This fall, my fellow Marians and I are remembering someone who is very dear to us -- our Marian Founder, the Venerable Servant of God, Fr. Stanislaus of Jesus Mary Papczynski.
On Sept. 17, 1701, this spiritual giant passed on to the Lord. Now, 300 years later, we Marians are celebrating his holy life and legacy. We are also praying that he will soon be raised to the honors of the altar. Now, all that is needed for his beatification is for the Holy See to recognize a miracle worked through his intercession.
That is why I am overjoyed that so many Marian Helpers have written or called us to request a "Fr. Stanislaus prayercard" in response to our Summer issue of Marian Helper. As vice-postulator for North America for the Marian Causes of Canonization, I am also gratified to have received some very inspiring letters of graces received through his intercession -- especially accounts of healings. (See "Graces Received" under "Departments.")
Your letters reminded me of how our Father Founder worked what I like to call "a little miracle in my life."
I was in my teenage years and had only my mother and grandmother at home. My mother had to work long hours, while my grandmother stayed home to look after me.
My grandmother was a small, frail 80-year-old woman. While shopping for us, just before Christmas, she suffered a serious accident in which she broke her hip.
At the hospital, the doctors told my mother and me that they had decided to operate on my grandmother's hip on Christmas Day!
In this crisis, I turned to Fr. Stanislaus and made a novena requesting his intercession for my grandmother. As a family, we attended a Marian parish in Warsaw, and I had heard and read much about Father Founder.
My request was that she would survive the operation, have a speedy recovery, and walk again on her own. The doctors didn't offer much hope.
To my great relief and joy, my grandmother not only survived the operation, but was out of the hospital within two weeks. Once out of the hospital, she also made steady progress in walking again.
As I entered my late teens, this "little miracle" cemented my relationship with Fr. Stanislaus. I decided to become a Marian myself, so I could spread the news of his life and work. (See my feature "On pilgrimage with Marian Founder" in this issue.)
While this personal story touches me deeply, I also wanted to share with you something special from the "Last Will and Testament" of Fr. Stanislaus. He writes, "For all who loved and supported this Order of the Immaculate Conception, which by the Lord's inspiration through me came into existence, especially to pray for the dead, I promise a double reward from the hands of the Lord."