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St. Andrew Bobola
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Martyr, born of an old and illustrious Polish family, in the Palatinate of Sandomir, 1590; died at Janów, 16 May, 1657. Having entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Wilno (1611), he was ordained in 1622, and appointed preacher in the Church of St. Casimir, Wilno. After making his solemn vows, 2 June, 1630, he was made superior at Bobruisk, where he wrought wonders by his preaching and distinguished himself by his devotion during an epidemic of the plague. In 1636 he began his work in the Lithuanian missions. During this period Poland was being ravaged by Cossacks, Russians, and Tatars, and the Catholic Faith was made the object of the concerted attacks of Protestants and schismatics. The Jesuits, in particular, had much to endure. Bobola's success in converting schismatics drew upon him the rage of those in high authority, and the adherents of the Greek Pope decided to centralize their forces in Polesia. A Catholic nobleman of this province offered the Jesuits a house at Pinsk, and here Father Bobola was stationed. The schismatics vainly endeavoured in every manner to hinder him in the exercise of his apostolic duties, extending their persecutions to attacks upon his person. On 16 May, 1657, he was seized by two Cossacks and severely beaten. Then tying him to their saddles, they dragged him to Janów where he was subjected to incredible tortures. After having been burned, half strangled, and partly flayed alive, he was released from suffering by a sabre stroke. His body was interred in the collegiate church of the Society at Pinsk, where it became the object of great veneration. It was later transferred to Polosk, where it is still held in honour, even by the schismatics. Father Bobola was declared Blessed by Pius IX in 1853, and his feast is kept by the Society of Jesus, 23 May.
[ Note: Andrew Bobola was canonized by Pope Pius XII with his encyclical "Invicti Athletae" promulgated on May 16, 1957.]
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