People touch the relic of Blessed Stanislaus at his beatification in 2007.
It May Be Another Miracle!
Though liturgically displaced by Sunday, the feast day of the Marians' founder, Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701), was May 18. This year his feast day takes on special significance because of big news announced from Rome earlier this month.
Blessed Stanislaus may have interceded for a Polish woman healed from terminal illness. The Marians in Rome announced that the investigation of the alleged miracle has advanced from the diocesan level in Poland to the Holy See's Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Its approval would be the final hurdle for Blessed Stanislaus' canonization.
As of yet, not a whole lot of information has been released about the woman. What we do know is that she underwent a long period of intensive and unsuccessful medical treatments before her family took matters into their own hands by praying a novena for the intention of receiving graces through the intercession of Blessed Stanislaus.
"The ill woman's condition began rapidly improving already during the novena, so that she was able to leave the hospital shortly afterwards," said Fr. Andrzej Pakula, MIC, the Marians' superior general.
In a May 7 letter to Marian priests and brothers, Fr. Andrzej requested that Marians and Marian Helpers alike pray for the success of this decisive stage of the examination of the alleged miracle.
"Undoubtedly, any congregation considers the canonization of its founder as an exceptional grace," Fr. Andrzej wrote. "I trust that it would become also for us an additional stimulus to strengthen our vocation, enliven our charism, and bring about a more dynamic growth of our community Pro Christo et Ecclesia (For Christ and His Church). ... I ask that on the 17th of each month — the day of Blessed Stanislaus's passing to heaven — each religious house and [Marian] parish celebrate, if possible, a Holy Mass for the intention of his canonization. I also ask you to regularly add to your daily community and personal prayers the prayer for his canonization and to encourage the faithful under our care to do the same.
"Our Father Founder was a tireless venerator of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of our Lord," Fr. Andrzej wrote, "and, therefore, we commend this cause to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
The prayer for the canonization of Blessed Stanislaus is the following:
Most holy and undivided Trinity, You choose to make Your home in the hearts of Your faithful servants, and, after their death, to reward their merits with the glory of heaven. Bring it about, we ask, that Your servant, Blessed Stanislaus, who, enraptured by the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, progressed with such fidelity and so sacrificially towards personal sanctity, and who made every effort to introduce and preserve the Kingdom of God in the hearts of his neighbors, be added by the Church without delay to the company of the Saints. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The miracle that cleared the path for Blessed Stanislaus's beatification in 2007 involved a boy who was declared dead in his mother's womb by doctors in his hometown of Elk, in northern Poland. The mother's cousin, Zbigniew Chojnowski, sought the intercession of Blessed Stanislaus, and his prayers were answered when, on April 4, 2001 — on the eighth day of his novena to Blessed Stanislaus — the fetus regained a heartbeat.
"This event was immediately judged to have come about beyond the powers of nature," stated the decree concerning the miracle, which Pope Benedict XVI authorized on Dec. 16, 2006. Sebastian was born, without complications, on Oct. 17, 2001.
For those who know little about Blessed Stanislaus, in several respects he was a man ahead of his time.
Two-hundred-and-sixty-eight 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, including the souls in purgatory.
In words that were later to be echoed in Christ's revelations to St. Faustina, Blessed Stanislaus wrote, "The most merciful Savior of the world cares for the salvation of all people, and not only does He have in consideration the happiness of the just, but also, or even mainly, of the sinners." As Jesus told St. Faustina, "The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy" (Diary of St. Faustina, 723).
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."
Perhaps more than any of the Church's thousands of saints, both Blessed Stanislaus and St. Faustina emphasized prayer for the poor souls in purgatory. Both saw visions of suffering souls in purgatory. Both left as one of their legacies their love and concern for these souls. Blessed Stanislaus, who founded the Marians in 1673, made it a main cause for all Marians to help the souls in purgatory shorten their time of separation from God.
Finally, Blessed Stanislaus, like St. Faustina, 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 healing, 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."
So attentive to the needs of his time, Blessed Stanislaus is now a model of holiness for our time. Indeed, on the day of Blessed Stanislaus' beatification on Sept. 16, 2007, in Lichen, Poland, Pope Benedict XVI called him "a father of the poor" and "an apostle of intercessory prayer for the dead."
To learn more about Blessed Papczynski, visit stanislawpapczynski.org.