnant to human nature. Her relationship to candidates and the young professed was peculiarly warm and affectionate. She knew how to be tenderhearted, but at the same time her method of disciplining the sisters created an atmosphere of fear. After finishing her term as Vicar General, she was for a time the Directress of Novices and of the third probation. For this reason she felt throughout her life that she had the privilege of correcting the young sisters. She died in Warsaw July 1, 1940 (A. SMDM-C and D).
10. Helen Kowalska arrived in Cracow on January 23, 1926, to finish her postulancy. That same day Sister Henry Losinska died in Cracow. Sister Henry was born on January 20, 1897. She entered the Community in 1920 and worked as a shoemaker (A. SMDM-D).
11. Sister Margaret – Anna Gimbutt, was born in 1857 and entered the Congregation in 1893. She was of great service to the Congregation, performing the duty of Directress of Novices, superior of the house in Vilnius, and then, Instructress of the Third Probation. She was known for her spirit of self-denial, mortification, demanding much of herself. Humble, meek, always prayerful, outstanding in keeping of the rules, she was an example to the sisters, especially those who were in her care.
12. Bishop Stanislaus Rospond, born September 30, 1877, in Liszki near Cracow. After graduating from St. Ann‟s High School in Cracow, he entered the Seminary for the Priesthood. After a year he was sent for further studies in Insbruck, receiving the degree of Doctor of Theology in 1904. He was ordained priest on August 10, 1901. He became prefect of the Seminary in Cracow, and then, rector. He was the ordinary confessor of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. On June 12, 1927, he was consecrated bishop. He was Vicar General for many years. His relationship with the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy was very cordial, and he took part in all the celebrations of the Congregation. Twice a year he was the main celebrant at the clothing ceremony and profession of vows. He died February 4, 1958 and is buried in his family grave in Liszki.
13. It was clothing day – April 30, 1926. Sister Clemens Buczek recalls that she was helping the candidates put on their habits. She wrote in her memoirs: “In May [sic], 1926, I was to dress Helen Kowalska. After she received the habit at the altar, I told her, „Helen, let us hurry to put on your habit.‟ Helen fainted. I hurried to get the smelling salts in order to revive her…. Later I used to tease her about her loathing to leave the world. I only found out after her death that the reason of her fainting was not sorrow for the world, but something else” (A. SF.Recol.).
14. Sister Mary Joseph, Stephanie Brzoza, born in 1889. She entered the congregation in 1909 and made her perpetual vows on May 15, 1917. She was a group instructor of the girls in the Cracow institute. In 1925 she was sent to the General House of the Congregation in Laval, France, to observe more closely the formation of novices and to absorb the spirit of the Congregation. After her return from Laval, she became directress of the novitiate on June 20, 1926, until October 30, 1934. She was an exemplary directress 405 and a great discerner of souls. She was demanding, but at the same time full of motherly care and benevolence toward each novice. At the General Chapter in 1934, she was chosen to be a member of the General Council and simultaneously, superior of the Generalate in Warsaw. Five years later she died of cancer on November 9, 1939 (A. SMDM-C and D).
15. Father Theodore Czaputa was then the confessor of the novitiate. Born in 1884, he was ordained priest July 7, 1907. He completed his theological studies at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. From 1916 he taught religion in the high schools in Cracow. He was then made rector of the Minor Seminary and Tribunal Judge. From November 1925 he was confessor of the novices of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. He performed this function almost until death, and the novices had great confidence in him. Because of ill health, he was released of the duties of rector and moved to Lagiewniki to become chaplain of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. He died March 2, 1945 (A. Cracow Curia).
16. Superiors in the Congregation may command “in the name of holy obedience” only professed sisters. A novice was not obliged to obey such a command. If the directress used these words, she was relying on the good will and virtue of the novice, who by subordinating herself to the command could be relieved of these painful experiences (See Const. Congr. Art., 96-99).
17. She probably means the words of the prophet Isaiah (49:15 JB): “Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you”.
18. Some details of the text suggest that it was at the Warsaw house. The superior was Mother Raphael Buczynska. She was one of the most outstanding superiors. She distinguished herself by a clear, healthy judgment of people and things, a very practical sense, and at the same time a deep spiritual life. She loved the congregation and cared for its material and spiritual growth. In her relations to the sisters she was loving, straightforward, and discerning. She knew how to evaluate and put to use the accomplishments of each sister. She never degraded an individual, but rather tried to raise each one‟s spirit, come to her aid and cheer her up. M. Raphael – Catherine Buczynska was born December 23, 1879. She entered the Congregation October 18, 1900, and died December 23, 1956 (A. SMDM-C).
19. The description points to the Warsaw house. The chapel was in a separate building. The entrance was from the yard. At that time the chapel was used exclusively by the sisters and their students. Lay persons hardly ever came there.
20. The Community was running homes for morally neglected and “difficult” girls. These were commonly referred to as “students,” “wards,” or “children.” They were sent to the sisters by the Social Service or by parents, and some came of their own accord to do “penance.” There were up to 230 girls at the Zytnia house. They were divided into three groups called “classes.” The sister in charge of a group was called the “Mother of the Class.” The entire description of the vision seems to be a prediction of the difficulties which the Saint will face in her work as apostle of The divine Mercy. It also predicts the final triumph of this work, and herself in it. 406
21 . The confessors were Father Kulesza and Father Roslaniec; the extraordinary confessor was Father Aloysius Bukowski, S.J.
22. The Rev. Prof. Michael Sopocko, born on November 1, 1888, at Nowosady, in the Vilnius region. He studied at the Roman Catholic Seminary in Vilnius. He was ordained priest on June 15, 1914. Later he was graduated from the School of Theology of the Warsaw University and (in 1924) from the State Pedagogical Institute. In 1928 the Ministry of Religion and Public Education appointed him to the Chair of Pastoral Theology at the School of Theology of the Stefan Batory University in Vilnius. In 1934 he became docent of the Warsaw University, officially delegated to the Chair of Pastoral Theology at the University of Vilnius. In the same year he became rector of St. Michael‟s Church in Vilnius. For many years he was confessor to many communities of monks and nuns. He was ordinary confessor of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy from January 1, 1933 to January 1, 1942. During the war he was professor at the Seminary at Bialystok, where the Vilnius seminary had been transferred (A. SF. Autobiography). The chronicle of the Cracow house states that Father Sopocko was in Cracow on August 28, 1938. It is very likely that he visited the Servant of God at Pradnik then, but her notes stop before that date. The Rev. Msgr. Dr. Michael Sopocko died on Sister faustina‟s name day, February 15, 1976, at 8 p.m. at Bialystok. The funeral took place on February 19. The main celebrant was His Excellency Most Rev. Bishop Henry Gulbinowicz, the diocesan ordinary. With him 80 priests concelebrated. His Eminence, Stepehn Card. Wyszynski, Primate of Poland, sent a telegram expressing his condolences.
23. Before arriving in Vilnius, the Saint had seen her future spiritual director in two visions. The first took place in Warsaw, during the third probation, the second in Cracow (See Diary, par. 53 and 61).
24. This was not yet consumption, which later spread throughout her whole body, but general exhaustion due to a new way of life, intense spiritual combat and experiences which made it difficult for her to perform her duties.
25. She was working in the girls‟ kitchen, where meals were prepared for more than 200 people.
26. As the doctors found no organic disease in Sister Faustina, the sisters thought that she was feigning illness, and that she preferred prayer to work (A. SF. Recol.).
27. As Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire falling from heaven (See Genesis 19:24), so Warsaw was indeed destroyed during World War II, as were many Polish towns, by incendiary and demolition bombs dropped from aircraft. 407
28. “Jozefinek,” a newly created house of the Community, at 44 Hetmanska Street in the Grochow section of Warsaw. The new house was administered by the superior of the house at 3/9 Zytnia Street.
29. The confessors at Plock were Rev. Msgr. Adolf Modzelewski, Rev. Msgr. Louis Wilkonski, and Rev. Waclaw Jezusek.
30. The superior of the Plock house was Mother Rose-Jane Klobukowska, born in 1882. She entered the congregation in 1902, and made her perpetual vows in 1909. She was superior in many of the houses of the congregation. From 1934-1945 she was Assistant to the Superior General. From 1946-1952 she was Superior General.
31 . Father Joseph Andrasz, S.J., born at Zakopane on October 16, 1891. He entered the Jesuit Order on September 22, 1906, and was ordained on March 19, 1919. He worked at the Jesuit Publishing House (Wydawnictwo Apostolstwa Modlitwy) for eight years. In 1930 be became the manager of the Publishing House and editor of the monthly Messenger of the
Sacred Heart (Poslaniec Serca Jezusowego). From 1932 he was the extraordinary confessor of the novitiate of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. He died on February 1, 1963 (A. SJ-C).
