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The saints are our friends, they are our family. They watch out for us, always attentive to our prayers. Interceeding for us to God in all our trials while we fight this great battle.
We are the Church millitant and the battle we fight is for souls. Our own and also the souls of others that the evil one tries to steal from God. The last thing that the enemy wants is for us here on earth to ask our heavenly friends for help. The saints are a great source of assistance in everything we face. Just on a day to day basis, even with little things, I am convinved that they have great care and concern for us.
I have come to know and love the martyred nuns of Nowogrodek. Their story of heroic virtue and self sacrifice fills me with joy. Blessed Mary Stella was the mother superior of her community of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in Nowogrodek, Poland. They arrived there in 1929 by the invitation of the Bishop to found a school and care for the local Church. At first, the people did not want the nuns there and made this fact well known. There were many jews and protestants there at the time, so people were sceptical of the little nuns in black. The people would soon come to appreciate these nuns when the darkness of Nazi occupation overshadowed them in 1942.
The murderous rampage of the Nazis began with the arrest and execution is 60 persons in the town. Two of which were priests. A similar situation occurred in July a year later where 120 persons were arrested and detained. They were destined to be executed. When the sisters became aware of their plight they expressed a desire to sacrifice themselves in the place of the 120 family members. Sister Stella shared the desire of the community with their chaplain saying, "My God, if sacrifice is needed, accept it from us and spare those who have families. We are even praying for this intention."
In almost immediate answer to the sisters wishes, the plans for the prisoners was suddenly changed. They were deported to work camps and some were even released! Then, the life of their rector was threatened and the sisters of course renewed their offering by saying, "There is greater need for a priest on this earth than there is for us, we pray that God will take us in his place if sacrifice of life is needed."
God accepted their sacrifice. The people that were still imprisoned and the chaplain were spared. They attested to the holiness of the nuns and their powerful intercession before God.
The sisters were arrested, all but one. The one that was spared would stay behind and care for the common grave that would be the resting place of the martyrs. They were lead out into the woods and made to kneel in front of a giant hole in the ground. The Nazis had dug them a mass grave and allowed the mother superior, Blessed Stella, to bless her sisters before one by one they were shot in the head.
And there they lay, together, a sacrifice of love.
Let us ask the intercession of the Blessed Martyrs of Nowogrodek, that they may teach us what it truly means to be united with Christ in perfect love.
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