AIRPORT, FAMILY, HOLINESS
Lidia Dudkiewicz, The Editor-in-Chief of ‘Niedziela’
We prepare every new issue of our weekly with some emotions. That is so because Catholic media are facing unusual responsibility. It was accurately defined by one of bishops who said that when one opens a Catholic newspaper, one enters the space where God speaks. It obliges journalists to set vectors at their work, which are directed to Heaven, not to lose the direction towards the eternity. Archbishop Wacław Depo, the chairperson of the Mass Media Council of the Polish Episcopal Conference, makes everybody sensitive to these issues and reminds our Readers that the eternity is taking place just today, we are entering it here, on Earth, through the mystery of the Holy Baptism.
Pages of this issue of ‘Niedziela’ (‘Sunday’) are engrossed in the boundless eternity in a really strong way. We read on the cover: ‘Helen has gone to Heaven’. This is about the missionary Helen Kmieć, in relation to the first anniversary of her death during her mission in Bolivia. She went there to cuddle poor orphans. She was brutally murdered by a foster child from an orphanage, before she began her mission of love. The first person in her family to be informed about her death was her uncle – bishop Jan Zając. ‘Helen has gone to Heaven’ – he stood at the door of her family house with these words when passing over this tragic news. This is also the title of a coming book about the young mission volunteer. The story of Helen, although it is very short as she has passed away tragically at the age of only 25 years, showed that it is worth having ideals and live beautifully. She wanted to be close to Heaven not only through religiously but also physically deep life. So, she worked as a flight attendant. Fr. Stanisław Ślusarczyk, befriended with her family reminds that one does not become a saint after death, but during life, and the Church only gives out a verdict that a particular person deserves this title. Fr. Ślusarczyk points to the fact which proves the unusual maturity of Helen. When she was filling in a questionnaire for Wizz-Air airlines, she gave a courageous answer to questions addressed to her. They are: ‘Plans for the nearest year: air pastoral ministry, arrangement of certain things, learning Spanish; for the next five years: family, work giving satisfaction, being more for others; a long-term plan: holiness – as the final purpose!’ For her it was quite normal: airport, family, holiness! – said Fr. Ślusarczyk.
A lot about Helen, and also her closest family, is written in a letter of her older sister Teresa, published in the mentioned book. Among the words expressing the deepest nostalgia there is also advice for all of us, coming from a person who went through all stages of mourning after the loss of her sister closest to her heart. Let’s have a look at a fragment of the letter written to deceased Helen by her sister Teresa: ‘You know… I have learnt a lot during that time, those solitary two hundred ninety-five days. I have understood a lot, I have seen a lot. (…) that one cannot put off love for later. Oh, Helen, Helen, you caused a row…..not only in my heart. Perhaps, you did not expect what Oh, Helen, Helen, you caused a turmoil….not only in my heart. Or maybe you did not expect what began to happen in the world after this world heard about You. You know how proud of you I am?’ There are testimonies proving even priestly vocations which were born under the influence of Helen’s joyful testifying Christ, full of songs. And at her funeral one of priests said: ‘You taught me one way of looking at another shore of our life’.
Translation: Aneta Amrozik
„Niedziela” 3/2018 (21 I 2018)