Friday, November 9, 2007

Fr. Ciszek

Fr. Ciszek was a Jesuit priest from Pennsylvania who spent 23 years as a prisoner in Russia. According to a friend of Fr. Ciszek's:
Born in Shenandoah, Penn., in 1904, Fr. Ciszek is the only American Jesuit who responded to Pius XI's call to return alive from the Soviet Union. He was imprisoned there for nearly 23 years -- five years in the infamous Lubianka prison in Moscow and 10 years in the northernmost gulag archipelago in Siberia. An additional eight years found Fr. Ciszek restricted by the atheist Communists to the cities of Norilsk, Dudinka, Kras­noyarsk, and Abakan. Fr. Ciszek's journey may be read in his two books With God in Russia and He Leadeth Me; the former details his earthly journey and the latter his spiritual journey. The travels of Fr. Ciszek are, in themselves, the story of what one man did to assist thousands of Russian Orthodox in their darkest hours. Twelve years after Fr. Ciszek's death in 1984, the papers for his sainthood were delivered to Rome. His papers were prepared at the University of Scranton and the Byzantine Carmelite monasteries in Sugarloaf and Shenandoah. I had the honor of hosting Fr. Ciszek on a 30-lecture tour in southern California in 1964, two years after President John F. Kennedy exchanged a Soviet spy for Fr. Ciszek. It became readily apparent why the cause for his sainthood has advanced to Rome.

And from Chronicles, an article on "Red October."
Up to a quarter of the world’s six-and-a-half billion people live under regimes that claim to be inspired by what happened in St. Petersburg on this day nine decades ago, but there is no true zeal in their rulers’ rhetoric and no fire in their hearts.


Anonymous said...

Elena, the story of Fr. Ciszek is amazing. It is indeed a miracle that he survived and that he came back! Thank you for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Father Walter Ciszek's story is something truly amazing. His book With God in Russia is like an adventure novel but his heroic tale actually happened! I had to put the book down halfway through becuase reading about his time in Lubianka prison was so dark. I eventually picked it back up and was so very glad I did. I read his spiritual journey, He Leadeth Me, a memoir in which we understand how this saintly man relied soley upon Divine Will to make a difference each day of his imprisoned life. HIs tetstimony is so very inspiring and is even such an important message relevant to all of us here today in our crazy, crazy mixed up world.

I didn't mean to write so much! Thanks for mentioning him. God reward you!

elena maria vidal said...

You are welcome, Paula!

Lisa, write as much as you want, dear!

Anonymous said...

Elena, I have linked your post.:-)

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Paula!