Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 9 April – Blessed Celestyna Faron IHM (1913 – 1942) Virgin Martyr

Saint of the Day – 9 April – Blessed Celestyna Faron IHM (1913 – 1942) Virgin Martyr, Religious Sister of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Conception, Teacher, Catechist – Born as Katarzyna Stanisława Faron on 24 April 1913 in Zabrzez, Malopolskie, Poland and died on Easter morning, 9 April 1944 in Auschwitz concentration camp, Oswiecim, Malopolskie, Nazi-occupied Poland.   Patronage – Podhale, celestyna

Katarzyna Faron’s early life was filled with sadness and loss as she lost her mother, Maria (née Madoń) when she was five.   Her father, Jozef, sent her to childless relatives living in the town of Kamienica to be educated.   The new carers loved her like their own child and, like her parents, taught to love God and all his children … As a teenage girl she developed a vocation to the religious life.

It was in 1930 that she entered the Congregation of the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate, taking the Name Sr Celestyna Faron and made her final profession eight years later.   She was encouraged to train as a teacher and developed a particular love for the younger children.   Because of her own difficult and traumatic experiences in early life, Katarzyna cared greatly for those who had lost her parents.   During the occupation of Poland she was the local superior of a religious house and oversaw the running of an orphanage.

As with Blessed Bronislaw Koskowski (the Founder of her Order), the Gestapo arrived one day and searched the orphanage.   Katarzyna was arrested and charged with conspiracy.   After imprisonment in two camps she was transported to Auschwitz where she received camp number 27989, with which she was tattooed, using a metal stamp dipped in ink, into which interchangeable plates with needles were inserted, forming separate numbers.   She also received a camp outfit – called a striped uniform – with a red triangle sewn in, with the letter ” P ” ( Ger. ” polnisch ‘) to designate a political prisoner, a Pole …bl katarzyna celestyna faron artwork header

The Germans drove her to work immediately – she was digging in trenches, standing – almost always hungry, cold – ankle-deep in icy water …. Weakened by this physical labour, she developed tuberculosis and typhoid.

Already in April 1943, with typhus, dulled hearing and pressure sores, the opened wound of a previous appendectomy operation, Sr Celestyna was moved to block 24 – the so-called ” Camp hospita, ” a separate barrack, where the sick were detained, without providing them with medical assistance (although doctors-prisoners did what they could).   Terrible hygiene conditions ( fleas , bed bugs , rat plague), hunger, fever, lack of water caused additional pain.   Despite this, she modestly shared the contents of the parcels received from the superiors of the Congregation with her companions.  Before Christmas 1943, on the patronal feast of the Congregation, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sr Celestyna received her last Communion. – smuggled in by one of the priests who came with the transport of prisoners to Auschwitz …

Only prayer remained.   She prayed intensely for various intentions on her inseparable rosary made of bread.   The Germans could not take away the internal badges of belonging to the Church and the Congregation …bl celestyna faron

Despite suffering and pain, she did not complain about her fate.   She was at peace with everything that happened to her.   Co-sister and fellow prisoner, Sister Cyprian Michalina Babiak (born in 1907, Brandwica), camp number 50184, recalled:  “Although she wanted the end of the war and freedom, she never showed regret that she got there.”  She said:  ” Jesus sent us here to compensate for the sins of the whole world .”   “We prayed for our homeland, for our monastery, for priests, for the conversion of sinners, for persecutors – also for Hitler – for his repentance “…

Another fellow inmate, a teacher from Kielce, Janina Komenda (1889, Kazan – 1968) , camp number: 27233, author of memories from Auschwitz: ” Lager Brzezinka “ last published in 1986, testified:   ” Sr Celestyna was the epitome of gentleness, patience and kindness, extremely … (unknown word) content with everything that happened to her. Despite great suffering, she even managed to humour and cheerfulness.   Initially unknown to anyone, she soon became widely liked. […]   Despite her state of health, she was constantly interested in her surroundings, coming to the aid of those in need of food or words of encouragement . “

She did not leave the Camp Hospital until her death on Easter Sunday in 1944.   Her fellow inmates, dressed Sr Celestyna in a white silk shirt and covered her with a sheet.   A rosary and a cross were placed next to it and two candles obtained from somewhere were lit.   Because the Germans took a break – in connection with Easter – the body of Sr Celestyna stayed in the barrack.   The prisoners prayed alongside her corpse all day.   Even prisoners from other blocks gathered there, taking advantage of the absence of the Germans …   Already then, her fellow inmates called her, this ordinary Polish handmaid, this little immaculate lamb: ” Saint Sister “bl katarzyna celestyna faron

Blessed Celestyna provides a wonderful model for those who have experienced a traumatic childhood.   Despite a difficult start in life she achieved a great deal and cared for the most vulnerable.   Her invincible faith brought her through her early life and sustained her throughout her final suffering.

Sister Celestyna Faron was Beatified by St Pope John Paul II in Warsaw on 13 June 1999 in the group of 108 Polish martyrs who are celebrated on 12 June.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of courage and perseverance in love which You granted to Blessed Katherine Celestyna, who amidst tortures, hunger and debasement in the concentration camp, persevered under the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, remaining faithful to the Christian and religious vocation unto martyrdom.

Through her intercession, grant me the grace of ………..… which I humbly implore, through our Lord Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Our Father…

Hail Mary…

Glory be to the Father…bl katarzyna celestyna faron footer

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