March 11, 2017

Blessed Angela Salawa, Secular Franciscan Caregiver

Blessed Angela Salawa

(In 2017, Bl. Angela Salawa's feast is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.) 

March 12th, the Church honors the humble simplicity and patient suffering of Blessed Angela Salawa served, who labored for Christ and Christ’s little ones with all her strength. Born in Siepraw, near Kraków, Poland, she was the 11th child of Bartlomiej and Ewa Salawa. In 1897, she moved to Kraków where her older sister Therese lived. Angela immediately began to gather together and instruct young women domestic workers. During World War I, she helped the prisoners of war without regard for their nationality or religion. The writings of Saint St. Teresa of Ávila and Saint John of the Cross provided her immense comfort and inspiration.

Angela gave devoted service in caring for soldiers wounded in World War I. After 1918 her health did not permit her to exercise her customary apostolate. On one occasion, addressing herself to Christ, she wrote in her diary, "I want you to be adored as much as you were destroyed." In another place, she professed, "Lord, I live by your will. I shall die when you desire; save me because you can."

In order to conform herself more closely to Christ crucified and poor, she entered the Secular Franciscan Order on March 15, 1912, professing vows on 6 August 1913. As a lay woman consecrated to Christ under the Rule of Saint Francis for the Laity, she shows us that obstacles can be overcome with the grace of God.

At her 1991 beatification Mass in Kraków, Saint John Paul II said: "It is in this city that she worked, that she suffered and that her holiness came to maturity. While connected to the spirituality of Saint Francis, she showed an extraordinary responsiveness to the action of the Holy Spirit" (L'Osservatore Romano, vol. 34, n. 4, 1991). Almighty God, You teach us that the commandments of heaven are summarized in love for You and our neighbor. Following the example of Blessed Angela Salawa's selflessness, may we be among the blessed in Your Kingdom.

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