Archive for the ‘Martyrs of World War II’ Category

Feast of Blessed Symforian Ducki (April 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Symforian Ducki

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED SYMFORIAN DUCKI (MAY 10, 1888-APRIL 11, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Friar and Martyr, 1942

Also known as Felix Ducki and Antonio Ducki

Alternative feast day (as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

Blessed Symforian Ducki comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Felix Ducki was originally a subject of the Russian Empire.  He, born in Warsaw on May 10, 1888, was a son of Julian Ducki (a locksmith) and Marianna (Lenardt) Ducki.  Our saint joined the Franciscan Capuchins at Warsaw on January 3, 1918, during revolutionary times in Russia, as well as prior to the reestablishment of independent Poland.  His first monastic name was Antonio.  That name became Symforian on May 19, 1921.

Ducki lived and served mostly in Warsaw through 1941.  He, as a friar, collected funds for the poor.  Our saint served his brother friars as a cook.  Ducki, who made his final vows on May 22, 1925, led this holy life until the Third Reich intervened.

Agents of the Gestapo arrested the Franciscan Capuchin friars of Warsaw on June 27, 1941, and initially incarcerated them at Pawiak.  Ducki, sent to Auschwitz on September 23, 1941, spent the rest of his life performing hard labor.  He, aged 53 years, died on April 11, 1942.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized our saint.  Pope John Paul II declared Ducki a Venerable in 1999 then a beatus later that year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAUL VI, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN BRIGHT, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BYROM, ANGLICAN THEN QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH A. SITTLER, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF LANCELOT ANDREWES, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CHICHESTER THEN OF ELY THEN OF WINCHESTER

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyr Blessed Symforian Ducki:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of Blessed Bonifacy Zukowski (April 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Franciscan Symbol

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED BONIFACY ZUKOWSKI (JANUARY 13, 1913-APRIL 10, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Friar and Martyr, 1942

Also known as Bonface Zukowski and Piotr Zukowski

Alternative feast day (as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

Blessed Bonifacy Zukowski comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Piotr Zukowski was originally a subject of the Russian Empire.  He, born near Vilnius, Lithuania, on January 13, 1913, was a son of Andrzej Zukowski and Albina Walkiewicz.  Our saint, who grew up on a farm, joined the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) in Niepokalanow, Poland, in 1930.  He took the name Bonifacy.  Zukowski, who made his solemn profession on August 2, 1935, pursued his religious vocation.  He worked in the printing press, which published The Knight of the Immaculate.  Our saint worked with St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941).

Zukowski became a prisoner on October 14, 1941, when agents of the Gestapo arrested him.  The Nazi authorities did not like the material the press published.  Our saint, incarcerated first in Warsaw, ministered to other prisoners.

Internet sources disagree regarding which concentration camp to which the Nazis shipped Zukowski.  The options are Auschwitz and Dachau.

Our saint did not survive long in the concentration camp.  He, treated harshly, died on April 10, 1942.  Zukowski was 29 years old.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized our saint.  Pope John Paul II declared him a Venerable then a beatus in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 20, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRI NOUWEN, DUTCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH KENNY, AUSTRALIAN NURSE AND MEDICAL PIONEER

THE FEAST OF JOHN COLERIDGE PATTESON, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF MELANESIA, AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS, 1871

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIE THERESE OF SAINT JOSEPH, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATON OF THE CARMELITE SISTERS OF THE DIVINE HEART OF JESUS

THE FEAST OF NELSON WESLEY TROUT, FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN U.S. LUTHERAN BISHOP

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power

your holy martyr Blessed Bonifacy Zukowski

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig (March 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ENGELMAR UNZEITIG (MARCH 1, 1911-MARCH 2, 1945)

German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

Also known as Hubert Unzeitig and the “Angel of Dachau”

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Even behind the hardest sacrifices and worst suffering stands God with his Fatherly love, who is satisfied with the good will of his children and gives them and others happiness.

–Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig, writing to his sister from Dachau

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The Good is undying and victory must remain with God, even if it sometimes seems useless for us to spread love in the world.  Nevertheless, one sees again and again that the human heart is attuned to love, and [the heart] cannot withstand [love’s] power in the long run, if [the heart] is truly based on God and not on creatures.  We want to continue to do and offer everything so that love and peace may soon reign again.

–Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig, writing a few days before his death

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Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church as well as Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1998).

Hubert Unzeitig was originally a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  He entered the world at Greifendorf (now Hradec nad Svitavou, Czech Republic) on March 1, 1911.

Our saint commenced his religious life when he was 18 years old.  He traveled to Reimlingen, Germany, to join the Mariannhill Missionaries and to start his studies for the priesthood in 1929.  While engaging in theological studies, Unzeitig lived in Würzburg, Germany.  He made his final vows in May 1938 and received the name “Engelmar.”  Ordination to the priesthood occurred on August 6, 1939, shortly prior to the beginning of the European Theater of World War II.  Unzeitig, who celebrated his first Mass on August 15, 1939, commenced his parish ministry at Glöckelberg, Austria (now Zadni Zvonková, Czech Republic) the following year.

Our saint’s ministry in Glöckelberg was brief.  His practice of defending the Jews in sermons attracted the attention of the Gestapo.  Unzeitig, arrested on April 21, 1941, arrived at Dachau concentration camp on June 8 that year.

Unzeitig earned his nickname, the “Angel of Dachau.”  He regarded all prisoners as his flock.  Our saint learned Russian so that he could minister to prisoners from Eastern Europe.  He and twenty-six other priests volunteered to care for victims of typhoid fever in the autumn of 1944.  That disease claimed our saint’s life on March 2, 1945.  He was 34 years old.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Unzeitig.  Pope Benedict XVI declared him a Venerable in 2009.  Pope Francis made our saint a beatus in 2016.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 25, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MICHAEL FARADAY, ENGLISH SCIENTIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREA BORDINO, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC LAY BROTHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA DEL TRÁNSITO DE JESÚS SACRAMENTADO, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE FRANCISCAN TERTIARY MISSIONARIES OF ARGENTINA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA TRONCATTI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOHN COPELAND, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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Almighty and everlasting God,

who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyr Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig:

Grant to us, your humble servants,

a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka (March 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIA RESTITUTA KAFKA (MAY 1, 1894-MARCH 30, 1943)

Austrian Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1943

Also known as Helene Kafka

Alternative feast day = October 30

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It does not matter how far we are separated from everything, no matter what is taken from us; the faith that we carry in our hearts is something no one can take from us.  In this way we build an altar in our own hearts.

–Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka, on death row

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Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Helene Kafka, born in Hussowitz (now Husovice), Brünn, Austria-Hungary (now Brno, Czech Republic), on May 1, 1894, grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family.  She was the sixth daughter of Maria Stelík and cobbler Anton Kafka.  The family moved to Vienna when our saint was two years old.  Kafka worked first as a maid then as a clerk in a tobacco shop.  Then, in 1913, she went to work as a nurse in Vienna.  With some interruption, she worked there until 1919.  The interruption resulted from her joining the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and becoming Sister Maria Restituta in 1914, when she was 20 years old.  (“Restituta” came from St. Restituta, martyred during the Diocletian Persecution in 304.)

Kafka transferred to the hospital in Mödling in 1919.  She eventually became the chief surgical nurse there.  The Anschluss (1938) displeased our saint, who made no secret of her opposition to Nazism and her low opinion of Adolf Hitler.  The word “madman” passed her lips frequently.  And our saint, following Roman Catholic practice, hung a crucifix in each room in the new wing of the hospital.  When Nazi officials ordered her–on the pain of termination from her position–to remove the crucifixes, Kafka disobeyed.  She remained employed at that hospital through Ash Wednesday 1942, when agents of the Gestapo arrested her.  A pro-Nazi doctor had denounced her.