32. Spiritual childhood according to the conception of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (See Autobiography of a Soul).
33. Vilnius lies on the Wilia River. Across the river from the town, on woody hills, were the stations of the cross called “Calvary” (Polish Kalwaria). Going from station to station was called “Walking the Paths.” It was possible to get there from the sisters‟ house by boat.
34. Mother Irene Krzyzanowska. Sister Irene – Mary Krzyzanowska was born on November 25, 1889. She entered the Congregation on December 7, 1916 and made her perpetual vows April 30, 1934. She greatly loved the youth and was wholeheartedly given to the apostolic work. She served as educator in the institute for girls, assistant to the Superior General. After years of sacrificial toil she died in Wroclaw on December 3, 1971.
35. Probably Sister Justine Golofit, a friend from the days of novitiate. Mother Irene, wanting to please the Servant of God, appointed her as a companion. Sister Justine Golofit, born July 5, 1908 entered the Congregation in August 1927. She made her perpetual vows on October 39, 1934. After that she worked in the kitchen in Warsaw, Vilnius, and Radom. Because of heart trouble, she then did lighter work. She was one of the witnesses during the informational Process of the Servant of God.
36. Biala, a village near Plock (today known for its petroleum fields), where the Community had purchased some farm buildings and set up a rest home for the sisters and wards of the Plock house. The sisters lived in a small farmhouse situated in the garden, with the main entrance from the side of the garden. There was a porch before the main door.
37. Probably Father Peter Trojanczyk, who was recuperating at Biala and, at the same time, as the Community‟s chaplain, served the sisters in spiritual matters. While 408 decorating the chapel with flowers, Sister Faustina probably wanted to put some in the chaplain‟s quarters. Rev. Peter Trojanczyk was born April 30, 1887 and was ordained priest on June 22, 1913. On March 7, 1941, he was arrested by the Germans and sent to the camp in Dzialdow, where he was murdered that same year (Monthly Pastoral. Plock, nr. 9, 1949).
38. The wards were: Imelda, Edwarda, Ignasia, Margaret and Hedwig Owar (See A. SF. And letter J. Owar). The first four have died. Hedwig Owar was a witness in the information process. The Act concerning the vision was written in Vilnius on November 28, 1934 and signed by Sister Faustina, Sister Taida (who recorded Sister Faustina‟s statements), and Imelda. Mother Irene, the superior of the house, verified its authenticity.
39. The Directresses of the Novitiate made their own handbook on the vows, based on the work of Fr. Peter Cotelle, S.J., “A Catechism of Vows.” Each novice was to write the questions and answers in her notebook and study them by heart.
40. In the Community of Our Lady of Mercy, sisters live in common rooms, several to one room. The place occupied by each is separated from the others by a stable partition. These partitioned places are called cells.
41 . Sister Stanislaus Stepczynska, who was ill, was staying at the Plock house at the time. Seeing that Sister Faustina was more recollected, meek and prayerful, she spied on her and even checked her bed in search of extraordinary tools of penance (information provided by Sister Christine Korzeniowska).
42. That is elsewhere in the diary. For a long time Sister Faustina did not take notes of her experiences and of graces received. It was only at the explicit order of her confessor, Father Sopocko, that she began to write down her experiences as they occurred, and also earlier ones as she remembered them. After some time, she burned her notes. Father Sopocko gives the following account: “When I was in the Holy Land for a few weeks, she was persuaded by a supposed angel to burn the diary. As penance, I told her to reconstruct the part destroyed. But in the meantime new experiences came, and she wrote down new and old things alternately. Hence the lack of chronological order in the diary.”
43. There are indications that it was in the house in Zytnia Street in Warsaw. The following senior mothers were there at the time: Mother Jane Bartkiewicz, Mother Margaret Gimbutt, Mother Raphael Buczynska, Mother Michael Moraczewska, Superior General. There is some probability that it was done by Mother Jane Bartkiewicz, who was very much interested in the young sisters.
44. Perpetual vows. In the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, the Superior General, after hearing her Council, either admits a professed sister to perpetual vows or dismisses her after five years of temporary vows (Const.).
45. Sister Faustina was set at peace during a retreat conducted by Father Andrasz from April 20 to April 30, 1933. He understood her and gave her sound advice on how to proceed along the road of God‟s readings. 409
46. The Saint had in mind here the fulfillment of God‟s desires regarding the painted image of Christ with the red and pale rays and the signature: “Jesus, I trust in You”; the public veneration of the image; and the making known of the chaplet and novena to The Divine Mercy. All these demands were realized as a result of the endeavors of Father Sopocko.
47. Sister Faustina, then a postulant, was working in the kitchen with Sister Marcianna Oswiecimska. Sister Marcianna told her to wash and put away the dishes, and left. Helen (later Sister Faustina) set to work, but Sisters kept coming for the second dinner, and every now and then one of them would ask Helen to serve her dinner or do her a favor. Helen, not wanting to refuse, served each one, but did not do her assigned work. When Sister Marcianna came back and saw the dishes still not put away, she thought Helen had neglected her order and told her that for a penance she was to sit on the table, while she herself did the work. Sister Marcianna – Julia Oswiecimska was born in 1897. She entered the Congregation in 1919. For many years she fulfilled the duties of a cook. She was energetic, demanding, but full of love of neighbor (Sister Marcianna‟s Recol.).
48. Only superiors can give orders “by virtue of obedience,” and that concerning only serious matters. Sister Marcianna could not do it and certainly did not do it. She told Helen to sit on the table as a form of penance. Helen was surprised by this kind of penance and hesitated to obey the order. Then Sister Marcianna asked the postulant: “Is this what your obedience is like, Helen?” This question was misunderstood by Sister Faustina as an order “by virtue of obedience” (Sister Marcianna‟s Recol.).
49. In some houses, including the Warsaw house at Zytnia Street, the Sisters used to have a night watch. The Sisters on duty would circle the house, light the yard, and look through the windows to protect the house against burglary.
50. This is the popular name of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary, a congregation founded by Archbishop Felinski in 1857. The motherhouse of the Congregation is in Warsaw, at Zelazna Street and is next to the Generalate of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our lady of Mercy.
51 . See footnote 7.
52. She was probably replacing Sister Modest Rzeczkowska, who was ill and had to undergo treatment in Warsaw (Recol. Of Sister Pelagia).
53. All Sisters devote one day at the beginning of the month to spiritual renewal, the so called one-day retreat. There is no recreation on that day. The Sisters keep silence and have an hour of meditation, the Way of the cross, monthly examination of conscience, and a half hour meditation about death (cf. Const. Congr.).
54. Every month, each novice spent one day, appointed by the Sister Directress, as the so-called day of the crusade. On that day she was obliged to practice greater recollection and union with the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist, ask the Sister Directress for some additional mortification, and offer all her work, prayer and sufferings to the Lord Jesus 410 in atonement for sinners. Some sisters continued this practice even after leaving the novitiate.
55. Sister Faustina left 4 pages empty. She probably intended to go back and fill in some past experiences, but did not.
56. The “Third Probation” is the period of preparation for the sisters who are to make their perpetual vows. In the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, it lasts for five months. The Saint made her Third Probation in 1932/33 in Warsaw. The Directress was Mother Margaret Gimbutt.
57. Walendow, a house of the Congregation, located 20 km from Warsaw. The sisters had a home for girls there. In 1936, at the suggestion of the Ministry of Justice, a reformatory for first offenders (girls and women) was established there. Apart from the retreat, Sister Faustina was at Walendow from March 25 till May 1936.
58 The retreat was conducted by Rev. Edmund Elter, S.J. He was born on November 14, 1887. He joined the order on July 15, 1905. Outstandingly gifted, he studied the humanities, theology, and (in 1919 / 20) international law at the Warsaw University. Next he studied in Rome and in France. In 1926 he became a professor of ethics at the Gregorianum in Rome. From 1932 to 1935 he was in Warsaw, and then when back to rome as a professor of homiletics and rhetoric. He died in Rome on August 27, 1955.
59. The center of a former estate about 1 km from Walendow, where the Congregation has a home for children. It comes from the foundation of Princess Czetwertynska, who gave the Congregation a tract of agricultural land, forest and some farm buildings for a home for morally threatened children. Until 1947 the home was administered by the superior of Walendow, but since then it is an independent unit (Hist.Congr.).
60. “Vestiary”; that is, a storehouse for the sisters‟ clothing and a sewing room for same. It was the duty of the sisters working there to sew new clothes and linens, to mend and distribute to the sisters the clothes and linens coming back from the laundry, as well as to provide them with needed clothing.
