Marian Helper Spring 2024

such a difficult choice? The answer to this question lies in the state of the Ulmas’ family Bible. It was paged through, marked up, and underlined in many places. It had been read and prayed over, probably many times. For the Ulmas, the Word of God in Scripture was a foundation for how to comport themselves and build up their family. Fittingly, the passage that was emphasized with red underlining and a resounding “yes” written next to it was the story of the Good Samaritan (see Lk 10:25-37). The Word of God gave the Ulmas the strength to live their faith through corporal and spiritual works of mercy. They fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, and sheltered the homeless (corporal works). They comforted the sorrowful, bore wrongs patiently, and prayed (spiritual works). Józef and Wiktoria took the opportunity to teach their children how to truly live out their Christian faith, even in the most dire and dangerous circumstances. Martyrs like Christ Ultimately, the Ulmas experienced these radical demands of love. In the early morning of March 24, 1944, having been tipped off by a local, the Nazis entered the Ulmas’ home and executed the Jews, Józef, all their children, and Wiktoria, who was seven months pregnant at the time. During her execution, she began giving birth to her baby. Then the Nazis set fire to their home. In the 1990s, the Ulmas were recognized among 7,200 Poles as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, Israel’s World Holocaust Remembrance Center. The beatification of the Ulmas underscores the incredible graces we attain when we fully trust in and totally respond to God’s will for our lives. The family mimicked Mary’s own fiat when they said “yes” to hiding their Jewish brethren in their house, knowing the deadly cost. Saying yes to God’s will and trusting fully in its unfolding is one of the foundational principles of Divine Mercy. In St. Faustina’s mystical experiences of Jesus, He reminded her time and time again to trust in Him completely. When we trust in God and His plan for our lives, He uses us as instruments for the good of others. Jesus said to Faustina: “I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1074). There are many extraordinary stories of righteousness from Poland and all over the globe. From a Christian viewpoint, courage blossoms from the seeds of faith and trust in God that we plant in our hearts. In order for our faith to radiate to others, we must be beacons of God’s love and Divine Mercy. The Domestic Church Pope St. John Paul is often quoted as saying, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, so goes the world in which we live.” God’s kingdom of love, peace, and mercy begins in our very own homes and families. If we can make good choices in our daily lives and love one another, that means we are already making a difference in our world. The feast day of a Catholic martyr is usually the day of their death. In the case of the Ulma family, the day chosen is July 7, Józef and Wiktoria’s wedding anniversary. The couple “lived their ‘domestic church’ with the Sacrament of Marriage at the center: openness to life of others in need and of their children,” noted the Dicastery for Laity, the Family, and Life. Pope Francis added that the Ulmas “opposed the hatred and violence that characterized that time with evangelical love. May this Polish family, which represents a ray of light in the darkness of the Second World War, be for all of us a model to imitate in the zeal for goodness and service to those in need.” Marian Helper • Spring 2024 • 23 For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, an entire family was beatified, including the child born as his mother Wiktoria was murdered.