Childhood and Early Years
She was born as Helenka Kowalska, in Głogowiec, Łęczyca County, just west of Lodz in Poland. She was the third of ten children of Stanislaus and Marianna Kowalska. Stanislaus was a carpenter and a peasant, and the family was poor and religious.
She stated that she first felt a calling to religious life while attending the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at age seven. She wanted to enter the convent after finishing school, but her parents would not give her permission. When she was sixteen years old, she went to work as a housekeeper in Lodz to support herself and help her parents. After a year of working, she twice asked her parents to let her enter a convent, but her requests were met with a firm refusal.
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