Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr – Feast Day – April 11

Today is Saturday, January 28, 2023

Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów is the Patron Saint of Poland, Kraków,
moral order

Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów Date of Birth, Country of Birth, Profession, Place of Work, Date of Death, Place of Death, Feast Day, Beatification Date, Canonization DateMatrimony/Holy OrdersBishops who became Saints

Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów brief life History

Date of Birth July 26, 1030
Country of Birth Poland in Europe
Profession Bishop of Kraków
Place of Work Kraków, Poland
Date of Death April 11, 1079 (aged 48)
Place of Death Kraków, Poland
Feast Day April 11
Beatification By Not Available
Canonization By Pope Innocent IV on September 17, 1253, Assisi, Italy
Patron Saint of Poland, Kraków,
moral order

Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów Short life History

Today’s saint’s blood was spilled precisely due to such high tension. St. Stanislaus was the Bishop of Krakow in southern Poland in the century just after that nation entered the Church through the conversion of its king. St. Stanislaus had various and serious disputes with King Bolesław II; over property, over a war, and over the King’s moral failings. This led to Stanislaus excommunicating Bolesław, in seeming support of the King’s enemies.

Bolesław was outraged by Stanislaus’ sanction and labelled him a traitor to the nation. He proceeded to seek his blood. But the henchmen the King sent to assassinate Stanislaus refused to carry out the deed. So King Bolesław murdered Bishop Stanislaus with his own hands, perhaps as he was celebrating Mass. Stanislaus was immediately venerated as a martyr and, a century and half after his death, his relics were transferred to the Wawel Cathedral complex in the heart of Krakow. For centuries Polish kings were crowned at the splendid tomb of the martyr. He is one of the patron saints of Poland, being especially venerated in the city and diocese of Krakow.

On November 1, 1946 a young Polish man named Karol Wojtyla, in love with God and his country, was ordained a priest for the diocese of Krakow. He went on to become a successor of St. Stanislaus as Archbishop of Krakow, then a Cardinal, then Pope John Paul II, and then a saint. Pope John Paul II had a great devotion to St. Stanislaus and often prayed at his tomb. The Pope even planned his first pastoral trip to Poland to coincide exactly with the 900th anniversary of the death of the saint.

He missed the exact date of martyrdom, due to a lack of cooperation from the communist government, but he didn’t miss the year. 1979 turned out to be a pivotal year for Poland because the papal trip unleashed various social movements that brought down communism a decade later. So the memory of St. Stanislaus played a remote role in conquering a deeply unjust modern government.

Many details about the life of St. Stanislaus are lost in the fog of the past. Only a basic outline of his life is possible. But his heroic example, precisely as a bishop, gave Karol Wojtyla a very real model to follow in his own life as a Polish bishop and Pope in far different circumstances of civil and ecclesiastical tension than those of the eleventh century.

We can speculate that on May 13, 1981, when Pope John Paul II was shot, and almost killed, by an assassin’s bullet, he thought of the attack which ended St. Stanislaus’ life so many centuries prior. Civil and Church power still clash. Thank God for the Church, Pope John Paul II survived, perhaps through the intercession of the great patron of Poland we celebrate today.

Today’s Catholic Quote:

St. Stanislaus, you fearlessly confronted those who threatened the well-being of the Church, and so gave a heroic example of martyrdom to an entire nation. Help all who seek your intercession to be as brave and forthright as you in the face of threats and adversity.

Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów
Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów

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