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Bishop and Martyr, St. Stanislaus of Cracow
St. Thomas' Saints Alive ^ | not given | Father Robert F. McNamara

Posted on 04/11/2005 8:10:18 AM PDT by Salvation



 Bishop and  Martyr St. Stanislaus of Cracow
     Poland has given us two saints named Stanislaus. Of these, the better known is the young Jesuit saint, Stanislaus Kostka (1550-1586). But in Poland itself Bishop St. Stanislaus is a national hero. He headed the diocese of Cracow, a predecessor of Pope John Paul II.
     The family name of Cracow's Stanislaus was Szczepanowski. His parents were devout members of the nobility. They had been childless, but God finally rewarded their prayers for a family by sending them Stanislaus. From his birth onward, the grateful parents prepared him for the service of God. He was educated for the priesthood at Gnesen, in Poland, and perhaps also at Paris. Once ordained a priest of the Cracow diocese, Father Stanislaus won increasing fame as a preacher and spiritual director. His instruction and good example produced a body of persons, lay and clerical, who were outstanding for their Christian virtue. Therefore, when Bishop Lampert Zula died in 1072, the Catholics of Cracow agreed that Stanislaus should succeed him. Pope Alexander II concurred.
     In those days, the king of Poland was Boleslaus II (1058-1080). Boleslaus was a man of ability, but he had grave flaws in character that eventually impaired his rule. At length, some of the chief Polish leaders, including Bishop Stanislaus and the King's own brother, Prince Ladislaus, withstood him. The traditional life story of the Bishop says that when Boleslaus kidnapped the unwilling wife of a nobleman for his own pleasure, Stanislaus rebuked him, threatening excommunication. The King retaliated cruelly by killing the Bishop.
     More recent historians say, however, that Stanislaus played an active role in a plot of the Polish leaders to remove their oppressive monarch from office. Learning of the plot, Boleslaus accused Stanislaus of treason and ordered that he be chopped to death, limb by limb.
     Boleslaus was certainly responsible for the Bishop's death - he himself slew him in the Church of St. Michael, Cracow. But since the King's motives for the slaying might have been more political than theological, some have questioned whether the saintly bishop should be referred to as a martyr, which has hitherto been the practice. This is a technical matter.
     A century after the brutal slaying of the Bishop of Cracow, Henry II, King of England, would incur responsibility for the execution of an equally forthright English bishop, St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury. In both the Polish and English cases, the victim won canonization, and the monarch had to eat humble pie. In Poland, Boleslaus faced such nationwide opposition that, after killing Stanislaus, he fled to Hungary, never to return; and his brother Ladislaus succeeded him. Stanislaus was hailed not only as a saint but as a national hero. In 1088 his body was enshrined in the Cathedral Church of Cracow, and in 1253 Pope Innocent IV named him to the honors of the altar. Ever since then, the Polish people have found inspiration in his heroic example whenever they have been imposed upon by rulers hostile to their nation's civil and religious rights.
     Fortunately for Boleslaus, he profited by his own humiliation. Taking up residence in the Hungarian Benedictine abbey of Osiak, he spent the rest of his life making amends for his sins. An eleventh-century list of saints and martyrs venerated by the Polish Benedictine monks even lists him as a near-saint: “Blessed Boleslaus, King and penitent.” Here was a wonderful exemplification of Christ's parable of the Good Shepherd. Jesus has not hesitated to leave the 99 sheep - St. Stanislaus of Cracow among them - to seek out and bring back in triumph Boleslaus the stray!
     --Father Robert F. McNamara

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KEYWORDS: bishop; cracow; martyr; patron; poland; ststanislaus
St. Stanislaus of Cracow -- Memorial April 11th
1 posted on 04/11/2005 8:10:19 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: All
Saint Stanislaus of Cracow
b.1030 d.1079  Feastday: April 11












Snislaus of Cracow
b.1030 d.1079  Feastday: April 11

This Statue is located in a niche above the old server sacristy (now the archive office) door next to the main altar. This Statue was placed in its niche sometime in 1918 by Daprato Statuary Company who also crafted this statue.

St Stanislaus was born June 26, 1030 at Szsepanow in the diocese of Crakow, Poland. He studied in Gniezno and possibly Paris, France, where he studied canon law and theology. Out of humility, he refused the degree of doctor and returned home. On the death of his parents, Stanislaw gave away his ample fortune, to the poor, and received the priesthood from the Bishop of Cracow. He was a parish priest in Czembocz. In 1072, he was the Bishop of Cracow. After his conflicts with King Boleslaw II of Poland and his pagan ways, Stanislaus was condemned as a traitor on April 11, 1079, and died by the hand of Boleslaw at the altar during mass in St. Michael's church outside the gates of Cracow. His body was initially at Skalka church in Cracow, but in 1088 it was transferred to Wawel Cathedral.

St. Stanislaus reproached King Boleslaw for his immoral way of life, since it was his practice to have mothers suckle dogs instead of their children as a punishment for crimes against their husbands. This punishment was mainly for wives of his soldiers who had cheated on their husbands while they were away on campaigns. Boleslaw Smialy ("the Bold") (1040-1081) ordered the unfaithful wives to breastfeed young puppies, while children born of their illegitimate liasons were to be fed by bitches.

St. Stanislaus was reputed to have raised Piotowin from the dead, who appeared as a witness before the king over the rightful acquisition of a piece of church land. Stanislaus' body was cut up over a pond and a fish swallowed his finger. Boleslaw was excommunicated and expelled from the church by Pope Gregory VIII because of Stanislaus' condemnation of his practices.

Stanislaus is the national saint of Poland, and patron saint of the archbishops of Cracow.


