Blessed Karolina Kózka was also referred to as Karoliny Kózkówny, Caroline Kozkowna, or the Maria Goretti of Poland.
She was a sixteen-year-old Polish girl who died while defending her virginity from a pedophile Russian soldier.
She was born on August 2 1898 in Wał-Ruda, Małopolskie, Poland, and died on November 18 1914 in the forests around Wal-Ruda, Poland.
We celebrate her feast day on November 18 every year in the Catholic Church.
|Blessed Karolina Kózka Biography
|Date of Birth
|August 2 1898
|Place of Birth
|Wał-Ruda, Małopolskie, Poland
|Date of Death
|November 18 1914
|Place of Death
|By Pope John Paul II on June 10 1987 in Tarnów, Poland
|Patron Saint of
Blessed Karolina Kózka Life History
Blessed Karolina Kózka was born on August 2, 1898, in a small hamlet near Zabawa, Lesser Poland, during the period when Austria-Hungary held control over the region.
She was the fourth of eleven children, born to Jan Kózka and Maria Borzęcka, who were peasant farmers.
Karolina’s baptism took place on August 7 1898 in the local parish church of Saint John the Baptist. Her early years were spent on the family farm, and she attended the local primary school from 1906 to 1912, with additional part-time schooling from 1912 to 1913.
She often gathered neighbors and relatives to read the Bible together under a pear tree near her home, and she had a deep love for reciting the rosary with beads given to her by her mother.
Karolina would even fall asleep in prayer to Mary and prayed on her way to Mass. She found inspiration in her uncle, Franciszek Borzęcki, and assisted him in his role as a librarian.
Additionally, she helped teach catechism to the children of the parish, led her family in singing about the Passion of the Lord during Lent, and sang carols during Christmas. Her home was affectionately referred to by some villagers as “the little church.”
In 1907, Karolina received her First Communion, and on May 18, 1914, she was confirmed. She was known for her profound devotion to the Mother of God, often reciting the rosary late into the night.
In 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, Russian forces began occupying Polish towns and cities under Austrian rule, eventually reaching Wał-Ruda in mid-November.
On November 18, 1914, around 9:00 in the morning, an armed Russian soldier arrived at Karolina’s house, inquiring about Austrian forces and ordering both Karolina and her father to accompany him to the commanding officer.
As they reached the forest’s edge, the soldier sent her father back home. Tragically, Karolina was left alone with the soldier, who attempted to assault her.
She resisted, and in his anger, he stabbed her with his bayonet multiple times. Despite her injuries, she managed to escape and ran approximately 800 meters to nearby swamps, which ultimately saved her from further harm.
Believing her to be dead, the soldier gave up the chase after seeing her fall. Unfortunately, due to the carotid artery being cut during the assault, Karolina bled to death in the swamps.
Her body wasn’t discovered until December 4, 1914, and her funeral, on December 6, saw around 3,000 people in attendance.
According to Rozalia Łazarz, a nurse present during her autopsy, Karolina died a virgin. Her remains were reburied beneath the main altar of the Zabawa parish church on March 18, 1987, following the directive of the Bishop of Tarnów.
A cross marks the location where she died, and a monument was erected in her honor by the Zabawa church on June 18, 1916.
The beatification process began in the Tarnów diocese with an informative process on February 11, 1965. On June 30, 1986, her beatification received papal approval, as Pope John Paul II confirmed that Kózka was killed “in defensum castitatis,” meaning in defense of chastity.
He subsequently beatified her in Tarnów while visiting Poland on June 10, 1987.
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