A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
It has been 100 years since dramatic events in Zabawa near Tarnów. On 18 November 1914, 16-year-old Karolina Kózkówne, defending her freedom and dignity and girlish chastity, was killed by a Russian soldier. Today in a similar situation we would surely read headings of colourful magazines which would not be any more popular a few moments later. History of Karolina has existed for a century, and her short life is a testimony for many people, which attracts many young and elderly people despite the existing trends and promoted examples, which is proved by statistics of visitors of this place.
A century has passed
In Zabawa near Tarnów, since 14 November there have been ceremonies of the 100th anniversary of the martyr death of blessed Karolina. The ceremonies are focused on the works which are created by people taking inspiration from the holy life and heroic faithfulness of blessed Karolina. There are going to be, among the others, Holy Mass and religious services on the occasion of nationwide ceremonies of the World Day of Remembrance of Road Accidents victims, a tree of remembrance is going to be planted, there are going to be concerts on this occasion. In Zabawa, for a few years, there has been an unusual monument ‘Transition’, devoted to the victims of accidents. During the ceremonies there is going to be a prayer also for culprits of crimes. There is going to be time for a testimony of the youth and presentation of a new film entitled: ‘Karolina’ directed by Dariusz Regucki.
People fascinated by Karolina never speak about her in the past tense.
– Faithfulness to Him who is immortal caused that Karolina is alive, death did not annihilate her, but she became newly-born – says Fr. Zbigniew Szostak, a custodian of the sanctuary of blessed Karolina Kózkówna in Zabawa. – Many people find an example in her to follow, because she is not ‘from the moon’, but an ordinary girl who lived among ordinary people. Especially that her testimony proves that holiness is possible for us to achieve.
She acts so
Fr. Piotr Adamczyk, a retreat preacher, emotionally related to the sanctuary in Zabawa, says about Karolina that - besides Our Lady, St. Faustyna or Little Theresa – she is one of the women of his life. – Karolina teaches me beauty, because in her person God’s beauty is reflected. She has a clear soul and inner brightness which give hope that something beautiful grows even on fallow. – Please, note – says the priest – that on the beatification picture Karolina has her hands wrapped with a rosary on her breast. This is a symbol and message for us: when I wrap my life with a rosary, there is a victory in me. Rosary is a whip to a devil, sins and all temptations. This is a braided coat of chastity, humility and simplicity, which gives real power and strength. Karolina was aware of it.
– During a confession I often tell people lost in a sin of impurity: Go to Zabawa and ask Karolina for strength to change your life! – says Fr. Adamczyk. – Later I receive testimonies of heart conversion. One man got to Zabawa just after the church had been closed. He prayed, kneeling at the closed door. He got converted. And even now, I gave confession to a person before our talk, who had been brought to the sacrament of penance by Karolina after 30 years. She acts so! – says Fr. Adamczyk. – She is like a little candle in the darkness…
Simple means and great works
Blessed Karolina Kózkówna is a patron of the Catholic Youth Association. A known work inspired by her life, is the Movement of Pure Hearts. The Sanctuary of Blessed Karolina bin Zabawa and its surroundings are still developing, there is an Association of Help to Victims of Transport Accidents and Catastrophes and Violence ‘Transition’ which still develop their offer, going out to people’s needs in the most difficult life experiences.
– Karolina, directs everyone to actions which result from her life – says Fr. Szostak. – Therefore, in a natural way she also leads us into difficult issues, such as: chastity, freedom from addictions, and death of dear people. She also teaches us that it is necessary to form one’s character, take care of one’s own development and share it with others.
Karolina was engaged where she was sent by her fate and used simple means which she had – a pear tree under which she gave catechesis, a library of her uncle Francis in which she helped, making it possible for adults to develop intellectually. – These simple means became a trampoline which brought her to great works – says Fr. Szostak. – Therefore, also today, Karolina is alive in works, through which one can see the gentlest human problems and needs.
Why not me?
‘The Saints do not pass. The Saints live with the Saints and want holiness’ – says pope John Paul II during the canonization of St. Jadwiga. Fr. Adamczyk quotes the words of the Pope and emphasizes that these sentences concern everyone of us: - Many people meeting blessed Karolina ask the key question: if she, such a young girl, could fight for holiness, then why cannot I do it?
The testimony of Karolina attracts people to fall in love with God. It results in being more open to human needs, develops imagination of mercifulness, which notices not only victims but also culprits. Great works done through the intercession of blessed Karolina are developing, because they come from the root which is Lord Jesus.
– Karolina tells us about particular things which should be important for us – says Fr. Piotr. – She says: attend the Holy Mass, attend confession, read the Gospel, let repentance be present in your life, but live joyfully! – says the priest.