Thursday, 30 August 2012

Saint Stanisław Kostka s.j.

Icon, Saint Stanisław Kostka s.j., by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
[the Saint is shown receiving the Child Jesus from the hands of Our Lady]

Saint Stanisław Kostka s.j. (28 October 1550– 15 August 1568) was a Polish novice of the Society of Jesus. He was born at Rostkowo, Przasnysz County, Poland, on 28 October 1550; died at Rome during the night of 14–15 August 1568. He entered the Society of Jesus in Rome on his 17th birthday (28 October 1567), and is said to have foretold his death a few days before it occurred.

His father, Jan (John) Kostka, was a senator of the Kingdom of Poland and Lord of Zakroczym; his mother was Małgorzata Kryska from Drobni (Margaret de Drobniy Kryska), the sister and niece of the voivodes of Masovia and the aunt of the celebrated Chancellor of Poland, Feliks Kryski (Szczęsny Kryski).

When Stanisław made the decision at age 17 to enter the Jesuit novitiate, he realized that he could not enter in Poland or even in Vienna where he had gone to study with his older brother, Paweł, as his powerful family would forbid it and simply remove him --they had plans for his life and those did not include being a Jesuit! Thus, he made the decision to flee to Rome and enter the novitiate there. The only way he could get there without raising suspicion was to travel on foot dressed as a mendicant.

After lengthy layovers along the way, he finally arrived in Rome in October of 1567. There he was finally able to enter the Jesuit novitiate. Little did anyone, other than St. Stanisław himself, realize that 10 months later he would be dead. During these ten remaining months, according the testimony of the master of novices, Father Giulio Fazio, "he was a model and mirror of religious perfection. Notwithstanding his very delicate constitution he did not spare himself the slightest penance."

On the eve of the Feast of Saint Lawrence, Stanisław felt a mortal weakness made worse by a high fever, and clearly saw that his last hour had come. He wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin begging her to call him to Heaven there to celebrate with her the glorious anniversary of her Assumption. His confidence in the Blessed Virgin, which had already brought him many signal favours, was this time again rewarded; on 15 August, towards four in the morning, while he was rapt in pious utterances to God, to the saints, and to the Virgin Mary, he died. The entire city proclaimed him a saint and people hastened from all parts to venerate his remains.

St. Stanisław is a popular saint of Poland and many religious institutions have chosen him as the protector of their novitiates. The representations of him in art are very varied; he is sometimes depicted receiving Holy Communion from the hands of angels; sometimes receiving the Infant Jesus from the hands of the Virgin; or he is shown in the midst of a battle putting to flight the enemies of his country.

St. Stanisław Kostka, please pray for us.


Braden, Sweet Braden

Braden's mother has kindly and generously sent me a number of excellent photos during the past four days.  I will limit myself to just a few of my favourites or else I will have to change the name of the blog to something like "Photos of Braden"!  Enough of this... let's get to the good stuff -- new photos of this sweet boy.
"Oh, goody, mom says it is time for me to get dressed now.  That means I get to take all my clothes off!  I love getting naked!!"

"Can you believe this physique?  No wonder the ladies all make such a fuss over me!"

" 'Large and in Charge' that's me.  I think I look really good in red, don't you?  And how about those socks?  I am so colour co-ordinated.  My mom is really good at that kind of stuff."

"Hey, I thought I was the Man -- I mean just read what my shirt says -- see, 'Large and in Charge'.  What am I doing back in my bouncy bed?  What does mom think I am, some kind of baby or something?"

"Well, here I am some hours later.  As you can see it's my bedtime.  My dad came home from work and and now he is reading me a bedtime story.  My mom and dad are the absolute best."



"Who?  Me?  I was no where near that glass
of water!  I swear it!"
I never thought I would be mopping the floor at 4:57 a.m., but then, I never had a Suki-cat in my life before, did I?  Let me explain...

Two nights ago I was sleeping soundly.  Had I been awake, I would have seen that the clock was inching towards 5 a.m.  I did not see this, of course, because as I said I was sound asleep.  However, there was someone in my home that was not asleep -- someone who felt it was time to have breakfast -- someone who had probably been meowing, trying to get my attention, only to find that I slept through it all!  This someone, of course, was Suki.

Well, since I wouldn't wake up, I guess she decided that she should entertain herself by playing.  Not surprisingly, the thing she decided to play with was right beside my head -- my regular glass of water sitting on top of a folded paper towel on my night stand.  The paper towel was hanging over the edge just a bit and, truth be told, Suki has shown a liking in the past for playing with paper products.  At any rate, I was awakened by this strange sound of rustling paper next to my head.  I was awakened by the noise (I have extremely good hearing still unfortunately) just in time to see a black paw come up and grab at the edge of the paper towel, hooking a claw into it and then pulling.  In some kind of strange slow motion, I watched the paper towel move with the glass of water into the air and then falling, falling all over the floor beside my bed!  Suddenly, as I yelled "SUKI" everything returned to real time.  I heard Suki scrambling out of the bedroom as the plastic glass bounced on the floor.

Like it or not, there was nothing to do but get up, get out the mop and paper towels and clean up the mess.  I comforted myself by thinking that my floor was getting an extra washing which strangely enough pleased me.  Suki meanwhile came out from hiding to investigate what was going on.  When all was cleaned and back in order, I very politely told Suki that there was no way I was feeding her now and, in fact, I was going back to bed and if she made any more messes, she could clean them up herself (I knew that last part was just an idle threat).  Anyway, much to her dismay I did just that.  I went back to bed, slept all of about 20 minutes more, got up and fed the cat!  Can you believe it.

So, Suki is fine and up to her usual tricks.  I am obviously fine as I am able to clean up a glass of water from the floor at 5 a.m.  See, all that exercise at the gym is really making a difference!

Actually, I have continued to have a number of visitors recently including some children and babies.  I have enjoyed these visits very much.  In fact I would like to share a photo with you from one of those recent visits.  This was the visit I was telling you about in the previous posting -- the couple that I had taken through marriage preparation and who now have two children.
The lady making the funny face is me!

By the way, Suki was close by at this time watching me and the children using her chair.  She was not amused but had no choice except to tolerate it.

Anyway, I had an enjoyable visit with my friends and their children.  They call me Tita Sallie (Tita means "auntie" in Tagalog).

So, as I said earlier, I am doing well and looking forward to a quiet weekend.  Hopefully the construction crews will take a few days off so that I don't have to listen to "beep, beep, beep, beep, beep" as those big trucks back up over and over again. 
What I should say, of course, is "whatever the Lord gives is OK with me... He always knows best."

May each and every one of you be filled with the joy and peace of God.  Please stay safe this long holiday weekend and if something is troubling you, why not ask St. Stanisław Kostka to pray for you? 

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