The charge was treason, the verdict was guilty, and the mode of execution was beheading via the guillotine.  Kafka, convicted and sentenced on October 29, 1942, ministered to other prisoners while on death row.  She, aged 48 years, died in Vienna on March 30, 1943.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Kafka.  Pope John Paul II declared her a Venerable in 1998 then a beatus later that year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 30, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CLARENCE JORDAN, SOUTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER CHRYSOLOGUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF RAVENNA AND DEFENDER OF ORTHODOXY

THE FEAST OF SAINT VICENTA CHÁVEZ OROZCO, FOUNDER OF THE SERVANTS OF THE HOLY TRINITY AND THE POOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM PINCHON, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF SAINT-BRIEUC

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power

your holy martyr Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember her in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with her the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blessed Nikolaus Gross (January 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Nikolaus Gross

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED NIKOLAUS GROSS (SEPTEMBER 30, 1898-JANUARY 23, 1945)

German Roman Catholic Opponent of Nazism, and Martyr, 1945

Blessed Nikolaus Gross comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Gross, born in Niederwenigern, German Empire, on September 30, 1898, gave his life in the cause of opposing institutionalized injustice.  Our saint’s father was a miner.  Gross was also a miner (1915-1920).  Then he left the mines yet remained active in union politics.  Our saint, a member of the Christian Mineworkers’ Trade Union (1917f) and Saint Anthony’s Miners’ Association (1918f), had been taking night classes before quitting mining.  His post-mining activities included:

  1. Serving as the secretary of the Christian Mineworkers’ Trade Union (1920-1921);
  2. Serving as the assistant editor of that union’s newspaper (1921-1922);
  3. Serving as a union secretarial worker in Waldenburg, Lower Silesia (1922), in Zwickau (1922-1924) then in Bottrop (1924-1926);
  4. Serving as the assistant editor of the newspaper of the Catholic Workers’ Movement (1927-1929); and
  5. Serving as the general editor of that publication (1929f).

In the meantime, the misnamed National Socialist Party, or the Nazi Party, was rising.  It was actually fascist, not socialist.  Gross, in his editorial capacity, opposed the Nazis.  The Nazi-controlled government banned his newspaper for three weeks in 1933, for another short period of time in early 1935, and permanently in November 1938.  After the permanent banning, the publication continued illegally.

The assassination plot against Adolf Hitler failed on July 20, 1944.  In the wake of that event, Nazi authorities arrested Gross, who had not been involved in the conspiracy.  Our saint, apprehended on August 12, 1944, went to trial on the charge of treason.  The verdict was guilty, of course.  The sentence, imposed on January 15, 1945, was death.  Eight days later, he died by hanging.  Our saint was 46 years old.  Nazi authorities had the corpse cremated and the cremains scattered at a sewage plant.

Survivors included our saint’s wife, Elisabeth Koch (1901-1971), whom he married on May 24, 1923, and six of the couple’s seven children.  Four or five of those children survived to witness Pope John Paul II declare their father a Venerable then a Blessed in 2001.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 30, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JEANNE JUGAN, FOUNDER OF THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR

THE FEAST OF CARLTON C. BUCK, U.S. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST MINISTER, MUSICIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GERALD KENNEDY, U.S. METHODIST BISHOP AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN LEARY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTIVIST AND ADVOCATE FOR THE POOR AND MARGINALIZED

THE FEAST OF KARL OTTO EBERHARDT, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST, MUSIC EDUCATOR, AND COMPOSER

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Nikolaus Gross

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blessed Narcyz Putz (December 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Poland, 1927-1980

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED NARCYZ PUTZ (OCTOBER 28, 1877-DECEMBER 5, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942

Alternative feast day = June 12 (Polish Martyrs of World War II)

Blessed Narcyz Putz comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Putz was originally a subject of the Russian Empire.  He, born in Sieraków (near Warsaw), on October 28, 1877, was a son of Józefa Brodniewicz and her husband, innkeeper Wladyslaw Putz.  Our saint completed his local education in 1898 then studied theology in Poznan and Gniezno.

Putz, ordained to the priesthood on December 5, 1901, served in various parishes.  Our saint also became active in Polish patriotic organizations.  With the independence of Poland (1919), after World War I, Putz entered a new phase of his life.  He served at Bydzoscz (1920-1025) then at Poznan (1925-1939).  Our saint fulfilled the usual priestly duties, and was a capable youth pastor.  Putz was also active in civic life, especially in matters related to public libraries, public parks, public theaters, and local economic development.