61 . At that time the Congregation was divided into two choirs, the so-called director sisters and coadjutor sisters. The membership to one or the other was decided by the Congregation‟s governing body on the basis of the candidate‟s intellectual level, age and abilities. The director sisters‟ task was to manage the congregation and the penitents‟ homes. The coadjutor sisters did the manual work and served as helpers to the director sisters, especially in the area of physical labor (Const. Congr.).
62. The “iron belt” was a kind of belt made of fine wire mesh, used as an instrument of penance. The Sisters could wear the belt with the superior‟s permission and only for a specified period of time.
63. Across the hall from the “small chapel” was the congregation hall, where meetings were held.
64. “Recreation”; that is, the time given the sisters to relax after work. 411
65. Sister Faustina‟s younger sister, Wanda Kowalska, born in 1920. According to the information of their eldest sister, Josephine Jasinska nee Kowalska, shortly before World War II Wanda entered the Congregation of the Ursuline Sisters. During the war she was taken to Germany for forced labor. She did not return to Poland, but married an Englishman and went to England with him. Her husband was soon drafted and died in action. Wanda came to Poland once, but had to go back to England a few days later because of the political situation at the time. A few years later the family was notified by an unknown priest of Wanda‟s serious illness and hospitalization. She has not been heard of since.
66. Probably one of the ordinary confessors in Warsaw.
67. A presumed permission: when a religious does something without the superior‟s knowledge, on the assumption that the superior would give her permission to do it.
68. The sister finished the Third probation at the Novitiate, and so ended the period of temporary vows.
69. The pall – a large piece of black cloth with a white cross in the middle. According to the Congregation‟s ceremonial procedure, before taking perpetual vows the sisters prostrated themselves before the altar and were covered with the pall as a symbol of being dead to the world. In the meantime, other sisters recited Psalm 129, and the bells tolled as during a funeral. The officiating priest, usually a bishop sprinkled the prostrate sisters with holy water and then said: “Rise, you who are dead to the world, and Jesus Christ will enlighten you.”
70. It may be supposed that sister Faustina refers here to Fr. Elter, S.J., who, during the retreat before the Third Probation, set her at peace and encouraged her to be faithful to God‟s graces.
71 . See footnote 32.
72. There was a custom in the Congregation that, every month, sisters would ask the superior for permission to practice little mortifications, say additional prayers, have various small things at their disposal, be freed from observing the regulations which they momentarily could not keep, and for many other things according to the individual needs of a given sister.
73. Bishop Rospond, a great friend of the Congregation, who for many years presided over the ceremonies of clothing and vows, celebrated Mass and gave the homily for the occasion. During the clothing ceremony he presented the postulant with the habit and veil; the novices with the cincture and rosary, the crucifix, and the black veil; the temporary professed with a burning candle and a ring as a sign of perpetual betrothal with the Lord Jesus (cf.12).
74. The Jesuits have a thirty-day retreat during their third probation, before perpetual vows.
75. The superior at Czestochowa at the time was Mother Seraphina Kikulska. Sister Seraphina, baptized Salomea, was born November 30, 1873. She entered the Congregation July 18, 1894. She was a group instructor and then superior in Cracow, Czestochowa, Walendow. She died June 10, 1964 (A. SMDM-C and D). 412
76. The formation of the Sisters of Our lady of Mercy is based on the asceticism of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who distinguishes three degrees of humility.
77. The picture painted in Vilnius by artist Eugene Kazimierowski (cf. 1).
78. Probably sister Philomena Andrejko, who died in Warsaw on July 13, 1934, at 4:45 p.m.
79. All sisters in good health had an adoration of atonement, so-called holy hour, every Thursday from 9 to 10 p.m. Before the first Friday of the month, the adoration lasted all night, with sisters changing every hour.
80. Dr. Helen Maciejewska, born 1888, was the doctor of the Sisters in Vilnius. In February 1935 she moved to Wilejka to assume directorship of the county hospital. She was a good and valued doctor, noted for her comprehensive mind, and a sensitive and sacrificial heart for the sick. She died on September 21, 1965.
81 . There is a church of The Divine Mercy in Smolensk Street in Cracow, built in 1629. Its patronal feast is celebrated on September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
82. Chapter (Polish Kapitula) – a meeting during which the house superior gave a short exhortation and made observations on the observance of the rule, and the sisters accused themselves of external shortcomings.
83. The superior in Vilnius at this time was Sister Borgia – Hedwig Tichy, born January 25, 1887. She entered the Congregation in 1913. She was a nurse, and also a superior in Vilnius and Walendow. She died in Wroclaw on April 26, 1970. She was a witness in the informative process.
84. Probably Sister Frances of the bernardine Sisters who, on January 15, 1936, paid a visit with her superior to the Sisters in Vilnius (A. SMDM-C).
85. “Benediction” – a short service which concluded with a blessing with the Blessed Sacrament.
86. The chain, like the belt (cf. 62), is made of a wire mesh in the shape of a bracelet and is used as an instrument of penance.
87. We know from Father Sopocko‟s letter of November 1937 to Sister Faustina that he talked to the nuncio, Archbishop Cortesi about establishing a Feast of The Divine Mercy. He hoped the nuncio would present the matter to the holy Father (See Letters 160).
88. The way she recorded the resolutions on clean sheets has been reproduced according to the original diary entry.
89. The vision concerns Father Sopocko, who was to suffer greatly because of the destruction of the devotion to The Divine Mercy. The prediction was almost literally fulfilled. Decree No. 65/52 of the Sacred Congregation of The Holy Office, dated November 28, 1958, and a notification of Marchy 6, 1959, prohibited the spreading of the devotion to The Divine 413 Mercy in the form given by Sister Faustina. As a result, the images which had been hung in many churches were removed. Priests stopped preaching about The Divine Mercy. Father Sopocko himself was severely admonished by the Holy See and suffered many other troubles in connection with the spreading of the devotion to The Divine Mercy. The Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy was also forbidden to spread the devotion; in consequence, the images, the chaplet, the novena and all other things that might suggest that the devotion was being propagated were withdrawn. It appeared that the work of mercy, so much recommended by Sister Faustina, had been destroyed and would never rise again. Until the notification, the image of The divine Mercy received much honor in the Congregation‟s home in Cracow, where Sister Faustina died, and it was covered with votive offerings. A solemn Mass was held on the third Sunday of each month, and priests preached sermons about The Divine Mercy. The first Sunday after Easter was celebrated as the Feast of The Divine Mercy, which Cardinal Adam Sapieha in 1951 invested with a plenary indulgence for seven years. In view of the Holy See‟s ban, the Sisters addressed the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Cracow, Archbishop Baziak, to inquire what should be done with the image which hung in the side altar, covered with many votive offerings, and what attitude should be taken towards the celebrations in praise of The Divine Mercy. In answer, Archbishop Baziak ordered the image to be left in its place and the faithful not to be forbidden to pray before the image for needed graces. He also ordered the existing celebrations to be maintained. In this way the devotion to The Divine Mercy survived the test in the small center of the Congregation in Cracow, at 3/9 Wronia Street, where the body of the Saint is buried. At present, the devotion is again gathering force, renewing and attracting the interest of theologians. Since the first part of her prophecy was fulfilled almost literally, it could well be supposed that the remainder of it would also come to pass. For, regarding prophecy, the Word of God offers this instruction: “…. Know that, even though a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if his oracle is not fulfilled or verified, it is an oracle which the Lord did not speak” (Deuteronomy 18:22). The following facts attest to the genuineness of St. M. Faustina‟s prophecy: On June 30, 1978, The Sacred Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith (A.A.S. page 350) published a “Notification” signed April 15, 1978, by His Eminence Franjo Cardinal Seper, Prefect, and Archbishop Jerome Hamer, O.P., Secretary. It is as follows:
From various places, especially from Poland, even proceeding from
competent authority, it has been asked whether the prohibitions contained in
the “Notification” of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, published in
the Acts of the Apostolic See, in the year 1959, p. 271, regarding the devotion to
The Divine Mercy in the forms proposed by Sister Faustina Kowalska must be
regarded as still in force.
This Sacred Congregation, having now in possession the many original
documents unknown in 1959; having taken into consideration the profoundly
changed circumstances, and having taken into account the opinion of many 414
Polish Ordinaries, declares no longer binding the prohibitions contained in the
quoted “Notification.” On July 12, 1979, in response to the Superior general of the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M., who in the name of the Provincial Superior of the American Province of St. Stanislaus Kostka, of said Congregation, had asked for an authoritative explanation of the scope of the text in the “Notification” of 1978, rescinding the prohibitions to spread the devotion to The Divine Mercy proposed by Sister Faustina Kowalska, the Prefect of The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ascertained:
In reference to that matter (raised in the letter of Father General) I have the
honor of informing you that with the new “Notification” (A.A.S., 30 June 2978, p.
