Blessed Alfons Mazurek and the Polish Martyrs of World War II

Version 2Alphonse-Marie-MazurekIn his speech at Wadowice in 1999 John Paul II also spoke about another Carmelite, Brother Alfons Mazurek: “I am pleased that I was able to beatify, together with 108 martyrs, Bl. Father Alfons Maria Mazurek, a pupil and later a worthy teacher in the minor seminary attached to the monastery. I had the opportunity to meet personally this witness of Christ who in 1944, as prior of the monastery of Czerna [by Krakow], confirmed his fidelity to God by a martyr’s death. I kneel in veneration before his relics, which rest in the Church of St. Joseph, and I give thanks to God for the gift of the life, martyrdom and holiness of this great religious.”

During the previous week John Paul II went on pilgrimage to Bydgoszcz to commemorate the 108 martyrs – Bishops, priests, religious and lay people who died for the faith at hands of the Nazis. He said “Our century too has written a great martyrology. How many martyrs there were during the time of the Second World War and under communist totalitarianism! They suffered and gave their lives in the death camps of Hitler or those of the Soviets. Now is the time to remember them all.”

Blessed Alfons Mazurek was one of the 108 who died “in odium fidei” (“hatred of the faith”) at the hands of the Nazis during the years 1939-1945. The Nazis hated the Catholic Church and attempted at every turn to humiliate, suppress, and subvert the Church and her leaders and members. From across Poland — three Bishops, 52 diocesan priests, 26 religious priests, three seminarians, eight women religious and nine lay people. Seven of these sacrificed their lives to save others. 16 could have saved their lives but they chose to remain faithful to their vocation or mission and support those in danger; five were students of the Salesians and under torture encouraged others to remain faithful; five were killed for having helped Jews.

Blessed Alsons Mazurek was born in Poland on March 1st, 1891; he studied at the seminary school throughout his youth, and then joined the Carmelite order in 1912. He continued his studies, growing spiritually and mentally. His organizational ability was renowned, and he was set in charge of the Minor Seminary. In 1930 he was elected Prior for the Czerna Monastery. Here he took on the responsibility of the choir program, which flourished under his guidance.

On the August 24th, 1944, however, this all changed. Nazis took over the monastery, killing resistants and forcing the rest to dig ditches. Mazurek was seperated from the rest and tortured. Later he was taken on a dirt path via a military car. He was kicked out and forced to walk a fair distance. After walking, the Nazis shouted at him. Turning around, he was shot at and mortally wounded. The guards approached him, kicked him, and filled his mouth with dirt. As if they could halt the benediction that flows from the mouth of  monks with their crude gestures! Some of his brothers came from digging ditches and happened upon him: he was given absolution shortly before his death. The date was August 28th, vigil of the Martydom of St. John the Baptist, of whom Mazurek was particularly devoted. from a link on Carmelites in Poland, found here

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I venerated the relics of Blessed Alfons Mazurek at the Sanctuary of St Joseph in Wadowice, May 2016

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St John of the Cross

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