German forces invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.  Nazi authorities arrested Putz twice.  They apprehended him on October 4, 1939, then released him two weeks later.  The second arrest–that of November 9, 1939–was permanent.  Nazi authorities eventually transferred Putz to the concentration camp at Dachau then to the concentration camp at Gusen then back to the concentration camp at Dachau.  During his incarceration, our saint suffered torments and ministered to his fellow prisoners.  Putz, suffering from heart disease and pneumonia, died at Dachau on December 5, 1942.  Our saint was 67 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Putz a Venerable then beatified him in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 3, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Narcyz Putz

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Venerable Jan Franciszek Macha (December 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Venerable Jan Franciszek Macha

Image in the Public Domain

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VENERABLE JAN FRANCISZEK MACHA (JANUARY 18, 1914-DECEMBER 3, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942

Alternative feast day = June 12 (Polish Martyrs of World War II)

Venerable Jan Franciszek Macha comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Macha, born a Russian subject, grew up in independent Poland.  He debuted in what is now Chozrów, Poland, on January 18, 1914.  Our saint was one of four children of Pawel Macha and Anna Cofalka.  Young Jan grew up in a devout household.  He, having perceived his vocation to the priesthood, applied to the Silesian Theological College in 1933.  That application failed, so our saint briefly studied law.  However, the second application, in 1934, succeeded.  Macha joined the Sacred Order of Deacons on May 1, 1938, then became a priest on June 25, 1939.

Europe was descending into World War II, and Macha understood that his life and priesthood would be brief.  They were holy, however.  Our saint, assigned to St. Josef Parish, Ruda Slaska, in the summer of 1939, ministered to his flock faithfully under wartime conditions.  German forces invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.  Merely being a Roman Catholic priest was sufficient to receive a death sentence from Nazi officials.  Macha tended to his congregation spiritually and raised funds to help the poor.  He did this until his arrest by agents of the Gestapo, at Katowice, on September 5, 1941.

Macha spent the rest of his short life as a prisoner of the Third Reich.  Nazi officials interrogated, abused, and humiliated him.  They moved Macha from prison to prison.  Our saint prayed for God to forgive them.  Macha, sentenced to death on July 17, 1942, went to the guillotine, at Katowice, shortly after Midnight on December 3, 1942.  He was 28 years old.  Prison authorities refused requests for a proper burial.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Macha.  Pope Francis declared him a Venerable in 2019.  The Vatican has approved our saint for advancement to the status of beatus.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed that ceremony.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FOSTER, ENGLISH MORAVIAN BISHOP, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF PETER JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE PRIESTS’ EUCHARISTIC LEAGUE; AND ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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Almighty and everlasting God,

who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr,

Venerable Jan Franciszek Macha;

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of Blessed Anna Kolesarova (November 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Anna Kolesárová

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ANNA KOLESÁROVÁ (JULY 14, 1928-NOVEMBER 22, 1944)

Slovak Roman Catholic Martyr, 1944

Blessed Anna Kolesáarová comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Blessed Anna was a native of Czechoslovakia.  She, born in the Michalovce District on July 14, 1928, received the sacrament of baptism on July 15, 1928.  She was the third of three children in the blended family of Ján “Hruška” Kolesár and Anka (Kušnirová) Kolesárová.  The family was devout; the farmers lived their faith and attended Mass frequently.

Blessed Anna was a dutiful, simple, and modest girl.  Her mother died when our saint was ten years old.  Blessed Anna, therefore, added more household duties and care of her older brother Michal to her responsibilities.  She and friends also attended Mass often.

Germany occupied and annexed Czechoslovakia in states, immediately prior to and during World War II.  Slovakia became a rump, puppet state of the Third Reich.  Furthermore, sections of the former Slovak section of the former Czechoslovakia wound up within the borders of occupied Hungary.  Therefore, on November 22, 1944, Blessed Anna lived in Hungary.

In late 1944, the Soviet invasion of Germany and German-occupied territory from the east was underway.  Soldiers of the Red Army came to Blessed Anna’s hometown on November 22, 1944.  Ján, his children, and his neighbors hid in the Kolesár family’s cellar.  An intoxicated Soviet soldier discovered the hiding locals.  Ján, hoping the soldier would leave if he believed the hiding civilians were no threat, asked Blessed Anna to go to the kitchen and give him something to eat.  The soldier tried to rape Blessed Anna in the kitchen.  She resisted, escaped, and fled to the basement.  He followed her.  He killed her in front of her father.  Blessed Anna was 16 years old.

