Saint of the Day – 3 May – Saint Stanislaw Kazimierczyk CRL (1433–1489) aged 55, Priest of the Canons Regular of the Lateran – Apostle of the Holy Eucharist and of the poor, of Confession, famed Preacher, ascetic, mystic. Born on 27 September as Stanisław (Louis) Sołtys and died on 3 May 1489 in Kazimierz, Lubelskie, Poland of natural causes. Patronage – of Preachers.
Stanisław Sołtys was born 27 September 1433 in Kraków to Maciej Sołtys and Jadwiga. His parents had long wanted a child and he was born on exactly the same date that the remains of Saint Stanisłaus (1030– 1079), Patron of Poland, were being moved. His parents were members of the Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament.
He received his education from the Canons Regular of the Lateran at their school, not far from his home, which was attached to their convent and to the local parish church of the Corpus Christi, that the order administered. He went onto receive doctorates in theological studies and in his philosophical studies from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1451.
The successful completion of his studies in 1456 saw him enter the Canons Regular of the Lateran and thus became a novice. He took the religious name of Stanisław Kazimierczyk after the patron of Poland.
He was ordained as a priest in 1456 and was then named as the vice-prior of the order despite being a new priest and not having experience. He was also made the novice master in charge of new candidates to the order. He dedicated himself to the care of the ill and the poor and was noted for the deep devotion of the Holy Mass. He developed a reputation for great spiritual insight as a confessor. It was his allure as a preacher and confessor that saw people seek him out to preach and hear their confessions. He preached in strong defence of the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Eucharist against the preachings of the Polish followers of John Wycliffe and Jan Hus. It was due to this, that he gained the title “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament”. Saint John Cantius (1390-1473) – a colleague of his at the Jagiellonian and a major scientist of the period, was a close friend of his.
He slept little and often slept on the ground more as a penitential act. On one occasion he went to visit the tomb of his patron when he saw the Mother of God with the Infant Jesus in her arms, Saint Stanisław and other saints were around her. He often delivered his sermons in German as well as his native Polish. King John I Albert once attributed an 8 September 1487 battle win against the Ottoman Empire to him.
He died on 3 May 1489 and immediately was acclaimed a saint by all who knew him and those to whom he ministered. He had fallen quite ill during Lent and requested anointing. He put his hands on his conferees’ heads to bless them and to bid them farewell and died with his hands upraised to entrust his soul to God.
The faithful referred to him often as “Blessed” despite the fact that he had not been beatified but was called this due to his great reputation for personal holiness – in the 1500s this title was recorded as being given. His remains were moved in 1632 after the priest Martin Kłoczyński commissioned a splendid altar in his honour to house the remains – a total of 176 purported miracles were reported to have taken place in the first year since his death.
The Canons Regular of the Lateran made several requests to the pope to seek beatification in 1773 but no cause was ever initiated . The Cardinal Archbishop of Kraków Karol Józef Wojtyła (the future St Pope John Paul II) asked the order, in 1971, to collect existing documents and evidence on the life of the late priest and set up a historical commission to aid them in this on 15 December 1972. The beatification process launched under Pope John Paul II on 14 October 1986 and the priest was titled as a Servant of God once the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS) issued the official nihil obstat to the cause. St John Paul II both named him as Venerable upon the confirmation of his heroic virtue and approved his longstanding “cultus” which allowed for the pope to preside over the Beatification on 18 June 1993 as a solemnisation of that “cultus”.
Pope Benedict XVI approved a miracle on 19 December 2009 and on 19 February 2010 confirmed the date for Canonisation. He Canonised him on 17 October 2010 in Saint Peter’s Square.