Pope John Paul II, who himself prayed at the tomb of Helena Kowalska while a clandestine seminary student in Nazi-controlled Poland, presided at Sunday's canonisation ceremony, describing the nun as a "daughter of Poland ... tightly connected to the history of the 20th century."
   Kowalska, Sister Faustina of the Krakow order of God's Mercy, died of tuberculosis in 1938 on the verge of World War II at age 33, leaving behind a diary in which she recorded visions of Christ entreating his followers to mercy.
   "To those who remember, who were witnesses and participants of the events of those years and of the horrible suffering that pursued millions of men, they know well how necessary that message of mercy was," Pope John Paul told an audience that included Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek and representatives of the Solidarity labor union.
   The somber message was lightened by a rain-washed spring sky and a piazza decked with budding saplings and flowers of all hues. An estimated 200,000 people filled the square and spilled out into the boulevard leading to it.
   In Poland, about 70,000 faithful watched the ceremony on large-screen TVs at Sister Faustina's shrine outside Krakow.


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