350), arrived at in the light or original documentation examined also by the
careful informative intervention of the then Archbishop of Cracow, Card. Karol
Wojtyla, it was the intention of the Holy See to revoke the prohibition contained
in the preceding “Notification” of 1959 (A.A.S, 1959, p. 271), in virtue of which it
is understood that there no longer exists, on the part of this S. Congregation,
any impediment to the spreading of the devotion to The Divine Mercy in the
authentic forms proposed by the Religious Sister mentioned above [The Servant
of God Sister Faustina Kowalska]. Furthermore, St. Faustina‟s spiritual director lived long enough to give his sworn testimony regarding her holy life and heroic virtues at the beginning of the canonical process towards the declaration of her sainthood. Then, it was hardly three years and two months after his death (which occurred on February 15, 1975, and which happened to be Sr. Faustina‟s name day, as well as the day on which St. Claude ColombiĆ©re, S.J. – the spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was revealed – died) that the 20-hyear prohibition concerning Sr. Faustina‟s writings and proposed forms of The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion began to spread again with renewed vigor throughout the world. Exactly six months after the ban was lifted by Pope Paul VI, the Archbishop who inaugurated her beatification process was elected Pope. The second Encyclical of his pontificate was Dives in Misericordia (God, who is rich in mercy). It was published in November 1980, and immediately hailed by Non-Catholics as among the greatest of Papal Encyclicals, though it took Catholics almost a year to come to the realization of the timeliness of and need for such a teaching. At that time, Pope John Paul II had not yet seen Sr. Faustina‟s spiritual Diary. Not only was Sr. Faustina beatified in 1993 and listed among the Saints during the Jubilee Year 2000, but during the homily on the occasion of her canonization ceremonies the Holy Father announced the extension to the entire Church of the Feast of The Divine Mercy, for the establishment of which our Lord pressed the “Secretary” and “Apostle” of His mercy to exert every effort. (Permission to celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of
The Divine Mercy was granted to Poland in 1995 in response to a request made to the Holy See by the entire Polish Hierarchy.) Divine Mercy Sunday is being jubilantly and ever increasingly celebrated in practically every country around the world. This happened a little over sixty years after St. Faustina‟s death; whereas, it took a hundred years before the Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was officially established by the Church – in that 415 case also only after a request of all the bishops of Poland! – and another hundred years before the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was extended to the universal Church. What is more, as though expressing the fulfillment of St. Faustina‟s prophecy: “And then God will act with great power, which will give evidence of its authenticity. It will be a
new splendor for the Church, although it has been dormant in it from long ago.” The Holy Father declared in the same homily: “Jesus told Sr. Faustina: “Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy‟ (Diary, p. 132). Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked forever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message but can be considered a
gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time. What will the years ahead bring us? What will man‟s future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no lack of painful experiences. But the light of divine mercy [splendor], which the Lord in a way wished to
return to the world [dormant…. From long ago] through Sr. Faustina’s charism, will
illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium” (emphasis added). Even this final part of the prophecy was verified: “When this triumph comes, we shall already have entered the new life in which there is no suffering. But before this, your [spiritual director‟s] soul will be surfeited with bitterness at the sight of the destruction of your efforts. … But God has promised a great grace especially to you and to all those [here she quotes Jesus‟ words] … who will proclaim My great mercy. I shall protect them myself at the
hour of death, as My own glory.
90. The retreat in Vilnius, held from February 4 to February 12, 1935, was conducted by Father Macewicz, S.J. At the end of the retreat there was a mass in the Eastern Rite, and the sisters received Communion under both species.
91 . Renewal of the vows. The constitutions of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy contained the provision that twice a year, after the eight-day and the three-day retreats, each sister should renew her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, together with the fhole community, by reciting aloud a shortened formula, to which the following prayer was added: “My Lord, grant me the grace, to observe them more faithfully than I have up to now.”
92. Sister Faustina‟s family lived in the village of Glogowiec, district of Turek, province of Lodz.
93. Sister Maria Salomea Olszakowska, who died in June 1962.
94. The image of The Divine Mercy, with two rays, a pale and a red one, painted by Eugene Kazimierowski in Vilnius. The picture was displayed for public veneration in the Dawn Gate at the conclusion of the Jubilee of the Redemption of the World, April 26-28, 1935 (See Diary no. 419 and footnote 1).
95. Sister Faustina thought she was to leave the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy and found a new community, whose task would be to spread the devotion to The Divine Mercy and pray for mercy for the world.
96. Sister Faustina wrote that the Lord Jesus was demanding from her the founding of a new community, whose aim would be to pray for Divine Mercy for the world and to 416 spread the devotion of The Divine Mercy. As she did not want to do anything on her own, Sister Faustina confided these inspirations to her confessor, Father Sopocko, to her Superior General, Mother Michael Moraczewska and, after coming to Cracow, also to Father J. Andrasz, S.J. The confessors were undecided; Mother Michael gave her permission after long hesitation, but stressed that she was taking no responsibility. Sister Faustina turned to Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski with her inspirations. He did not refuse, but said it was necessary to wait for a clearer sign from heaven. Despite steady efforts, Sister Faustina did not live to see the new community founded. It was only owing to Father Sopocko‟s efforts that the matter arose at a “Bible Hour” meeting in 1941; and on October 15, 1941, the first candidate took the vow of chastity before Father Sopocko and pledged poverty and obedience. In the next year other candidates joined her and made similar vows and promises. In 1946 the first candidates, Osinska and Naborowska, left Vilnius and settled at Mysliborz, in the Diocese of Gorzow. Others soon followed, and slowly the Congregation began to develop. On August 2, 1955, the ordinary of Gorzow, Zygmunt Szelazek, on the basis of special authorization, established the Congregation of the Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, Merciful Redeemer, whose aim was to spread the cult of The Divine Mercy and to assist the Church hierarchy. In this way the wish of the Saint was fulfilled without her personal participation (See O. Izydor Borkiewicz, O.F.M.Con., “Kowalska Helena manuscript. P. 18).
97. Sister Faustina had in mind the founding of the new community and was asking St. Ignatius for help.
98. The three-day retreat on August 12-16, 1935, was conducted in Vilnius by Father Rzyczkowski, S.J., later provincial of the northern province of the Society, which had its headquarters in Warsaw.
99. The Archbishop of Vilnius at the time was The Rev. Romuald Jalbrzykowski (1876-1955). He was graduated from the seminary in Petersburg (1889-1902), and was ordained in 1901. He became professor at the seminary in Sejny and canon of the Sejny chapter. He was evacuated to Petersburg during World War I, and then moved to Minsk, where he conducted lively pastoral educational and social activities. After several years of wandering, he returned to Sejny in 1917. Consecrated bishop in 1918, he worked as an auxiliary in the Polish section of the diocese of Sejny. From 1921 he was the Apostolic Delegate, and in 1926 the first ordinary of the newly established diocese of Lomza. On the death of the Metropolitan of Vilnius, Archbishop Jan Cieplak, he assumed government of the Diocese of Vilnius on September 8, 1926. On march 13, 1940 he was arrested by the Germans and interned in the monastery of the Marian Fathers at Mariampol in Lithuania. He returned to Vilnius on August 5, 1944. In December of the same year, he was again arrested and imprisoned in Vilnius. After the end of World War II, he had to transfer to Bialystok, where he devoted all his energies to the organization of the Metropolitan Curia, appointing priests to the vacant parishes and dealing with many necessary matters. In this relationship with others, Archbishop Jalbrzykowski was simple, accessible, understanding and patient. But towards himself he was very exacting. He died in Bialystok on June 19, 1955. 417
100. Father Sopocko placed this chaplet to The Divine Mercy, as found here in Sister Faustina‟s Diary, on the back of a holy card (a copy of the painting by Kazimierowski in Vilnius) and had it published by the Cebulski Publishing House in Cracow (See Letters #75, 87-90).
101 . Father Sopocko, not sure of Sister Faustina‟s inspirations regarding the establishing of a new community, wanted to refer the matter to one more priest for consideration, and for that reason he told Sister Faustina to give an account of all the commands she received to her former confessor, Father Andrasz, S.J., in Cracow.
102. The Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy has its own cemetery in Cracow, which is in the park, separated from the rest of it by a thick wall with a wide entrance gate. All the sisters and wards who die in Cracow are buried there. Sister Faustina was buried here too, and her body was in a tomb in the cemetery until the exhumation of her body on November 25, 1966.
