Marian Helper Spring 2023

Much has been written (and rightly so!) about the Founder of the Marians, St. Stanislaus Papczyński. But do you know the story about his eighth successor as Superior General, Venerable Servant of God Casimir Wyszyński (1700-1755)? During his two terms in office (1737-41 and 174750), Fr. Casimir helped the Marians grow in merit, number, and geographic reach, accepting candidates to the Order from all over Europe. In fact, in 1753, he went to Portugal and founded the first Marian monastery in that country at Balsamao. Even today, Portuguese Catholics call him “Santo Polacco,” the Holy Pole. Originally hailing from Jeziora Wielka near Warsaw, Poland, Fr. Casimir was known for his sanctity during his lifetime and has gained a reputation for being a powerful intercessor since his death. His cause for sainthood has been opened. Zealous religious “Father Casimir was a very zealous religious who deeply loved his Order, its Founder, and its charisms,” notes Br. Andrew Mączyński, MIC, vice postulator in North America and Asia for Marian causes of canonization. “He was also a protector of the underprivileged, especially peasants abused by the clergy and upper-class people. He sent a petition to the pope asking for the special protection of those people by the Church.” Born in 1700, the year before St. Stanislaus died, and given the baptismal name “Januarius Francis,” the future Marian started his life as a layman, becoming a civil servant and setting himself on track for secular success. But he was also a man of deep faith. He joined the Marians under unusual circumstances. His brother, Joseph, was a Marian novice. But when Joseph joined a campaign to relax religious discipline within the Congregation and sided with a group seeking to disband the Order entirely, Januarius Wyszyński felt great remorse — and leapt into action. He asked to be admitted to the Marians, saying, “I want to make up for what my brother ruined; I ask you for the habit.” He was admitted and took the name “Casimir of St. Joseph.” Evangelical perfection From the very beginning of his religious life, Fr. Casimir distinguished himself in his zeal for evangelical perfection. During his time as general superior, he made a number of visits to the different houses of the order. In one letter announcing a visitation, dated June 1, 1739, he gave a beautiful summation of the essence of Catholic life: From the Marians whom I intend to visit I am anxious to learn whether love of God and neighbor is practiced in your life. God is loved when His commandments are kept and the Rules of our Holy Institute are observed, when sinful desires are curbed, avoiding those things By Chris Sparks All hail the ‘Holy Pole’ 14 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Venerable Servant of God Fr. Casimir Wyszyński