O most blessed Trinity, we praise and thank you for the example of Blessed Mary Stella and her ten companions, Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who by imitating Jesus Christ, offered themselves as a
sacrifice of love.
God of mercy and compassion, through the merits of their martyrdom and by their intercession, grant us the grace we humbly ask… (insert intention here) …so that like them, we may witness with our lives to the presence of the Kingdom of God’s love and extend it to the human family throughout the world. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Blessed Martyred Sisters of Nowogródek, pray for us.
Blessed Mary Stella and her companions were authentic martyrs for the faith: they “…paid with their blood for the charity they exercised in favor of escapees, of the wounded and the sick during the terrible and uncertain days” (His Will Alone, 424).
They had engaged life as any other person does and so I thinking giving the names of the sisters keeps memory of the women, our friends, alive in our hearts. Certainly as a kid in a Nazareth school (New Haven, CT) this image of the sisters was haunting and striking. On my desk sits the commemorative coin, a gift of Sister Thaddeus of Jesus, CSFN, with the faces and names of the sisters reminding me of the gift their lives are for us.
The eleven Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth who were executed by the Nazis on August 1, 1943 were:
Sister Maria Stella, Superior (Adelaide Mardosiewicz) (1888-1943)
Sister Mary Imelda (Jadwiga Zak) (1892-1943)
Sister Mary Rajmunda (Anna Kukulowicz) (1892-1943)
Sister Maria Daniela (Eleanor Juzwik) (1895-1943)
Sister Maria Kanuta (Jozefa Chrobot) (1896-1943)
Sister Maria Gwidona (Helena Cierpka) (1900-1943)
Sister Maria Sergia (Julia Rapieg) (1900-1943)
Sister Maria Kanizja (Eugenia Mackiewicz) (1904-1943)
Sister Maria Felicyta (Paulina Borowik) (1905-1943)
Sister Maria Heliodora (Leokadia Matustzewska) (1906-1943)
Sister Maria Boromea (Veronika Narmuntowicz) (1916-1943)
The Sisters had these words in their hearts and on their lips as they gave witness to Christ and the Church: “O God, if sacrifice of life is needed, accept it from us who are free from family obligations.
Spare those who have wives and children.”
And so we pray that Blessed Mary Stella and companions intercede for us before the the Throne of Grace for us, for the Nazareth Congregation of Sisters (especially for Sister Mary Ellen Genova) and for Poland.
N.B. In many places the martyrs of Nowogródek are remembered liturgically on the day their death, August 1st. In the convents of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth today is the liturgical memorial is prayed at Mass and in the Divine Office.