103. Sister Vitalina Maslowska, born Dec. 4, 1852, died Jan. 6, 1939.
104. During monthly individual meetings with the superior, the sisters asked her for permission to say private prayers not included in the Congregation‟s rules (cf. 72).
105. There is no custom in the Congregation of adding a cognomen to the religious name. But it is possible for a sister to make an addition to her name, depending on the devotion she has, as, for instance, Sister Faustina did, adding “of the Blessed Sacrament.”
106. In the sisters‟ dining room (refectory) there was a bulletin board on which the superior put the names of the sisters who had some special duty for the given week. In this case, it was duty at the gate during community meals that was meant.
107. In the former Constitutions, the title “Mother” was reserved for the members of the General Council of the Congregation and all the house superiors. The wards also addressed their educators as “Mothers.”
108. The Postulancy is the first probation period in the Congregation. During this time the candidate gets to know better the Congregation of which she wishes to become a member, and the Congregation likewise gets to know her.
1 09. After the period of postulancy, the candidate makes an eight-day retreat. During the clothing ceremony she receives the religious habit and new name and begins her novitiate. This is a further stop to test whether the religious life is for the candidate; and at the same time, the candidate has the chance to better know the Congregation of which she is to become a member. In the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy the novitiate lasts for two years. The first, known as the “canonical,” is dedicated to the deepening of the spiritual life and convent practices. During this time the novice cannot attend formal schooling, spend time in studies, or perform any absorbing tasks. During the second year of novitiate, the novices may, in addition to their religious practices, study or work under the direction of the professed sisters. 418 If, after this period, the Congregation and the novice are satisfied, the novices makes a profession of vows for one year, renewing them for the next five years annually. During this time, the professed sister may leave the Congregation or be dismissed. If all turns out positive, the professed sister is allowed to take perpetual vows (Const. Congr.).
110. In the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy the sisters take simple vows. In the Congregation proposed by Sister Faustina, the sisters would take solemn vows.
111 . Office – a liturgical prayer of the Church consisting of psalms and versicles. All sisters have an obligation to say the Office.
112. By the enclosure, or cloister, is meant a certain section of the convent restricted to members of the Congregation only.
113. For every religious house, the local Ordinary appointed a regular confessor to whom every sister should go to confession. According to a provision of Canon Law, the local Ordinary should also appoint an extraordinary confessor for every house. His duty was to visit the house at least four times a year to hear confessions. All sisters had to see him, if not to confess, then at least to receive a blessing.
114. The Saint had a vision of the future community‟s house. It was in Vilnius, at 12 St. Anna Street, and it was in complete ruin. Father Sopocko had the house restored with his own money and intended eventually to place the new community in it. The war interrupted the realization of these plans (See letter of Fr. Sopocko March 31, 1972).
115. “In the dust” – a figurative expression of the Saint for the way she responded to her feeling of guilt.
116. Pinafore, or apron, could mean several things. For children it was a substitute for a shirt, and Sister Faustina had this in mind.
117. Sister Faustina probably saw the house of the Congregation of the Most Merciful Redeemer at Mysliborz.
118. Probably Father Ladislaus Wantuchowski, S.J., who looked after the Congregation of the Most Merciful Redeemer for ten years while Father Sopocko was in hiding.
119. A lash, whip, or similar instrument for the infliction of pain, used by religious as a means of doing penance.
120. Probably the fasts on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
121 . The church in Poland accepted the practice that in each quarter of the year, three days – Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, called “Ember days” – were set aside for fasting and penitence, and special prayers were said for priests and for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
122. At that time fasting was obligatory on the eve of the following feasts: Pentecost, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and All Saints. 419
123. Some communities, including the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, by solemn act elected the Mother of God as their Superior General, and entrusted to her all matters of this and future life. The act took place on August 5, 1937, at the General House in Warsaw, with all the superiors participating. Then the act was repeated in all the houses on August 15, 1937, with the participation of all the sisters of the Congregation.
124. The priest was Father Sopocko, who writes this in his memoirs of Sister Faustina: “….my troubles reached their peak in January 1936. I never mentioned them to anyone, and it was only on the critical day that I asked Sister Faustina for prayer. To my great surprise, all my troubles vanished into thin air on that very day, and Sister Faustina told me she had taken all my suffering upon herself and experienced so much suffering on that day as she never had before” (A. SF. Recol.).
125. Te Deum, a hymn of thanksgiving, sung during all major feast days and thanksgiving devotions. Religious congregations pray it during Matins. The origin of the hymn is ascribed to St. Ambrose, which explains why it was offer called the “Ambrosian Hymn.”
126. Probably Sister Veronica Rapisz. Born March 18, 1853, she entered the Congregation on December 16, 1881. She had spent all her life as a religious working in the garden. In her last years she devoted very much time to prayer. She died in Vilnius on January 28, 1936 (A. SMDM-C and D).
127. “The whole Congregation” probably means all the sisters of the house, in this case, of the Vilnius house.
128. Probably Father Anthony Korcik, chaplain of the Congregation‟s house in Vilnius from August 10, 1934 until 1940. Father Korcik was born about 1892 and ordained priest in 1920 for the diocese of Luck and Zytomierz. He graduated from the School of Theology of the Warsaw University, specializing in philosophy. From 1929 he lectured on the history of philosophy at the University of Vilnius. After the war he went to Lublin, where he taught logic at the School of Theology and Philosophy at the Catholic university of Lublin. He died in Lublin on October 24, 1969.
129. This vision is mentioned by Father Sopocko in his letter of March 31, 1972.
130. As in other houses, at the Vilnius house the sisters had an institution for girls. The wards sometimes participated in adoration with the sisters to atone for their own sins and for the sins of others.
131 . It was probably Sister Antonina Grejwul, who writes in her memories of Sister Faustina as follows: “After confessions I was worried and doubting whether the Lord Jesus had forgiven me. Weeping, I asked Sister Faustina for prayer. Next morning she said, “Sister, you have grace with Jesus, because He answered at once that He was not angry with you for your sins, but was hurt by your distrust in His forgiveness. I will pray to propitiate Him for you‟” Sister Antonina Grejwul, born Sept. 13, 1877, entered the Congregation in Vilnius on June 29, 1909. She stayed in Vilnius until the closing of the house in 1945. During World War II, in 1939, she was imprisoned in the Lukiszki prison in Vilnius together with the other 420 sisters. As a Latvian she was freed after a while. After the sisters had left Vilnius she was sent to the Congregation‟s house at Biala near Plock, where she died on January 22, 1960 (A. SMDM-C and D).
132. One can assume that it was Sister Petronela Basiura, who worked in the garden before Sister Faustina‟s assignment to Vilnius, and because she was stronger was given the duty to raise the cattle. She died March 5, 1959, in Czestochowa (A. SMDM-C and D).
133. It was probably Sister Regina Jaworska, who knew St. Faustina from novitiate days. Sister Regina – Valeria Jaworska was born November 28, 1905. She entered the Congregation in 1926 and made her perpetual vows October 30, 1933. She was a witness during the information process of the Servant of God.
134. Most probably the regular confessor of the sisters in Walendow, Father Ceslaus Maliszewski.
135. Letter of Father Sopocko, written in Vilnius July 10, 1936 (see Letter #49).
136. Probably Father Sopocko‟s pamphlet called Milosierdzie Boze (Studium teologiczne-praktyczne) [The Divine Mercy (A Theological – Practical Study)], published in Vilnius in 1936. Imprimatur was given by Bishop Romuald on June 30, 1936, No. R. 298/36 (A. SF.). The cover of the pamphlet showed a color copy of Eugene Kasimierowski‟s image painted in Vilnius.
137. Dr. Adam Silberg, from the sanatorium at Pradnik. Dr. Silberg, a convert, was about 40 years old them. In the years 1937-1939 (until the outbreak of the war) he was the director of City Sanatoriums (Polish Miejskie Zaklady Sanitarne) at Pradnik Bialy in Cracow, popularly known as Sanatorium (now a special city hospital named Dr. Anka Hospital). He lived on the premises of the hospital together with his wife and son Kazimierz. It is not sure what happened to him after the outbreak of the war. According to the account of Mr. Ludwik Spytkowski, retired janitor at the hospital, Dr. Silberg tried to make his way to the east, together with his wife, and was shot by the Germans near Lwow. Another version, given by Dr. Adamczewski, a radiologist at the hospital, says that Dr. Silberg made his way to France with a group of doctors, then went to Scotland and died there during the war.
138. Probably Sister Fabiola, who had tuberculosis and therefore was in the infirmary. Sister Fabiola Pawluk, born in 1912, entered the Congregation on April 16, 1934. She died in Czestochowa on November 25, 1947 (A. SMDM-C).
