Kostka, Stanislaus, St.

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Patron of Poland; b. Rostkovo, Poland, Oct. 28, 1550; d. Rome, Italy, Aug. 15, 1568. He was the second of seven children, born into the high Polish nobility. His training at home was religious, exacting, and firm. At 14 he and his elder brother Paul enrolled in the Jesuit college in Vienna. Stanislaus's early desire for holiness intensified and he showed great constancy in his practice of prayer and penance. This annoyed Paul who treated Stanislaus with brutality. Stanislaus seemed to receive some unusual spiritual favors. On one occasion, when seriously sick, he saw angels, attended by St. Barbara, patron of his sodality at school, bringing him Holy Communion. He also beheld the Blessed Virgin, holding the Christ Child and advising him to enter the Society of Jesus. The Jesuit superior at Vienna was reluctant to admit him into the society because of the possible wrath of his father, so Stanislaus decided to apply elsewhere. He left Vienna and, after successfully eluding his brother, who pursued him, he walked to Dillingen in Germany where he met St. Peter canisius, the German provincial. Canisius sent him to Rome where he was admitted to the novitiate of St. Andrew on Oct. 28, 1567, by the General, St. Francis borgia. In the ten remaining months of his life all were impressed by his earnest and childlike fervor. In early August of 1568, he seemed to foresee his death. On the tenth he became ill and died within the week. He was canonized in 1726.

Feast: Nov. 13.

Bibliography: d. bartoli, Compendio della vita del B. Stanislao Kostka, ed. c. grossi (Turin 1925). j. e. kerns, Portrait of a Champion: A Life of St. Stanley Kostka (Westminster, Md.1957). j. majkowski, Saint Stanislaus Kostka. A Psychological Hagiography (Rome 1972). u. ubaldini, Analecta Bollandiana, 9 (1890) 360378.

[w. v. bangert]