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Photo: Felix Carroll
Marian novice David Blasland recently burnishes the statue of Blessed Stanislaus on Eden Hill. The statue greets the many pilgrims who visit the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.
A year of thanksgiving will culminate this Sunday, Sept. 7, with a Mass of thanksgiving at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, in Stockbridge, Mass. The prayerful appreciation is for the beatification one year ago this month of the founder of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Bl. Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701).
The 2 p.m. Mass will have as its principal celebrant the Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, bishop of Springfield, Mass.
"The Marians have been spending this year studying the writings and spirituality of our Founder and educating the flock about him," says Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC, rector of the National Shrine. "We wish to celebrate the year anniversary of his beatification by the greatest means — through the celebration of Holy Mass."
Blessed Stanislaus, a zealous priest whom Pope Benedict XVI called "a father of the poor" and "an apostle of intercessory prayer for the dead," was raised to the honors of the altar last Sept. 16 in Lichen, Poland, before a crowd of 100,000.
"He has so much to offer the Church today," says Fr. Anthony, who attended the beatification, "including his devotion to the Immaculate Conception and his call for prayer for the souls in purgatory."
Father Anthony also notes that 268 years before the Marians would become official promoters of the authentic Divine Mercy message, Blessed Stanislaus was living the message of Divine Mercy: of having complete trust in Christ, of receiving His mercy, and being merciful to others, particularly those in greatest need.
Moreover, nearly 200 years before the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception as a dogma of the faith, Blessed Stanislaus professed: "I believe everything that the holy Roman Church believes, but first of all I profess that the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, was conceived without any stain of original sin."
So attentive to the needs of his time, Blessed Stanislaus is now a model of holiness for our time, says Fr. Anthony.
Living in a war-torn time period, Blessed Stanislaus witnessed thousands of casualties on battlefields and also from dreaded plagues. He himself accompanied Polish troops as a chaplain in battles against Turkey in Ukraine in 1674. He was deeply saddened to observe how many people died with no time to prepare to meet their Maker. After he experienced visions of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, he was moved to engage in, and advocate for, prayer and penance on their behalf of the dead.
"One of the most significant problems of our times is the loss of a sense of human dying, which is a result of the loss of a sense of life," said the Very Rev. Jan M. Rokosz, MIC, the Marians' superior general. "Dying without God is terrifying. Blessed Stanislaus teaches us to live with our attention on dying as the point of our ultimate meeting with God, the point at which we will enter the fullness of eternal life."
And so why was the Immaculate Conception so central to Blessed Stanislaus? He realized that by being preserved from original sin, Mary was made worthy to become the Mother of the Son of God. Thus, she became living proof to the mystery of Divine Mercy — that sin had been conquered by Jesus Christ, whose merciful love is more powerful than evil.
Finally, Blessed Stanislaus has proven himself a powerful intercessor.
"I've received countless letters from people around the world acknowledging graces received through his intercession," said Br. Andrew Maczynski, MIC, vice postulator for the Marian Causes of Canonization in the Marians' Stockbridge, Mass.-based Province. The graces received include spiritual and physical healings, recovery from financial crisis, and the resolving of family disputes.
"This is a holy man," said Br. Andrew, "someone we can turn to and learn from."
As we continue to get to know the Church's new blessed, as we strive to follow the spiritual path he laid, a path that inevitably leads to The Divine Mercy, we can remember above all else that Blessed Stanislaus was a man of mercy who continually sought to lesson the misery of others.
Today, from his place in heaven, he continues that mission. Turn to him as a model of faith. Turn to him in prayer.
The following is the "Prayer through the Intercession of Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski":
Our Lord and God, in consideration of Your Servant, Blessed Stanislaus, who, in spite of many obstacles, trusting in the help of Your Providence, faithfully followed in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, and of His Mother Mary, Conceived Immaculate, grant us this grace that we may be marked by an unwavering trust in Your omnipotence, goodness, and faithfulness, especially when You lead us upon a thorny road towards the glorious promises of Your love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In honor of the beatification of Blessed Stanislaus, please consider sending a gift to support Marian priests of tomorrow.