Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Joseph Kowalski 1911 - 1942 Prince Among Martyrs

Joseph Kowalski was born at Siedliska near Rzeszow in Poland on the 13th of March 1911 to Wojciech and Zofia Borowice, the seventh of nine children.

His Parents were practicing catholics who were Farmers and owners of a modest farm.

After his primary schooling, he entered the Salesian College at Oswiecim also known later as Auschwitz. He immediately distinguished himself for his commitment to study and service and for his cheerfulness.

He joined the Immaculate Conception Sodality and the Missionary Association becoming its President.

He said, I must become a "Holy Salesian" like my Father Don Bosco was.

He made his first profession in 1928 at Czerwinsk and was ordained a Priest on the 29th of May 1938 at Krakow.

On the 23rd of May 1941, The Gestapo captured Father Kowalski along with 11 other Salesians working in Krakow among the youth.

It was precisely this zealous priestly activity among youngsters that enraged the Nazis and motivated them to arrest him.

He was provisionally held in Krakow at Monte - Lupi and after a month he was transferred to Oswiecim.

In the Concentration Camp, he took up  a thriving apostolate. He heard Confessions, Celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, said the Rosary, and gave clandestine conferences about Don Bosco to his fellow prisoners strengthening them with the will to struggle for survival.

He underwent terrible suffering and humiliation at the hands of the Nazis.

From a careful reconstruction of the event, it has been shown that he was martyred in the night between the 3rd and 4th of July 1942.

He was drowned in the sewer of the camp. His Body was at first thrown into a refuse dump, then it was burned in the camp's crematorium.

His countrymen began to venerate his memory maintaining that his sacrifice made vocations in Poland more fruitful.

Pope Saint John Paul -- 2 became personally interested in the cause of various Polish Martyrs.

Joseph Kowalski was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul -- 2 in Warsaw on the 13th of June 1999.

His Memory is kept on  May 29.

Credits and References :

Joseph Kowalski
Salesian Saints
Pages 10-11
Don Bosco's Madonna, Mumbai
February 2016
Vol -- 17, N0-10


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