Translating Father Founder

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Brother Patrick, MIC, who has been in formation with the Marian Fathers since 2017, tells us about his work translating the writings of St. Stanislaus Papczynski from Latin into English. On May 18, we celebrate the feast of St. Stanislaus, the Founder of the Marian Fathers.

How did you first get involved in translating the works of St. Stanislaus Papczynski?
It was my first summer as a Marian brother. The Marians asked me to translate St. Stanislaus' 
historical writings, which have to do with the history of the Congregation. The Marians want to publish the selected works of St. Stanislaus in English, which haven't all been translated yet.

How long have you been studying Latin?
Since age 13. I was homeschooled, and the curriculum I was using at that time had a particular focus on the study of Latin. I don't actually have a degree in Latin. But by Divine Providence, I spent time studying it, and it's turned out to be a useful way to help the Congregation, so I am grateful.

How much have you translated?
There are eight works, and I've translated roughly five works. It's taken me about two years and hundreds of hours.

What kinds of things did St. Stanislaus write?
He wrote a collection of meditations for before and after receiving Holy Communion. For different feast days, he would give different meditations. He focused on the spiritual life, but he also wrote a textbook on the study of rhetoric. He was a very accomplished teacher. He also wrote a defense of why he left the Piarists before establishing the Marian Fathers.

What kind of writing style does St. Stanislaus have?
He uses exaggeration to make a point. We're used to people being a little more direct in their style. He used poetic ways of phrasing things that you can't capture in English. It's difficult to translate because the mastery he had of Latin and the concise way he expressed things is hard to put into the English language.

What did St. Stanislaus have to say about Divine Mercy and Our Lady?

He wrote, "Learn to immerse with great trust all your imperfections in this immense abyss of 
Divine Mercy." He used language very much like St. Faustina's. He spoke that way, and in God's Providence, later on this message was entrusted to our Congregation.
About Our Lady, he uses a beautiful metaphor:

My soul, you've been clinging so far to books containing various kinds of knowledge, but today look into a new book, a fresh book, unknown to you so far: the most holy Mother of God; I'll tell you that this book is written, illustrated, and published by God himself. Could you find elsewhere what you could not get from Mary? Could anyone else give to you what Mary can?

What effect has St. Stanislaus had on you personally?
The first time I really felt close to St. Stanislaus was when I was a novice. I got to take a trip to Poland to see the sites connected to our founding and to visit the tomb of St. Stanislaus. I felt his presence in a very fatherly way, as his son, as a Marian. I think that's helped me a lot as I've translated and read his works because sometimes the things he said can be very strict in a direct and strong way. Everything he says comes from a place of love, even the words that might sound harsh to some. Really, what he's concerned about is that he wants the souls of his children to be saved. So he's not going to hold back when it comes to calling out sin and leading people back to the Lord.

What should everyone know about St. Stanislaus?

I think if there's one thing I want to convey to someone who doesn't know St. Stanislaus at all is that he was a man with an incredibly deep love for God and the Church, and a man who was purified by extraordinary suffering and persecutions. But through all of that, he continued to walk with Christ, and I think his strength through all of that suffering was his love for Our Lady, the one who accompanies us on our own Calvary, just as she accompanied the Lord.

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