Frelichowski, Stefan Wincenty, Bl.
FRELICHOWSKI, STEFAN WINCENTY, BL.
Diocesan priest, martyr; b. Jan. 22, 1913, Chelmza, Poland; d. Feb. 23, 1945 in the concentration camp at Dachau (near Munich), Germany. As a Polish Scout prior to his entry into the seminary, Stefan "acquired a particular sensitivity to the needs of others" (John Paul II, beatification homily). He was ordained a priest in 1937. He was working at his first assignment as a parish priest at Torun when he was arrested with several other priests by the Gestapo and released after a few days. On Oct. 18, 1939, he was again stopped and sent to Oranienburg–Sachsenhausen. Over the course of the next 14 months, he was transferred successively to "Fort Seven," Stutthof, Grenzdorf, Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen, and finally Dachau (Dec. 13, 1940). At each stop along the way, Frelichowski witnessed to the love of Christ through his humble service to others. During the typhus epidemics at Dachau (1944–45), he risked his life to bring forbidden material and spiritual comfort to the afflicted and dying until he himself contracted the disease, then developed pneumonia. He died in the camp hospital at age 32—just two months before the end of the war. The decree of Frelichowski's martyrdom was signed on March 26, 1999. Pope John Paul II beatified Frelichowski on June 7, 1999 at Torun, Poland, the city where two peace treaties were signed and a colloquium was held between Catholics and Calvinists, because he was a peacemaker.
Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1999): 639–40.
[k. i. rabenstein]