The communist government of Czechoslovakia forbade any mention of this martyrdom.  It also forbade gatherings at Blessed Anna’s grave.

Pope Francis declared our saint a Venerable then beatified her in 2018.  He affirmed that Blessed Anna had died in defensum castitatis.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR, 68

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Anna Kolesárová

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember her in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with her the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska (November 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ALICJA MARIA JADWIGA KOTOWSKA (NOVEMBER 20, 1899-NOVEMBER 11, 1939)

Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1939

Born Maria Jadwiga Kotowska

June 12 = Feast of the 108 (Polish) Martyrs of World War II

Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Maria Jadwiga Kotowska grew up a subject of the Russian Empire.  She, born in Warsaw on November 20, 1889, was the third of seven children of Jan Kotowski and Zofia (Barka) Kotowska.  The family was devout and Roman Catholic, and Jan was an organist.  Nuns in Warsaw educated our saint.

With the restoration of Polish independence in 1919, Kotowska, a nursing student, served her new country proudly.  During the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921), Soviet forces approached Warsaw in 1920.  She, as a Red Cross nurse, went to the front lines.

Kotowska joined the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection of Our Lord (the Resurrection Sisters) at Kety, near Bielsko, in 1922.  She had met some Resurrection Sisters while she was in nursing school.  Our saint, during her third year of nursing school, became Sister Alicja.  She made her first vows in 1924, returned to Warsaw, studied mathematics and natural sciences at the university, made her perpetual vows (1928), and defended her Master’s thesis in chemistry (1929).

Kotowska worked as a teacher and a nurse for most of the rest of her life.  She taught chemistry in Zoliborz, was a school nurse, and eventually ran the school.  In 1934, Kotowska became the director of a girls’ boarding school in Wejherowo.  She did this well, and won recognition for doing so.

After the Soviet-German partition of Poland (1939), Kotowska found herself in the German zone.  The Nazis closed the school at Wejherowo.  Agents of the Gestapo arrested our saint and took her to the prison in town.  The following November 11, Nazis shot many prisoners, including our saint.  In nine days, she would have been forty days old.

Pope John Paul II declared Kotowska a Venerable then beatified her in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 22, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GENE BRITTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF DONALD S. ARMENTROUT, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HADEWIJCH OF BRABERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF KATHE KOLLWITZ, GERMAN LUTHERAN ARTIST AND PACIFIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VITALIS OF GAZA, MONK, HERMIT, AND MARTYR, CIRCA 625

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power

your holy martyr Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember her in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with her the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blessed Jozef Jankowski (October 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Józef Jankowski

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JÓZEF JANKOWSKI (NOVEMBER 17, 1910-OCTOBER 16, 1941)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941

June 12 = Feast Day of the 108 (Polish) Martyrs of World War II

Blessed Józef Jankowski comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Jankowski was originally a subject of the German Empire.  He, born in Czeczkove, Pomerania (now Czyczkowy, Poland), was the second of eight children of Robert and Michaline Jankowski. When our saint was eight years old, Poland became an independent country again.

Jankowski spent most of his life as a member of the Palotine order.  He joined in 1929 and made his final vows on August 5, 1931.  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Gniezno on August 2, 1936, had a devotion to St. Teresa of Avila.  Jankowski was a youth minister–a school chaplain in the area of Oltarzew.  On March 31, 1941, he became the treasurer and director of novices at the seminary.  He, arrested and sent to Auschwitz, died on October 16, 1941.  A guard beat the 30-year-old priest to death.

Pope John Paul II declared Jankowski a Venerable then beatified him in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 14, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD THOMAS DEMBY AND HENRY BEARD DELANY, EPISCOPAL SUFFRAGAN BISHOPS FOR COLORED WORK

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTHONY, JOHN, AND EUSTATHIUS OF VILNIUS, MARTYRS IN LITHUANIA, 1347 

THE FEAST OF GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT WANDREGISILUS OF NORMANDY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT LAMBERT OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZENAIDA OF TARSUS AND HER SISTER, SAINT PHILONELLA OF TARSUS; AND SAINT HERMOINE OF EPHESUS; UNMERCENARY PHYSICIANS

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Józef Jankowski

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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