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.
We beseech Thee,
O Lord our God, grant us to revere with unceasing devotion the glorious
victories of Thy holy Martyrs Saints Margaret Clitherow, Anne Line and Margaret
Ward; may we at least honor with our lowly homage those whose praises we cannot
Saint Margaret Middleton was born in York in 1556, lived there all
her life, and died there on 25 March 1586. At 15, she married a butcher, John
Clitherow, and three years later became a Catholic. Imprisoned for her
non-attendance at church, she taught herself to read and later ran a small
school for her own and her neighbours’ children. Her husband remained
Protestant, but allowed her to hide priests in their house. In 1586, the secret
hiding places were discovered, and Margaret was put on trial. She refused to
plead, for which the punishment was being crushed to death.
Saint Anne Heigham was
born at Dunmow (Essex) around 1565, and was hanged at Tyburn on 27 February
1601. In her teens, she became a Catholic and was disinherited, and in 1585
married Roger Line, also a disinherited convert, who was subsequently
imprisoned then exiled for his faith, leaving her destitute. She taught and
embroidered, and also kept house for priests. After a large number of people
had been seen gathering at her house for Mass, she was arrested, tried and
condemned to death.
Saintt Margaret Ward was born at Congleton (Cheshire), but
entered into the service of a family in London. She was arrested after
assisting a priest escape from prison, but refused under severe torture to
reveal his hiding place or to renounce her faith. She was tried at the Old
Bailey, and executed on this day in 1588. All three are remembered for their
resourcefulness, for their loyalty, for their outstanding courage, and for the
service they rendered the Church during dangerous times in aiding the ministry
of priests. (Liturgy Office, Bishops of England & Wales)
For more on these 3 English Martyrs see this entry.
In the Diocese of Bridgeport, those who prepare for the major seminary at Saint John Fisher Seminary, Stamford, call to mind the martyrdom of these women saints daily as their statues surround the altar. May Saints Margaret, Anne and Margaret, pray for us!!!