139. The Feast of The Divine Mercy – as the Saint stated – according to Jesus‟ wish was to be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter (See Diary par. 49, 88, 280, 299, 420, 570, 699, 742).
140. The cook, Sister Bronislaus – Julianna Jaworska, born in 1886, entered the Congregation in 1908. She died on February 11, 1972.
141 . The doctor at the Pradnik sanatorium confirmed that Sister Faustina had tuberculosis of the lungs. He ordered her to be separated from the others to prevent infection. Sister Faustina was put in the room for the seriously ill, called the infirmary. 421
142. Father Sopocko, in his letter of Oct. 5, 1936, asked Sister Faustina for the texts of the Chaplet and the Novena to The Divine Mercy.
143. The following sisters came to take their perpetual vows then: Sister Boleslaus Domagalska, b. 1902; Sister Cyprian Rzad, b. 1903; Sister Damiana Ziolek, b. 1909; Sister Marceline Kobrzyniecka, b. 1906; Sister Pancratia Nalewajko, b 1908; Sister Sebastiana Gabinowska (1905-1942). It is difficult to say which of the sisters confided to Sister Faustina, but it can be supposed it was Sister Sebastiana Gabinowska, who often went through periods of depression. She even asked her superiors to postpone the date of her perpetual vows. Soon after perpetual profession she showed symptoms of mental illness. She was sent to the mental hospital al Kobierzyn near Cracow. She shared the fate of other patients during the occupation: they were taken away and executed by the Germans. The death took place probably at the end of June 1942 (A. SMDM-C and D).
144. In this case the preacher was Father Ladislaus Wojton, S.J., who from October 20 to 29, 1936 conducted the retreat before the vows.
145 Probably Sister Gertrude Budzinska (1875-1966), who shared a room with Sister Faustina for some time.
146. After novitiate the sisters take temporary vows for one year. These are repeated for five years. Then perpetual vows are taken. Sister Faustina took her temporary vows (which she calls annual vows) on April 30, 1928.
147. This was a letter written on September 21, 1936, in which Father Sopocko informed Sister Faustina about the developments regarding the spreading of the devotion to The Divine Mercy and the founding of the new community.
148. Probably a vision of the house of the Congregation of the Most Merciful Redeemer at Mysliborz, The community was founded by Father Sopocko after Sister Faustina‟s death. The Mysliborz sisters conduct the catechesis of children.
149. Sister Faustina probably made a mistake about her age here; as she herself writes in the Diary, she received the grace in the Octave of Corpus Christi in 1925. As she was born in 1905, she was 20, not 18 in 1925.
150. Sister David – Antonina Cedro. She was born September 17, 1898, and entered the Congregation of servants of the Sacred Heart (Polish Sercanki or Pelczarki), founded by Bishop Joseph Pelczar in 1894. Sisters from the Congregation worked at the Pradnik hospital.
151 . Sister Felicia – Jane Zakowiecka. Born in 1900, she entered the Congregation in 1926 and made perpetual vows in 1934. She was the house econom at Vilnius and Cracow, and then became house superior at Rabka, and finally at Derdy. She met with the Saint at Vilnius and later, from 1936 to 1938, in Cracow. She was a witness at the information process of Sister Faustina. She died at the Wroclaw house on November 7, 1975. 422
152. The Congregation‟s house in Cracow was about 10 km from Pradnik, where Sister Faustina was staying. In those days, a trip to the sanatorium required much time and trouble, and this is why Sister Faustina was not visited very often.
153. This refers to the sufferings and humiliations experienced by Father Sopocko in his efforts to spread the cult of The Divine Mercy and to found a new community. Sister Faustina received inner knowledge of these sufferings and wrote about it in a letter to Father Sopocko (Letter of March 6, 1972).
154. Sister Chrysostom – Mary Korczak. Born in 1892, she entered the Congregation in 1921. She worked as a group instructor and as a nurse. She came in contact with Sister Faustina in Vilnius, and then during Sister Faustina‟s last illness in Cracow. She was appointed to be a witness at the information process for reasons of her office.
155. Sister Cajetan – Mary Bartkowiak. Born January 19, 1911, she entered the Congregation in 1933. She was with Sister Faustina in Warsaw and in Cracow. She was a witness at the information process in 1965/66.
156. After Christmas, Sister Faustina was taken back to the hospital at Pradnik by Sister Damiana Ziolek, who gives the following account of the circumstances of the trip: “At night a little baby was left by the convent gate. In the morning Sister Frances found it, took care of it, washed and fed it, and started to look for someone to look after the baby. A neighbor who had no children of her own and wanted a foster child learned about it. She readily accepted the Congregation‟s offer, took in the foundling and agreed to give it her name. The cab which was taking Sister Faustina to Pradnik gave the woman a lift to the parish church in Podgorze, where the child was baptized and the fact recorded in the books.” Sister Damiana – Sophia Ziolek was born on October 18, 1911 . She entered the Congregation in 1927. She came in contact with Sister Faustina in Plock in 1932 and then in Cracow. She was a witness at the information process.
157. St. Joseph Church in Podgorze. Rev. Joseph Niemczynski was the pastor at the time.
158. Sister Damiana Ziolek.
159. Probably Sister Alana – Caroline Wilusz, of the Congregation of Servants of the Sacred Heart. She suffered from consumption and had a room near Sister Faustina‟s. She was born in 1910 and entered her Congregation in 1929.
160. The Saint recalls the date of January 2, 1934, when she had first visited the painter Eugene Kazimierowski to give him directions concerning the painting of the image of The Divine Mercy.
161 . The superior of the Servants of the Sacred Heart at the Pradnik hospital was Sister Sebastian – Helen Wasik (1889-1952).
162. Probably Father Andrasz, but it may also have been Father Theodore Czaputa, who visited Sister Faustina in the hospital and heard her confessions. 423
163. Probably Stanislava Kwietniewska, former ward of the sisters and a patient at the sanatorium at the time.
164. Sister Faustina was in Tuberculosis Ward 1, which was about 70 steps from the chapel.
165. Stanislava Kwietniewska (cf. 163).
166. Sister Faustina is probably praying for the intentions of Archbishop Jalbrzykowski, Father Sopocko, and Father Andrasz.
167. A Eucharistic Congress was held from February 3 to 7 in Manila in the Philippines.
168. Father Andrasz was Sister Faustina‟s spiritual director at the time, so it can be supposed that the letter concerning permission for minor penitential practices was written to him.
169. Probably Sister Faustina has Father Andrasz in mind, as he was her spiritual director at the time, although the words of praise could also refer to Father Sopocko.
170. “Passion” (Polish Pasja) – a Lenten service to give worship to Christ‟s Passion. Special Lenten songs Gorzkie Zale are sung during the service.
171 . On the basis of the invocations that follow, Father Sopocko composed a Litany to The Divine Mercy, correcting a few invocations and adding some of his own (See letter of Fr. Sopocko, May 14, 1972).
172. As Sister Faustina‟s spiritual director, Father Sopocko had ordered her to carefully underline in her diary everything that she thought came from God, and in particular everything that related to the institution of the Feast of Mercy and the establishment of the new community.
173. Sister Cornelia Trzaska died at Plock on February 15. She was born in 1888, entered the community in 1905, and worked in the Congregation as a shoemaker.
174. Father Bonaventure Kadeja of the Piarist Order, Cracow, Pijarska Street. He was born in 1906, ordained priest in 1932. In the religious life he had the duties of House Superior, Counselor General, and Provincial. In 1965/66 he was a judge in the information process.
175. Cf. footnote 65 and Sister Faustina‟s letter to her sisters Natalie and Wanda of June 10, 1938 (Letter #296, 297).
176. Probably a prediction that was fulfilled under the German occupation, when many priests secretly celebrated the Eucharist in private homes and basements, without liturgical vestments, and even in concentration camps, wearing prison clothes. 424
177. Sister Faustina, while making her monthly day of recollection, took advantage of the conferences with Father Bonaventure Kadeja was giving during a retreat for the sanatorium personnel.
178. The word “confessors” seems to indicate that the Saint was told to write the Diary not only by Father Sopocko, but also by Father Andrasz.
179. Sister Faustina‟s spiritual director, Father Michael Sopocko, remembered her special gifts: visions, illuminations, enlightenments, hearing inner voices, etc. She is referring to one of these gifts here; i.e., interior knowledge of events touching people related to her. (See A. SF. Father Sopocko‟s letter of March 7, 1972).
180. At the first profession of temporary vows the sisters received a black veil, a little cross, a rosary and a belt. It is this cross that Sister Faustina meant.
181 . The Feast of The Divine Mercy, on the first Sunday after Easter.
