Tag Archives: Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth

Blessed Mary Stella and Companions, Martyrs of Nowogrodek

Eleven Nuns of NowogrodekToday is also a  day on which I recall the witness of the eleven courageous and holy Nazareth Sisters, who in 1943 sacrificed their lives for family members during World War II in Belarus.

As a boy in a New Haven school staffed by the Nazareth Sisters, St. Stanislaus School, I distinctly remember the Adam Styka image  (1948) painted of the nuns being murdered by the Nazi regime.  The original painting was moved to the Rome headquarters of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 1965.

Each falling into a common grave. Though their mortal identity was robbed by a common grace, but their dignity as woman of grace and Divine Love not. Keeping their memory alive means remembering the names of those killed. The sisters’ names were: M. Stella, M. Imelda, M. Rajmunda, M. Daniela, M. Kanuta, M. Sergia, M. Gwidona, M. Felicyta, M. Heliodora, M. Kanizja and M. Boromea.

In the days before the great feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration on August 6th, it is interesting to note that these sisters had received a tremendous outpouring of affection from their fellow townspeople. The sisters were known as “The Kneelers” because they frequented the local parish Church of The Transfiguration to kneel in prayer at the left side of the altar in prayer.

Sister Mary Stella prayed: “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.”

Saint John Paul II said of Sister Mary Stella, “By the power of His grace, these seemingly weak women witnessed to the strength of true love to the point of martyrdom” (March 5, 2000).

The 12th sister of the group, Sister Malgorzata Banas, who survived the war and the sisters’ chaplain Father Aleksander Sienkiewicz are also candidates for sainthood.

Through the intercession of Blessed Mary Stella and her Ten Companions, Martyrs of Nowogrodek, let us pray for the grace of perseverance in faith and courage.

The liturgical memorial falls on September 4.

Blessed Stella and companions, Martyrs of Nowogródek

Blessed Stella CSFNO most blessed Trinity, we praise and thank you for the example of Blessed Mary Stella and her 10 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.

 

This 2011 icon is in the spiritual treasure of Father Michael Bechard, a priest of the Diocese of London, Ontario.

Blessed Martyrs of Nowogrodek, the 70th anniversary of their murder

Martyrs of NowogrodekA group of eleven Sisters of he Holy Family of Nazareth  were murdered by the Nazis in exchange for 120 condemned citizens of Nowogródek, current day Belarus.

Sister Stella and her companions were murdered on this date, 1 August 1943 by the Gestapo in Novogródek, Hrodzyenskaya voblasts’, Belarus.

Invited by the bishop of the area to come serve the Church in the village of Novogródek in 1929, the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth were well received by the people.

Tensions ran high with the Nazi occupation. When it became clear that the sacrifice of life was imminent, the Sisters in conversation with their chaplain, Father Zienkiewicz, said, “My God, if sacrifice if life is needed, accept it from us and spare those who have families. We are even praying for this intention.”

Blessed John Paul beatified the sisters on 5 March 2000.

The Blessed Martyrs are stilled remembered with devotion.

Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd (Frances Siedliska)

Bl Maria Franciszka Siedliska.jpg

The great foundress of the Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth is liturgically remembered today. As she lay dying Mother Mary of Jesus spoke the word charity in five languages. One of the many reasons why I like Mother Foundress is her strong sense that “An interior life is essential for the active life.”
On July 4, 1885 the Nazareth Sisters arrived in the New York Harbor and eventually landed in Chicago where they made their first foundation in the USA. For 125 years they have served the Church in a variety of ministries, namely education, pastoral ministry in parishes, hospitals and and orphanages.
Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd’s liturgical prayers are here.

Blessed Frances Siedliska (Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd)

FranciszkaSiedliska.jpgCome bride of Christ, and receive the crown, which the Lord has prepared for you for ever.

O God, You gave Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd the charism to model her life upon the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth; grant us the grace to imitate her and to inspire Christian families with the desire to lead a life worthy of their vocation for Your greater glory and for the extension of Your kingdom on earth.
The vocation of a professed sister of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth (CSFN) is to live the Trinitarian life of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in perfect love. The point of this blog, I might add with enthusiasm. Mother Foundress described the vocation of the sisters as following the hidden life of the Holy Family of Nazareth wherein the love reigned in relationship with God and neighbor. More concretely, Blessed Frances designed this congregation of sisters to live a life of prayer, community living and ministry; the work of the sisters is to witness the life of the Holy Family in the human families of today through the renewal of life known in moral and religious renewal. As a graduate of a CSFN school, I am happy that there is a liturgical memorial to praise God through the intercession of a great Beatus.
I’ve mentioned the sisters before on this blog (and here, too) and recommend the order to young women.

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]yahoo.com.
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