2 posted on 04/11/2005 8:11:50 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From a Polish website:Saint Stanislas de Cracovie

Évêque de Cracovie, Martyr

3 posted on 04/11/2005 8:13:43 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Interesting read. Thanks

We recently lost great Grandpa Stan who was a member of the Polish Falcons for decades.

Spitting image of Pope John Paul II as well . . .

4 posted on 04/11/2005 8:15:28 AM PDT by Kryptonite
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To: Kryptonite
American Cathlic's Saint of the Day

April 11, 2005
St. Stanislaus

Anyone who reads the history of Eastern Europe cannot help but chance on the name of Stanislaus, the saintly but tragic bishop of Kraków, patron of Poland. He is remembered with Saints Thomas More and Thomas Becket for vigorous opposition to the evils of an unjust government.

Born in Szczepanow near Kraków on July 26, 1030, he was ordained a priest after being educated in the cathedral schools of Gniezno, then capital of Poland, and at Paris. He was appointed preacher and archdeacon to the bishop of Kraków, where his eloquence and example brought about real conversion in many of his penitents, both clergy and laity. He became bishop of Kraków in 1072.

During an expedition against the Grand Duchy of Kiev, Stanislaus became involved in the political situation of Poland. Known for his outspokenness, he aimed his attacks at the evils of the peasantry and the king, especially the unjust wars and immoral acts of King Boleslaus II.

The king first excused himself, then made a show of penance, then relapsed into his old ways. Stanislaus continued his open opposition in spite of charges of treason and threats of death, finally excommunicating the king. The latter, enraged, ordered soldiers to kill the bishop. When they refused, the king killed him with his own hands.

Forced to flee to Hungary, Boleslaus supposedly spent the rest of his life as a penitent in the Benedictine abbey in Osiak.


John the Baptist, Thomas Becket, Thomas More and Stanislaus are a few of the prophets who dared to denounce corruption in high places. They follow in the footsteps of Jesus himself, who pointed out the moral corruption in the religious leadership of his day. It is a risky business: "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone..." (John 8:7b).


"Men desire authority for its own sake that they may bear a rule, command and control other men, and live uncommanded and uncontrolled themselves" (St. Thomas More, A Dialogue of Comfort).

5 posted on 04/11/2005 8:18:01 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Kryptonite

Sorry about the loss of your great grandfather.

Sounds as though he were one to be reckoned with!

6 posted on 04/11/2005 8:19:04 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I wish I had a photo to show you. He looked exactly like the Pope!

And yes, he was a very strong man, spiritually and physically.

Thanks again.

7 posted on 04/11/2005 10:18:20 AM PDT by Kryptonite
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To: All
St. Stanislaus

Spiritual Bouquet: If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. St. John 7:37St. Stanislaus of Cracow

Bishop of Cracow, Martyr

Saint Stanislaus was born in answer to prayer, when his parents were advanced in age. Out of gratitude they educated him for the Church. When his parents died, he sold their vast properties and gave the price to the poor. He was ordained, and being a holy priest, soon afterwards became a Canon of the Cracow cathedral.

It was necessary to have recourse to the Pope to have him accept the see of Cracow when it became vacant. But the bishop of Cracow’s virtues increased with his dignity and obligations; Saint Stanislaus donned a hair shirt, which he wore until he died. He had a list drawn up of every poor person of the city, and gave orders to his servants never to refuse anything to anyone.

Boleslaus II was at that time King of Poland; he was a prince of good disposition, but spoilt by a long series of victories and successes. After many acts of lust and cruelty, he outraged the whole kingdom by carrying off the wife of one of his nobles. Against this public scandal the chaste and gentle bishop alone raised his voice. Having commended the matter to God, he went to the palace and openly rebuked the king for his crime against God and his subjects, and threatened to excommunicate him if he persisted in his sin. Boleslaus, with the intention of irrevocably ruining the bishop’s good reputation, suborned the nephews of a man named Paul who had recently died, to swear that their uncle had never been paid for land which the bishop had bought for the Church. Saint Stanislaus stood fearlessly before the king’s tribunal, though all his frightened witnesses forsook him, and guaranteed to bring the dead man to witness in his favor within three days.

On the third day, after many prayers and tears, he raised the dead man to life and led him in his grave-clothes before the king, where Paul testified that the bishop had reimbursed him fully for the terrain he had sold. He was then taken back to the grave, where he lay down and again relapsed into his former state, before a large number of witnesses.

Boleslaus for a while made a show of a better life. Soon, however, he returned to the most scandalous excesses, and the bishop, finding all remonstrance useless, pronounced the sentence of excommunication. In defiance of the censure, on May 8, 1079, the king went to a chapel where Saint Stanislaus was saying Mass and commanded three groups of soldiers in succession to slay him at the altar. Each in turn came out, saying he had been alarmed by a light from heaven. At this the king himself rushed in and slew with his own hand the Saint at the altar during the Holy Sacrifice.

The Pope placed the kingdom of Poland under interdict, excommunicated the king and declared his royalty null and void. Boleslaus repented, took refuge in another country for a time, then set out dressed as a pilgrim for Rome. On the way he knocked on a monastery door to ask for an alms, then decided to enter there anonymously, and was received. He spent seven years there as a Benedictine lay brother, rendering every humble service to the monks, patiently bearing rude treatment. Only on his deathbed did he identify himself, taking out his royal ring which he had concealed until then. He had spent hours praying before a statue of Our Lady in the chapel, by which we may conclude that the Mother of God had obtained for him the grace of conversion and a happy death. His body remains in the church of the same monastery of Ossiach.

Saint Stanislaus was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1253.

8 posted on 04/11/2008 10:36:58 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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