St. Stanislaus

        Friends in Christ, today is the feast of St. Stanislaus of Poland. St. Stanislaus was born in 1030 and raised by pious parents. He was educated at Paris, and after his ordination to the priesthood he was made a canon of the cathedral at Cracow. The eloquence of the priest and his saintly example led to many conversions among his penitents, and even many priests flocked to him for advice.   Upon the death of the bishop of Cracow,  he himself was named bishop.  
        Stanislaus was a defender of the liberty of the Church  and very importantly, he was a defender of the dignity of each human person;  it was also true, that in him, there was no better advocate for the outcast and the poor.   
       Now the king at that time was Boleslaus II, and because he was a tyrant, Stanislaus opposed him. He once confronted him for his immoral behavior  because Boleslaus had abducted the wife of a Polish nobleman and carried her off to his castle.    No one seemed willing to stand up to the king, for fear of his rage,  but Stanislaus boldly went to the king and threatened excommunication if he did not change his ways.  Furious, the king promised revenge.   
        The king arranged for a false trial against Stanislaus, claiming that he had not paid for some land from a man who was now deceased. In a remarkable miracle, as the court was siding with the King, the dead man rose out of the grave and entered the courtroom, vindicating Stanislaus!  Despite this remarkable miracle,  the King condemned St. Stanislaus to death.  
        At first he commanded his soldiers to kill the bishop when he was celebrating Mass at St. Michael’s chapel in Cracow,  but the soldiers refused, saying that they could not kill him because he was surrounded by a heavenly light.   Calling them cowards, Boleslaus himself entered the church, drew his sword, and killed the bishop.  He then had the body cut up and left for wild animals to eat, but a group of eagles gathered and protected his remains.   
        Pope Gregory VII placed the country under interdict. This is when the church suspends all sacraments in protest; the people rose up, and Boleslaus fell from power; fleeing to Hungary, he eventually entered a monastery and did penance for his crime.   St. Stanislaus was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1253;  he the patron saint of Poland.  

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