Marian Helper Spring 2023

As a child, I collected baseball cards. I especially wanted to find the cards of my favorite players. As an avid fan, I knew the statistics of those players very well, and I could verify what I knew on the back of the cards. In this issue, St. Stanislaus Papczyński is depicted as one of our favorite Marian “team players.” But we can easily ask, “Who was St. Stanislaus?” He founded the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception more than 350 years ago. However, for most of that history, even the Marian fathers and brothers would have had a hard time answering that question. Why? Saint Stanislaus lived in the 17th century. For a long time, we only had a vague idea of what he looked like. Most of his writings were in Latin. Accurate translations of his writings have only become widely available in the last 20 years, in the 21st century! So generations of Marians were not familiar with his writings. Turbulent past Our Congregation has a very particular history. From the time of our founding in 1670 on, Poland and other parts of Europe were torn apart by centuries of wars, plagues, persecutions, and other types of sufferings. Often, people were just trying to survive. This left little time to accurately do historical research on figures from past centuries. To many, St. Stanislaus seemed like an abstract, distant figure. Some even doubted his sanctity. So how did things change? The process of St. Stanislaus’ beatification resumed in the 20th century. Prior to his beatification in 2007, his remains were exhumed. It was shocking to discover that his skeleton was almost completely intact after more than three centuries. His body wasn’t incorrupt, but the integrity of his skeleton did seem to be a sign from Heaven that this was a holy man. Forensic studies allowed us to discover what St. Stanislaus looked like, and the portraits that we have of him now allow us to see a warm human being, a father figure who loves his spiritual children. As we have grown more familiar with St. Stanislaus by reading his writings and discovering what a powerful intercessor he is, we Marians and many of our Marian Helpers By the Very Rev. Joseph Roesch, MIC A blacksmith’s son is our founding saint Saint Stanislaus Papczyński 12 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 •