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Biography of St. Stanisław Kazimierczyk

During the first years of his priesthood, Saint Stanisław Kazimierczyk worked in the scriptorium and taught younger, less educated confreres. It quickly turned out that Stanisław Sołtys, called “Kazimierczyk,” in honor of his place of birth and residence, had a great gift of reaching the hearts of the listeners with words. His sermons or lectures given to younger religious confreres were able to inspire them to follow the path of virtue and piety. Stanisław was aware that – as the ancient saying goes – “words teach, examples attract” and he tried not only to instruct the pupils, but above all, with his own example, to encourage them to persevere in goodness. Everyone who met him was captivated by his humility and sweetness. In his pursuit of holiness, the future saint was not afraid of self-denial. (…)

He also mortified himself in other ways. He slept briefly, on the bare ground, in a hairline. Upon awakening, he either visited his sick confreres or said the entire Psalter. Often, like the great saints, he scourged himself. In this way, he wished to obtain correction and conversion for sinners. He willingly studied the Scriptures and ascetic works. He regularly made confession and Holy Communion, drawing from them the strength for work and asceticism.

 

On September 27, 1433, Jadwiga, the wife of Maciej Sołtys, councilor of the city of Kazimierz, situated at the foot of the Wawel Castle (now a district of Krakow), gave birth to a long-awaited firstborn child – a boy. It was a dream come true and long prayers of her parents – Jadwiga Sołtysowa was no longer a young woman. On the day of the child’s birth, the Church celebrated the transfer of the body of St. Stanislaus the Bishop, and that is why he was given the name at baptism of this patron of Poland.

The village leaders, who belonged to the city’s elite, raised their son very carefully. When he grew older, they enrolled him in a school operating at the Convent of Regular Lateran Canons in his hometown of Kazimierz. Stanisław showed outstanding abilities and a love of learning, so his parents did not spare any funds to enable him to continue his education at the Krakow Academy. He completed his studies after obtaining the title, entitling him to lecture in philosophy and theology.

Along with his physical and intellectual growth, Stanisław Sołtys also developed spiritually. The piety that he gained from his family home – his mother was especially famous for his godliness – he nurtured and developed. Gradually, a religious vocation was awakening in him. He was most attracted to the spirituality of the Canons Regular, whose life and activities he had observed over the years as a student of the convent school. It was no wonder when, at the age of 23, he decided to enter the clergy, and he crossed the thresholds of the Kazimierz monastery at the Corpus Christi church to ask for admission to the canon community. The request was answered …

Words teach, examples attract

During his novitiate, Stanisław proved to be a diligent and hardworking monk. Regardless of his education and the social position of the family, he devoted himself not only to prayer, but also to cleaning and serving in the kitchen. He treated his other confreres, especially priests, with great respect. He put his whole heart into caring for the sick. After a year of novitiate, Stanisław was admitted to monastic vows, and shortly thereafter to the priesthood. He owed the shortening of the period of preparation for priestly ordination to the education he had acquired before joining the Regular Canons.

During the first years of his priesthood, he worked in the scriptorium and taught younger, less educated confreres. It quickly turned out that Stanisław Sołtys, called Kazimierczyk from his place of birth and residence, has a great gift of reaching the hearts of the listeners with words. His sermons or lectures given to younger religious confreres were able to inspire them to follow the path of virtue and piety. Stanisław was aware that – as the ancient saying goes – “words teach, examples attract,” and he tried not only to instruct the pupils, but above all, with his own example, to encourage them to persevere in goodness. Everyone who met him was captivated by his humility and sweetness. In his pursuit of holiness, the future saint was not afraid of self-denial. During Lent, he only ate on bread and water twice a week. The food he received from the monastery kitchen was distributed to the poor.

He also mortified himself in other ways. He slept briefly, on the bare ground, in a hairline. Upon awakening, he either visited his sick confreres or said the entire Psalter. Often, like the great saints, he scourged himself. In this way, he wished to obtain correction and conversion for sinners. He willingly studied the Scriptures and ascetic works. He regularly made confession and Holy Communion, drawing from them the strength for work and asceticism.

Aware of his merits, his superiors entrusted him with the office of preacher and confessor, and he was also a novice master and a deputy superior.

Apostle of Mary

Stanisław Kazimierczyk had a special devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary. He tried to kindle his love for the Mother of God in others as well. She rewarded him with ardent love and by appearing to him in the church on Skałka in the company of St. Stanisław from Szczepanów.

 

Kazimierczyk very conscientiously fulfilled his priestly duties. For the Holy Mass he prepared himself with great concentration. Often, while celebrating the Holy Sacrifice, tears ran down his cheeks. With great dedication he pastored among the faithful belonging to the Corpus Christi parish. After all, he grew up among them, he knew their advantages and disadvantages. So he was a good spiritual guardian and confessor for them. It is worth emphasizing that in his ministry he did not favor anyone; everyone, poor or rich, could count on his attention and help. No wonder that it was highly appreciated by the inhabitants of Kazimierz and the inhabitants of Kraków. Even during his lifetime, he was surrounded by an aura of holiness.

The news about the life and activities of this holy man also reached the royal court. When the Polish army was getting ready for the expedition against the Tatars ravaging the Polish-Lithuanian border, Prince Jan Olbracht decided to meet with St. Stanisław Kazimierczyk and ask for his blessing. Reassured by the meeting with the holy monk, he set off to the east. The expedition resulted in the pogrom of the Tatar homestead in the Battle of Kopystrzyn on Murachwa on September 8, 1487, i.e. on the Nativity of the Mother of God. 1,500 Gentiles died on the battlefield. Jan Olbracht attributed the success of his army in this battle and in subsequent, smaller clashes to the intercession of a monk from Kazimierz.

Get up and Hurry Son My Stanisław!

Stanisław Sołtys died in the monastery hospital on May 3, 1489. He was then 56 years old. Before leaving this world, the Risen Christ appeared to him in the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints. The Savior said to him: “Get up and hurry up, my son Stanisław! Today you will be with me in Eternal Glory.” Despite his exhaustion, Kazimierczyk stood up, blessed his brothers and, kneeling down with outstretched arms, immersed himself in prayer. He died in this position.

 

His body was buried in a separate grave in the presbytery of the Corpus Christi church. When this place became famous for its miracles, Stanisław’s remains were moved to a special sarcophagus, and in the first half of the 17th century, placed in a magnificent mausoleum.

On April 18, 1993, the Holy Father John Paul II nominated two Polish monks, Sr. Maria Angela Truszkowska, founder of the Congregation of the Felician Sisters, and Fr. Stanisław Kazimierczyk to be canonized.

We had to wait over 17 years for Stanisław’s canonization. On December 19, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree on the miracle through the intercession of Stanisław Kazimierczyk, which enabled his canonization on October 17, 2010.

The liturgical memorial of St. Stanisław Kazimierczyk is celebrated in the Church on May 5.

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