182. The chapel of the Congregation was open only to the sisters and wards at the time. It was only during the German occupation that it was opened to the public.
183. The vision most likely refers to the investigations of the writings of Sister Faustina and the mistaken interpretation of them.
184. Polish ciemnica, literally “dark cell,” denotes both the altar of Maundy Thursday liturgy (repository) and the prison in which Jesus spent the night of His Passion.
185. Probably fragments of the liturgy of the Holy Week.
186. Father Theodore Czaputa, as the Congregation‟s chaplain, delivered a sermon in the chapel every Sunday.
187. The Directress of Novitiate at the time was Sister Callista – Helen Piekarczyk. Born March 30, 1900, she entered the Congregation in 1920. She succeeded Sister Mary Joseph Brzoza as directress on December 10, 1934, and continued until September 8, 1945. She died on September 11, 1947 (A. SMDM-C).
188. Father Sopocko‟s article in The Divine Mercy published in the Vilnius Catholic
Weekly (tygodnik Katolicki, nasz przyjaciel) on April 4, 1937, No. 14.
189. In the Cracow house, the chaplain, Father Theodore Czaputa, had weekly lectures to the sisters on ascetical subjects. These were familiarly called “Catechism.” Sister Faustina probably is referring to one of these.
190. Every year, besides the eight-day retreat, the sisters have a three-day retreat.
191 . An eight-day retreat was being held in the house, preceding the profession of vows and taking of the veil (April 20-29). It was conducted by Father Plaza, S.J., Superior of the house provincial at 8 Maly Rynek, Cracow (A. SMDM-C). 425
192. We do not know to what talks the vision refers. But we know that Father Sopocko sent a memorial on The Divine Mercy to the participants of the First Plenary Synod, which was held at Czestochowa on August 26-27, 1936. The Pope‟s delegate, Msgr. Marmaggi presided at the Synod. He probably mentioned the matter of promulgating a Feast of The Divine Mercy in his report of the Synod to the Holy See. That may have caused disputes. We have reason to suppose that the report drew the interest of Eugene Cardinal Pacelli, Secretary of State (and later, Pope Pius XII). But it is difficult to say what the work could have been. The fact that the notification banning the devotion was not issued by the Holy Office until after his death (November 28, 1958) suggests that Cardinal Pacelli‟s attitude toward the devotion to The Divine Mercy was a favorable one.
193. The Ceremonies of Clothing, Temporal and Final Professions took place in the Congregation twice a year at that time: in the spring on the last day of April or first of May, and in the fall on October 30.
194. Only the Holy See has the right to release one from perpetual vows.
195. These words of the Lord Jesus to the Saint attest that, despite the requests to found a new congregation, she is to remain in the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. The dialog of the Saint with the Lord jesus, cited on another page of the Diary (see Diary par. 1649), wherein Sister Faustina complains to the Lord Jesus that her Congregation has no saint and received the reply: you will be that saint, likewise proves this. It is a fact that Sister Faustina remained in the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy until her death, and in reference to the new congregation only gave standing guidelines.
196. The Corpus Christi procession to the four altars. The procession started from the parish church at Borek Falecki and ended at the fourth altar, which was in the Congregation‟s garden. The Blessed Sacrament then remained in the sisters‟ chapel.
197. The sisters‟ procession was always on the Octave of Corpus Christi. The altars were set up and decorated in the garden.
198. Cf. Isidore Borkiewicz, “O stosunku siostry Faustyny do Zgromadzenia Najmilosierniejszego Odkupiciela” (“Sister Faustina‟s Connection with the Congregation of the Most Merciful Redeemer”), p. 25.
199. Sister Jolanta, a group instructor in the Vilnius house, was attending a course in pedagogy in Cracow at the time (from July 3, 1937). Sister Jolanta – Aleksandra Wozniak was born in 1909. She entered the Congregation in 1929. She was a group instructor, and then superior at the Radom, Czestochowa, and Cracow houses.
200. The patron saints of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy: Our Lady of Mercy August 5 St. Ignatius of Loyola July 31 St. Joseph March 19 St. Michael the Archangel September 29 St. Mary Magdalene July 22 St. Teresa of Jesus October 15 St. Anthony of Padua June 13 426
201 . Many articles appeared in the polish Catholic press at the time on the ungratefulness of the Polish nation to God and to the Church.
202. A place in the Carpathian hills, where the Congregation has a small vacation house for sisters and girls.
203 Probably Sister Helen, who was the superior of the Rabka house. Sister Helen – Mary Urbanska, born in 1884, entered the Congregation in 1908. She was a nurse and in 1932 took over management of the newly acquired house at Rabka. She died at Rabka on August 6, 1940.
204. “Remember” – a prayer to St. Joseph said daily by the whole Congregation.
205. Perhaps one of the Benedictine Fathers, Kazimierz Ratkiewicz (1906-1965), who was a friend of the sisters in Rabka. The first group of Benedictines arrived in Poland in 1936 and settled in the “Jaworzyna” villa in Rabka, not far from the house of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy called “Loretto.” The Fathers regularly said Masses there, and Father Ratkiewicz busied himself with hearing the sisters‟ confessions. He was great friends with “Loretto,” and it is very likely that it was he who heard Sister Faustina‟s confession.
206. The novena which is in the Diary was published, with some changes, in a pamphlet called Chrystus Krol Milosierdzia (Christ King of Mercy) in 1937, by the J. Cebulski Press, Cracow. The cover had a colored picture representing the Merciful Christ with the rays and the inscription “Jezu, ufam Tobie” (“Jesus, I trust in You”). The  contents included the Novena to The Divine Mercy, the Litany and the Chaplet. The superior of the Cracow house, Mother Irene Krzyzanowska, sent out the leaflet to the other houses of the Congregation. The sisters said the prayers privately, but did not know their origin.
207. According to the Congregation‟s custom, the parlor was entered by the superiors or by sisters appointed for that function. Other sisters could go to their guests only by permission of the superior of the house.
208. Reference is to the imprimatur of two publications: 1. An image of Jesus with the Chaplet to The Divine Mercy on the back, for which Fr. Sopocko obtained permission in Vilnius on Sept. 1, 1937 (No. R. 200/ 37); 2. A small pamphlet under the title Chrystus Krol Milosierdzia (Christ King of Mercy), which included the novena, the chaplet and the litany to The Divine Mercy. The imprimatur was granted by the Metropolitan Curia in Cracow (L. 671/37). Both were published by the J. Cebulski Publishing House, 22 Szewska St., Cracow.
