Some may not know that St. Faustina belonged to the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which was founded by the Polish princess Ewa Potocka née Sułkowska (1814-1881). Today, July 6, marks the 138th anniversary of her death. For this reason, this reflection will be dedicated to her.
Although not a canonized saint, she led a holy life, totally devoted to girls and women who needed all-embracing help to change their lives1. She lived in very dangerous times for Poland, in the time of uprisings and fights with the occupying powers for the freedom of the Church, and for the right of the people to use their mother tongue (Polish). Dedicated to her work of raising the level of moral life among the Polish people, against all odds she wrote in one of her letters: “I am not afraid of anything … I will continue our apostolic work, as if we lived in peaceful times … “.
Where did Mother Teresa find such determination and courage? How do we explain her perseverance in realizing the charism of saving the souls of “women from the street” and her unprecedented mother’s love for such people? Where did the power to live in poverty despite being accustomed to luxury come from? After all, remember, she has been a princess.
She was strong in the Lord thanks to her unwavering, persistent faith and spirit of gratitude to God for everything. She sang the “Magnificat” in every free moment. It was this heroic faith and gratitude that were the dominant features in the life of this princess. She repeated: “If I saved even one soul by my work, if at least one was rescued for God, I would be generously rewarded. Is it a small matter to save one soul? This thought stimulates me to work, gives me courage and bravery in the deepest adversities”. This motto of her life gave the Congregation a special feature of the ardor and apostolic zeal of the Sisters. It was in this very atmosphere, where one sacrifices everything to save human souls from hell, that Sister Faustina grew. Her words from the Diary are like an echo of Mother Potocka’s words: I was suffering more that day than on other days, but that – it was nothing, and that for the salvation of souls, it was not too much. O merciful Jesus, give me the souls of sinners! (Diary 842).
May we also win souls for God by our work, suffering, prayer, and we will be saints.
- Mother saw with deep clarity the priceless dignity of the woman, and she dedicated her life and work to restore this image when it had been disfigured through a voluntary lifestyle of sexual promiscuity. ↩