Sanctity worth of the capital
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
On Sunday, 11 October 2009, in Rome there was the canonisation of Archbishop Sigmund Felix Felinski of Warsaw. He was Archbishop of Warsaw only for a year and a half. The Czar sentenced him to exile and he spent 20 years in distant Russia, in Jaroslavl on the Volga River. People could see that he was a wonderful man of God in every situation. He is a symbolic figure, a steadfast Shepherd, a priest completely dedicated to the Church and his Homeland. ‘Intelligent and brought up in a patriotic family’ – as Archbishop Nycz of Warsaw stressed during the thanksgiving Mass celebrated on 13 October in Krakow, where the bishop-exile ended his life – he always had definite social and political views. However, when the moment of trial came he did not focus on divisions – he cared for all people. He was an enlightened man, broad-minded; by education he was a mathematician. When studying in Paris he met Juliusz Slowacki who became his friend. Then he ministered the last sacrament to him on his way to eternity. His characteristic was great piety, including Marian piety: he founded the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary. Piety and love for man made him care for orphans, poor and abandoned children.
We interpret the gift of the canonisation of Archbishop Sigmund Felix Felinski as a special gift for our Homeland. In the Year for Priests one should fathom this figure of the wonderful priest and courageous Shepherd as well as a great Polish patriot. The authorities of our country valued this gift. Poland’s President was present during the canonisation in Rome, besides the numerous representatives of our Bishops’ Conference and several thousand Poles. We have a perfect example in the person of St Sigmund Felix Felinski, an example of how the fate of our Homeland was interweaved with the fate of the Church. We should not lose that fact; it is in the Polish history. The Servant of God John Paul II was a great witness of that and so are many Poles whose names we do not know and who are such ambassadors of Polishness in the world. Such an attitude will always be valid and beautiful. Faithfulness to God, Homeland and brothers.
Today we forget the great Polish Romantics, those who built cultural Poland, spiritual Poland when our country did not exist because of political reasons, but we do not want to remember the recent history of our nation, either. And sometimes it seems that only few of us do care for Poland. We do not pay attention to our national matters. May St Sigmund Felix Felinski be a challenge for us so that we do not lose any opportunity to act for the good of the Homeland, through gaining profound education, through solid work and inner growth. May the word ‘Pole’ mean a wise and good man. Since today aliens come and they would like to put us aside; they would like to make the world forget that we are with our Christian culture, with our ethos. They do it because these things will not bring expected profits. Then let us recollect John Paul II, Fr Jerzy Popieluszko, who was a martyr, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski and the Polish saints, including St Sigmund Felix Felinski, and let us reject stagnation.
Certain facts should be rooted in our consciousness. If Pole’s memory devaluates who is going to defend us, who will remember us? The Russians? The Germans? The English? In what form?... Our beautiful history, culture and tradition must exist in us, in every Pole. This tradition is holy – Christian, evangelical – and it is only the tradition that can save us.