The article analyses Sister Faustina's Diary - Divine Mercy in my Soul, which reveals the exceptional ability of the author to transcend pain and sanctify it. Tuberculosis and the related suffering were for Sister Faustina a sign of being chosen, called to accomplish the mission of salvation. The teleologisation of the illness is an example of her Christian interpretation where intentionality of physical suffering interweaves with the vision of the Passion. From the perspective of psychopathology, one the other hand, the mission of the saint is reduced to visual and auditory hallucinations with the sublimation of human drives being at their source. The experience of chronic health dysfunction leaves an open road to interpretation. The illness can, as in the case of Sister Faustina, be subjected to cultural and religious signification or stripped of any meaning. The author draws attention to the interpretation of Sister Kowalska's case from the perspective of medical anthropology. In this interpretation the illness becomes a relativised text of culture, which implies the necessity for a holistic approach. Cultural anthropology (and its subdiscipline, i.e. medical anthropology) overcomes the limitations of biomedical paradigm, showing that the illness is a phenomenon at the intersection of many discourses and ideologies. The main aim of the article is to show the worldviews which orientate contemporary reflection on the problem of health and illness, discussed in both the contextual and general theoretical dimensions.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.