Category Archives: Saints

Saint John Chrysostom

St John Chrysostom SdelPiombo.jpgO blest teacher, light of holy Church, blessed John Chrysostom, thou lover of God’s law, plead with the Son of God for us.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, may heavenly grace enrich Thy Church which Thou hast willed to enlighten by the glorious merits and teaching of blessed John Chrysostom, Thy bishop and confessor.

Blessed Sisters of Nowogródek: Blessed Stella & companions

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.

Blessed Jeanne Jugan

Today is the liturgical memorial of Blessed Jeanne Jugan (Sister Mary of the Cross), a relatively unknown sister here in the USA unless you you’ve met them begging for money to sustain their life and work. She is soon to be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11th.

Blessed Jeanne Jugan.jpg

The congregation of sisters founded by Blessed Jeanne, The Little Sisters of the Poor, are an exceptional group of women who dedicated themselves to doing small things for the poor for the sake of the Gospel: be humble, i.e., be little in order to be close to the humble and making the poor happy is everything. It was the spirituality of Saint John the Baptist: I must decrease and He must increase. Jugan was very much influenced by Saint John Eudes because in him she saw a path that corresponded to her heart: we must be other Christs on earth and to go to Jesus through Mary. Jugan called together women to serve poor elderly women, a work of charity that Jeanne had done for her own conversion since she was a young woman. Not only did Jeanne address the physical needs of the women she served, but she also attended to the spiritual ones too. The Little Sisters take a 4th vow of being hospitable: showing mercy to our poor brothers and sisters.
Here in Connecticut the Little Sisters of the Poor are located in Enfield but there was a time that they had a house in New Haven. Sadly, the New Haven community closed when the health care politics got to be too much for the sisters to handle.
When I am visiting the local Catholic cemetery I make it a point to visit the graves of the Little Sisters who died in New Haven. For me it is a way being grateful for the work and witness of the sisters in New Haven.
Watch the video clip of a recent first vows profession ceremony…
Among the recent books about Blessed Jeanne are:

Saints Margaret Clitherow, Anne Line and Margaret Ward

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
sing worthily.

St Margaret Clitherow.jpg

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.

St Ann Line.jpeg

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.

St Margaret Ward.jpg

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!!!

Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

Martyrdom St John Baptist ASpinello.jpgBlessed is the man who endures temptation: for when he has been tried, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, may the holy festival of Saint John the Baptist, Thy Precursor and Martyr, obtain for us help unto salvation.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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