Saint Stanisław Kazimierczyk
Looking back in time at XVth century Krakow, we can see many saints who walked its streets, including the ones we meet in THE CITY OF SAINTS. They met up, discuss ideas but also supported each other with prayer and spiritual conversation. Saint Stanisław Kazimierczyk, Saint Simon (Szymon) of Lipnica and Saint John Cantius knew about each other and also knew each other.
Patron Saint – Not a Coincidence
Stanisław Kazimierczyk was the long expected and prayed for child of Maciej (Matthias) and Jadwiga (Hedwig) Sołtys. He was born on the day commemorating when the body of Saint Stanisław, bishop and martyr, was moved from the Church on the Rock to the Wawel Cathedral. It was September 26th, 1433. His name wasn’t accidental then, as in those times children would often receive the name of the patron saint of the day they were born; it was said that they in fact brought the name through their birth. The baptism would usually happen on the same day. It is worth noticing that the father of Stanisław was a rich and enterprising townsman of Kazimierz (in those days an adjacent city, now one of the districts of Krakow) who was a weaver. He also performed social functions: he was a councilman. With his wife Jadiga they formed a very pious couple. They both belonged to Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament in the parish church of Corpus Christi in Kazimierz, where Canons Regular of the Lateran served according to the Rule of Saint Augustine.
It was here, in the parish school of Corpus Christi in Kazimierz that little Stanisław started his education. What made him different from his peers were wisdom and mental acuity. Both at home and at school he was raised in the spirit of piety, hard work and reciprocal respect. Often he would cross the street and in the adjacent Church on the Rock, he would nurture his relationship with his Patron Saint - Saint Stanisław the bishop.
His parents made sure that he had a godly teacher who later directed him for further studies at the Krakow Academy (see: map). He was 23 years old when he became a doctor in philosophy and a year later a doctor of theology after which he was offered a professorship of his own at the Academy. He didn’t neglect his spiritual life: he would pray and mortify himself every day. Despite the excellent development of his career, listening to his heart, which was responsive to God’s voice, he wanted something else. He came back to Kazimierz to his home parish and there in the monastery of “his” Canons Regular, he became a monk.
Stanisław Behind the Monastery’s Walls
From that moment he would pass his theological knowledge on to young monks. He also took care of continuing to learn and read in his free time. However, his main task was preaching. He preached with power, touched hearts. He spent a lot of time in the confessional. He would listen to penitents with humility, care and love. They would leave brother Stanisław’ confessional with new hope and a firm resolve to improve, touched by God’s mercy.
Stanisław saw the basis of creating great works in doing the simplest and the most usual activities entrusting everything to God and to Holy Mary in trusting and persistent prayer. He often would humbly confess his sins in the sacrament of Penance. He fasted a lot, mortified himself silently and kept vigil praying for the living and the dead even at the expense of sleep. He would sleep very little, often on the ground. He was a caring guardian of postulants. In the evenings he would wander the corridors of the monastery and bless his students before they slept: he would comfort the troubled and the sick, inviting them to treat their suffering as a blessing. He was known for his sensitivity to human poverty.
What he loved the most was the Eucharist! He prepared himself for it in silence. The Mass was for him the most important moment of the day and it was his desire that other people would not be indifferent to the richness of the graces flowing from full participation in it. During sermons he used to tell people: You, who listen to the Holy Mass and leave before the end, you will be given no reward because of God evaluates you at the end.
St. Stanisław Kazimierczyk was also a mystic - it happened a few times that during prayer he was granted a vision of the Mother of God. Once, when he visited his patron on Skałka, the Mother of God appeared to him holding the infant Jesus in Her arms, and St. Stanisław the Bishop stood surrounded by many other saints. During this revelation St. Stanisław Kazimierczyk heard from the mouth of Mother Mary: I'm glad my son, Stanisław, that you together with your patron Saint Stanisław surround me constantly with your great piety. I'm telling you, have courage and act courageously, because for you and for my saints, an abundant reward awaits in heaven.
Fulfilled Promise of Mother Mary
Brother Stanisław supported by the Word of God, and by the reception and celebration of the sacraments, was eager to serve all thirsty and searching people. However, he drew all his strength from the inexhaustible Source, which the Eucharist was for him. At thirty years of his religious life after Lent when he was weakened – he suddenly fell ill. The infection was very serious. Entrusting himself to Divine Mercy, during deep prayer, Stanisław saw the risen Christ in the company of the Mother of God. Christ said to him: Arise, hurry up my son, Stanisław! Today you will be with me in eternal glory. After these words, although weak, he began to worship God so loudly that many brothers came to his cell. Then he asked to be anointed. He gave his farewell to the gathered brothers, put his hands on their heads, prayed for everyone and blessed each one of them. One of the biographers of St. Stanisław Kazimierczyk describes that he was so moved by the sorrow of his brothers that he fell out of bed on his knees – and with his last breath, with upraised hands, he entrusted his soul to Christ and died. It was May 3rd in the year 1489, the celebration of discovering the Holy Cross. He was 55 years old.
For Each Invocation
Shortly after his death, not forgetting about his city, Stanisław appeared in a dream of a terminally ill wife of some weaver from Krakow. He told her to come to the church of Corpus Christi, where he was buried and to pray there. The woman, healed after the prayer spoke about the miracle and many people began to visit the grave of Kazimierczyk. In a short time there were more than 170 such cases.
500 Years Later ...
St. Stanisław Kazimierczyk was beatified more than five centuries after his death – on April 18th, 1993 at St. Peter's Square by St. Pope John Paul II. His canonization took place 17 years later, on October 17th, 2010, which was conducted by Pope Benedict XVI. We commemorate him around the world on May 3rd, and on May 5th in Poland.