209. It is likely that the writer mistakenly recorded August instead of September.
210. Sister Faustina calls the gate a “desert” because the gatekeeper remained separated from the rest of the Congregation during most of the day. 427
211 . The Saint had two brothers, Stanley and Mecislaus. It later becomes clear that it was Stanley who visited her. He was born at Glogowiec on March 26, 1912. Later he lived in Lodz working as a joiner, a cabinet maker and an organist. 212. Poslaniec Serca Jezusowego (Messenger of the Sacred Heart), a monthly magazine devoted to the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and published by the Jesuit Fathers at the Wydawnictwo Apostolstwa Modlitwy House, 26 Kopernik Street, Cracow. 213. Probably at the shop of Cebulski, where devotional articles were sold. 214. A copy of Eugene Kazimirowski‟s image of Jesus, made ineptly by a Miss Balzukiewicz in Vilnius for the Redemptorist Fathers. It later appeared in Cracow. 215. Every sister is obliged to participate once a year in an eight-day retreat (socalled “big” retreat, as opposed to the three-day retreat). In the Cracow house the professed sisters took advantage of the retreats given before the ceremonies of taking the veil and professing the vows. In 1937 the retreat was held from October 20 to 29, and was conducted by Father Nitka, S.J. This was Sister Faustina‟s last retreat together with the sisters. 216. There was a custom in the Congregation of keeping written records of one‟s interior victories and falls. 217. The taking of the veil and the vows. 218. The cross was probably the illnesses of sisters and of the superior herself. There was a long-drawn flu epidemic in the house and, in addition, the following sisters were seriously ill: Sister Clemens Buczek, head gardener, down with gastric ulcers; Sister Virginia Narkiewicz, taken to the hospital because of serious heart trouble brought on by rheumatism; Sister Dominic Szymanska, seriously ill, died on November 15, 1937. 219. Sister Dominic – Josephine Szymanska. Born November 28, 1875, she entered the Congregation in 1897. She worked in the Cracow house for 30 years, as a shoemaker, and became so expert in her job that she trained younger sisters. She died on November 15, 1937. 220. Sister Damiana Ziolek, who wanted to choose Bishop S. Rospond to be her confessor. 221. This is a quotation from the Roman Martyrology, which was read in the refectory after the prayer before meals. 222. Pasterka is the Mass at midnight, December 24 to 25. According to the Congregation‟s custom, the sisters went to bed after the Christmas Eve supper. Those who wanted to pray in the chapel until midnight asked for permission to do so. 223. The Saint most probably had an inner knowledge as to the time of her death. She knew that this would be the final year of her life. 428 224. At the end of the year the sisters take part in a service of thanksgiving for the graces received, during which the Te Deum is sung. Usually all the sisters participate in the service. 225. The chaplain takes Holy Communion to the sisters who could not take part in the community Mass on account of illness. Those less ill walk to the infirmary at the moment of Communion so as not to trouble the chaplain with visiting every cell. 226. Father Matzanger, S.J., temporarily substituting for the chaplain, Father Theodore Czaputa, who left for a few days to visit his brother, also a priest. 227. Sister Faustina‟s vision regarding Mother Irene Krzyzanowska came true in so far that Mother Krzyzanowska was a witness at the information process and was probably questioned about Sister Faustina and her writings. Mother Mary Joseph Brzoza, however, died on November 9, 1939, and we do not know whether anyone asked her about Sister Faustina. 228. Probably Sister Gertrude, who was sharing a small room called separatka (isolation ward) with Sister Faustina at the time. Sister Gertrude Budzinska, born 1876, entered the Congregation in 1895. She died in Cracow on August 11, 1966. 229. Probably Sister Liguoria Poznanska, the sacristan and an expert on handiwork, came to teach Sister Gertrude how to make borders for altar linens. Sister Liguoria Poznanska, born January 15, 1880, entered the Congregation on December 4, 1919. She was sacristan almost all her life as a religious. In 1953 she was appointed assistant to the house superior in Cracow. She died in Cracow on May 2, 1960. 230. It could be that at this particular time the Saint was given to know the day of her death. 231 No date is given, but it can be supposed that the vision occurred between January 8 and 15, 1938. 232. Sister Faustina was very sensitive to the division into choirs. In this case, Sister Seraphina certainly was not guided by the division, but seeing Sister Faustina already wet, she thought it would be easier for Sister Faustina to go to the gate than for another sister to get wet, too. In giving the order she obviously did not know Sister Faustina was unwell, or else she would have done otherwise. Sister Seraphina was a good and pious sister. She was never known to make any differences among the sisters. 233. It was the custom in the Congregation to pray for the dying person the prayer, “O most kind Jesus….” And Psalm 129 “Out of the depths.” 234. Sister Faustina‟s superiors during her lifetime as a religious: M. Margaret Gimbutt – beginning of novitiate and third probation before perpetual vows; 429 M. Raphael Buczynska – in Cracow and Warsaw; M. Rose Klobukowska – in Plock; M. Xavier Olszamowska – in Kiekrz; M. Borgia Tichy – in Vilnius; M. Seraphina Kikulska – in Walendow. Sister Xavier – Jane Olszamowska, born 1883, entered the Congregation in 1912. She was superior in Kiekrz and in Warsaw, and then was secretary general. She died on March 11, 1970, in Cracow. 235. Cf. Bishop Zbigniew Kraszewski, “Udzial Matki Bozej w Dziele Odkupienia” (“The Role of the Mother of God in the Work of Redemption‟) in Gratia Plena, Poznan, 1965. 236. Probably Father M. Sopocko, because he was chiefly active in spreading the devotion of The Divine Mercy and in efforts to found the new community; but Sister Faustina may also have had in mind Father Andrasz or Mother Irene Krzyzanowska, because they, too, made efforts to spread the devotion of The Divine Mercy. 237. Father Theodore Czaputa was the confessor of the novitiate. Some of the professed sisters also made their confession to him. The Saint‟s spiritual director was Father Andrasz. Sister Faustina is careful to make the distinction. 238. Sister Tarcisia – Casimira Piotrowicz. Born in 1891, she entered the Congregation in 1912. For a short time she was a nurse in the Cracow house. 239. Probably Sister Amelia, who was Sister Faustina‟s close friend. 240. Carnival – a time of revelry and merrymaking before the Lenten Season. 241. A doctor called in to see the sick sisters. It is hard to say which one. A Dr. Stoch came frequently. 242. Probably Dr. Silberg, who knew Sister Faustina‟s condition. 243. To the hospital for contagious diseases at Pradnik near Cracow, known as the “sanatorium.” 244. There is a corridor leading from the house to the choir loft of the chapel. Sister Faustina was in the choir loft and so attended Mass, but she was not strong enough to go down and take part in the procession with the palms. 245. Father Zukowicz, S.J., who was celebrating Mass that day. He was assistant to the provincial for very many years. He was a close friend of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. As a great benefactor of their apostolic work, he often visited the girls and brought them small gifts. 246. Sister Casimir – Irene Twarowska. Born 1911, she entered the Congregation in 1933. She worked as a group instructor and then as the head of the home for girls. She died in Cracow on April 18, 1969. 247. The following sisters had been in the novitiate with Sister Faustina: 430
Senior novices: Sister Alice Dabrowska, Sister Cherubim Kowieska, Sister Ernest Szczyrba, Sister Yvonne Goebel, Sister Joachim Gluc, Sister Kinga, Sister Crescentia Bogdanik, Sister Laurenta Kosinska, Sister Longina Suchomska, Sister Lucine, Sister Natalie Fiszer, Sister Placida Putyra, Sister Renata Jodlowska, Sister Simon Nalewajko, Sister Valentina Leszczynska.
Junior novices: Sister Anunciata Peraj, Sister Bernarda Wilczek, Sister Celine Bronikowska, Sister Felicia Zakowiecka, Sister Justine Golofit, Sister Clementine Gluc, Sister Louise Gadzina, Sister Martina, Sister Regina Jaworska, Sister Severina Marciniak, Sister Teresita, Sister Zenobia Saja.
Sisters who were clothed together with Sr. Faustina: Sister Bernadette Federowicz, Sister Bonaventure Edelmann-Glowacka (d. Dec. 17, 1936), Sister Florentine Pajak (d. Jan. 2, 1950), Sister Henry Skulimowska (d. Oct. 20, 1974).
Sisters who corresponded with Sr. Faustina: Sister Justine Golofit, Sister Louise Gadzina, Sister Regina Jaworska; perhaps there were others, but at present they are unknown. 248. Sisters of the Congregation of Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, who worked at the hospital at Pradnik. The Congregation had been founded in Cracow in 1894 by Bishop Leiczar. 249. Sister David Cedro; Sister Alana – Caroline Wilusz, born July 20, 1910; Sister Medarda – Caroline Podrazik, born June 16, 1910, died 1966. 250 Similar incidents can be found in the lives of saints; for example, St. Stanislaus Kostka and St. Bonaventure. 251 Low Sunday. The Sunday mentioned by Sister Faustina was the first Sunday after Easter; that is, the day that was to be the Feast of The Divine Mercy. 252. Probably a reference to the flu epidemic which had begun in February and continued for several months. As many as 22 sisters were down on some days. 253. It is difficult to establish the date. Sister Faustina no longer dates anything but merely writes, “today.” At any rate, this was after Pentecost; that is, after June 5. 254. It can be supposed that sister Faustina had the vision of the Heart of Jesus on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi; i.e., on June 24, 1938. 255. Many souls have attained heroic sanctity, and so were saved, never having celebrated the Feast of Divine Mercy. Then, too, according to His revelations to Sr. Faustina, Jesus offers to sinners another extraordinary means as a “last hope of salvation,” namely the Divine Mercy Chaplet (cf. Diary, 687). The statement made by Our Lord here (965) regarding the Feast of Mercy, therefore, must be seen within the context of the remainder of this passage: “If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity,” as well as in the light of the statements declared on later occasions: “I give [souls] the last hope of salvation, that is, recourse to My Mercy” (998); and “For them [lukewarm, indifferent souls] the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy” (1228). We see that the immediate and solely adequate response to God‟s mercy on the part of human beings is trust. The attitude of trust is the only means of coming to mercy (cf. 1578) and so, of finding refuge in it. Jesus 431 calls it the “last hope of salvation” for the human soul – literally the “plank or (sheet) anchor,” the last refuge for safety (cf. Webster). The Feast of Mercy, therefore, must be seen in this context as an occasion serving as a powerful enticement for sinners to take hold of the promises which Jesus holds out to them in connection with its celebration, motivating [enducing] them to trust that He will be true to them. Expressing that trust, by fulfilling the conditions Jesus gave for receiving on that day [Mercy Sunday] the total forgiveness of sins and punishment as though a “second baptism,” will truly be for some souls the last opportunity to be reconciled with God, allowing Him to present them to Himself radiant, “without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27), and so, saved “for all eternity.”