Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bl. Julia Rodzińska, OP, Martyr

From Catholic Saints Guy:
Sister and some others had to go live with some local Vincentian Sisters (their order was founded by St. Vincent de Paul). Furthermore she was now effectively unemployed. She sought out odd jobs with local Polish families, but this coincided with the Nazi occupation, and many of these homes were destitute.

Making matters worse, the Nazis largely forced the Church underground. Gaining access to the sacraments became increasingly difficult. Monks, bishops, priests, and Sisters were arrested. Many were either executed outright or sent to a slow death in concentration camps. Retired priests found their pension from the local diocese cut off.

Furthermore, after conquering Poland, the Nazis had made teaching Polish culture illegal, so the community’s traditions and foundation were in jeopardy.

Thus it was with great courage and using the skills she had learned over the years, Sister went around secretly teaching children and youth the Polish language, history, and religion. She also conducted humanitarian activities by getting food for destitute retired priests and arranging for lay families to take in these men.

In July 1943, however, on charges of political activities and aiding Polish partisans, the Gestapo arrested and imprisoned her in Lukiškės Prison in central Vilnius, the site of many mass executions of Poles during WWII. There she was placed in solitary confinement in what amounted to a pitch black, cold, damp, cement closet. The air supply was insufficient, and she got cramps because she had no room to fully stretch her limbs. This went on for a year, and she received much harsher treatment than others in her cell block. (Read more.)

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