Saint Faustina was born in Poland in 1905, the third of 10 children to a poor and religious family. She felt her calling to religious life when she was 7 and regularly attended Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. She wanted to enter the convent immediately after finishing school, but her parents would not allow her. She worked as a housekeeper to help her parents and support herself.
Sr. Faustina had her first vision of Jesus in 1924. While at a dance she saw a suffering Jesus and then went to a Cathedral. According to St. Faustina, Jesus directed her to leave for Warsaw immediately and join a convent. She packed her bags and left the following morning. When she arrived in Warsaw, she attended mass at the first church she saw.
She joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy but had to pay for her own religious habit. She saved her money from working as a housekeeper and made deposits to the Convent. She received her habit in 1926, as a 20-year-old and took the name, Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament. She took her first religious vows as a nun in 1928.
Over the next year, Faustina traveled convents as a cook. In May 1930 she arrived in Plock, Poland. Soon after, she began to show the first signs of her illness and was sent away to rest. Several months later, Faustina returned to the convent.
On February 22, 1931, Faustina was visited by Jesus, who presented himself as the “King of Divine Mercy” wearing a white garment with red and pale rays coming from his heart. She was asked to become the apostle and secretary of God’s mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God’s plan of mercy for the world.
In her diary, Faustina writes:
“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'”