Daughter of Lidia, neé Piszczako (1916–2004) and Czesław Mackiewicz (1910–1976). After World War II her family was displaced from the Vilnius Region. Czesław Mackiewicz was a soldier of the Home Army in Vilnius. His first brother fought at Monte Cassino, in the ranks of the Polish Second Corps commanded by General Władysław Anders, the other one was murdered by NKVD in Katyń.
Maria Kaczyńska spent her early childhood in a forester's lodge in Bory Tucholskie. The reason her family moved to Rabka Zdrój was Mariaa congenital heart defect. There she completed her primary education, and in the years 1957–1961 attended the 1st Secondary School of General Education named after E. Romer (1957–1961). After passing her A-levels, in the years 1961–1966, she studied foreign trade (majoring in maritime transport) at the Higher School of Economics in Sopot. She was awarded a professional MA title in economic sciences.
After graduating from her studies, she started to work at the Maritime Institute in Gdańsk in the Economic Research Department, where she dealt with development perspectives of freight markets in the Far East. She met her husband, Lech Kaczyński in 1976 through their common acquintances. They got married two years later. After their daughter Marta was born, Maria Kaczyńska resigned from her job. She earned money teaching languages and translating. She was a great support to her husband at every stage of his political career. From 2005, as the First Lady, she became involved in charitable activities. She also represented the Polish Head of State as a special envoy of the President of the Republic of Poland. She spoke 4 foreign languages – English, French, Russian and Spanish. In spite of numerous duties she had, her family remained the most important to her: her husband, daughter and two granddaughters - Ewa and Martyna.
She perished on April 10th, 2010 in Smoleńsk.