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A Life Beyond the Diary
Marian Press has just released the English-translation of the groundbreaking biography Faustina: The Mystic and Her Message. The following is an interview with the Polish author, Ewa K. Czaczkowska:
What inspired you to research and write about St. Faustina?
My journey with Sr. Faustina began in the mid-90s. One day I was walking on Zytnia Street in Warsaw [and entered] the Church of the Divine Mercy where I found a card with a quote from her Diary. This church was once the chapel of the [Mother House of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, where St. Faustina entered the religious life]. Sister Faustina led me to the message of Divine Mercy in a very difficult time of my life, and through her intercession, I received many graces.
Several years later, when I worked on one of my books, very often I thought that one book I would really like to write would be a biography of Sr. Faustina, but I didn't tell this to anyone. Therefore, when some time later a representative of a publishing house called me with a proposal to write the biography of Sr. Faustina, I was amazed and ... understood this as a sign. This book is my votive offering and gratitude to Sr. Faustina.
What challenges did you face in researching her life?
The search for sources that would provide answers to questions about Faustina's life that are unknown or poorly described was, indeed, very difficult, but it was also incredibly fascinating. I benefited from various archival sources, from the memoirs written after the war by the sisters who knew Sr. Faustina personally. I also used memories of her family, priests, and people who she worked with before she joined the convent. Much information came from letters and, of course, from her Diary. I visited all the places where she lived and worked. I tried to place her life in the contemporary context of the time to show her as a person of flesh and blood who struggled with the hardships of life while fulfilling God's will in her life.
How has your own life become enriched as a result of writing this biography?
Working on the book was like a long retreat. There was a period not only of collecting information, talking, reading, and finally writing, but also there was time of thoughts and prayers. It was important to me that I could touch the places where Sr. Faustina lived, and I met many beautiful people. Among them is Maria Nowicka, who was five to six years old when, in her house, Helena Kowalska (Faustina's birth name) worked as a housekeeper for a year. I also met people who later received graces and miracles through the intercession of Sr. Faustina.
If you could ask St. Faustina one question, what would that question be?
I would ask her if the brief moments of the union of her soul with God, which she described in her Diary, reflect well what she is currently experiencing in heaven.
You can order Faustina: The Mystic and Her Message by calling toll-free 1-800-462-7426 or by visiting shopmercy.org.