Day 7 — Blessed Maria Teresa Kowalska, Capuchin Poor Clare martyred by Nazis in
Polish (see comment) a concentration camp in German-occupied Poland, 1941: we are invited to open wide the doors of our hearts to welcome in and appreciate brothers/sisters of different races, religions, cultures.
“We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead. We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you. For your name’s sake spurn us not, disgrace not the throne of your glory; remember your covenant with us, and break it not” (Jer 14:19c-21).
Today we receive a harsh-sounding word from the prophet Jeremiah. It is spoken as calamity comes upon Judah. Jeremiah had warned them that the consequences of their injustice, their false worship, and their indifference to the blessings of God would be very grave. Seeing this in the light of the Gospel for today: the seeds that God had sown in Judah had not been cared for, and the weeds were taking over. Jeremiah was living in the midst of this tribulation and he offered, on behalf of his people, a prayer of repentance; a prayer for mercy.
Blessed Maria Teresa Kowalska (b. 1902) did the same as she suffered and died from sickness in a Nazi concentration camp in Dzialdowo, Poland. She endured the calamity of the Nazi invasion of Poland with grace. As a young girl she lived a “pious and exemplary life,” receiving full initiation into the Catholic faith at the age of eighteen. On the contrary, her father was a devout atheist. Moved by his socialist ideals, he decided to emigrate with the family to the Soviet Union in 1922. Maria Teresa, on the other hand, entered a Poor Clare Monastery in Poland. Her diary tells stories of her choosing “the difficult, enclosed life of the Capuchin Poor Clares in order to serve God and to offer herself in expiation for the sins of her family that had allied itself with communism.” After many years in the monastery, on 2 April 1941, she and 35 nuns were take to Dzialdowo. She died there on 25 July 1941. Sister Maria Teresa Kowalska offered her life for the sins of her family, and for the grace of release for her Sisters in the concentration camp. God heard her prayers. The Sisters were released on 7 August, 1941.
The great faith and confidence in the Lord of Blessed Solanus also won countless answers to prayer. While Maria Teresa’s personal suffering reaped the graces of freedom for her sisters, the mission of Blessed Solanus was to accompany others in their suffering, truly living the exhortation of St. Paul to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:8). Fr. Solanus would accompany people in their darkest situations. His prayers bore the fruit of radical conversions, miraculous healings, and countless favors from God. Through his charism of intercessory prayer and his expectant faith that would always “thank God ahead of time,” God planted new seeds of faith into His suffering faithful.
Today let us pray for the charisms of intercessory prayer and encouragement, that through simple faith we as individuals and communities can open the doors of our hearts to the suffering of others, especially those who are from different races and cultures.
O God, I adore You. I give myself to You.
May I be the person You want me to be,
and may Your will be done in my life today.
I thank You for the gifts You gave Father Solanus.
If it is Your will, bless us with the Canonization of
Father Solanus so that others may imitate
and carry on his love for all the poor and suffering of our world.
As he joyfully accepted Your divine plans,
I ask You, according to Your will,
to hear my prayer for…(your intention)
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Blessed be God in all His designs.”