Monday, April 11, 2011

St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr

written by Mary Katherine Laird

St. Stanislaus (Stanisław; Stanislaus Szczepanowsky) was born in 1030 to Belislaus and Bogna, members of the Polish nobility in Szczepanowski, in the diocese of  Kraków, Poland. He was trained as a devout Catholic and educated at Gnesen, Poland, and possibly in Paris, France.  When his wealthy parents died, he distributed his lavish inheritance on the destitute. Stanislaus was ordained a priest by Lambert Zula, Bishop of Kraków, who made him pastor of Czembocz near Kraków. He also served as canon and preacher at the cathedral and later as vicar-general.  After the death of Lambert, Stanislaus became a rather reluctant bishop of Kraków, accepting the appointment after being explicitly commanded to by Pope Alexander II in 1072.  The bishop became known for his preaching against corrupt living, regardless of the sinner's class, regardless of consequences.   Bolesław II (Bolesław the Cruel) had become King of Poland, and proceeded to earn a reputation for his horrific brutality and uncontrolled lust. The bishop had several serious disputes with the king about a piece of land belonging to the Church which was unlawfully claimed by Bolesław, and about some nobles who were being cruelly treated by the king. Stanislaus spared nothing to bring the malevolent king to lead a more Christian life—but it was all in vain.  Bolesław was excommunicated; the canons of the cathedral were given orders to suspend the Divine Offices in case the king should attempt to enter. Stanislaus went to the Chapel of St. Michael in a suburb of Kraków. The king was enraged and pursued the bishop with his guards. On April 11, 1079, Bolesław himself slew Stanislaus while he was celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Reaction against Bolesław was so great that he fled the country, never to return.  The body was at first buried in the chapel, but in 1088 it was transferred to the cathedral by Bishop Lambert II. St. Stanislaus was canonized 1253 by Innocent IV at Assisi.   He was the first Pole to be canonized.

11 April
formerly 7 May in the Roman Martyrology
8 May (in  Kraków )27 September (translation of relics)


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