Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here
Start your mornings with the good, the beautiful, the true... Subscribe to Aleteia's free newsletter!
Sign me up!

Not Prepared to Donate?

Here are 5 ways you can still help Aleteia:

  1. Pray for our team and the success of our mission
  2. Talk about Aleteia in your parish
  3. Share Aleteia content with friends and family
  4. Turn off your ad blockers when you visit
  5. Subscribe to our free newsletter and read us daily
Thank you!
Team Aleteia

Subscribe

Aleteia

During WWII these Polish nuns offered their lives so that others might live

BLESSED MARTYRS OF NOWOGRODEK
Share

The martyrs of Nowogródek prayed to God that the Nazis would kill them instead of a group of prisoners.

In 1942 the Nazis invaded the small town of Nowogródek, which had a mixed population of Poles, Jews, and Russians. They quickly began to hold mass executions in the town, rounding up anyone who was not sympathetic to their viewpoint.

Yet, in the midst of all the suffering, there was a single priest remaining who would offer daily Mass and a small group of religious women who daily prayed to God for liberation.

Then in 1943 the Nazis rounded up another group of 120 prisoners and it was their intention to kill them all.

Sister Superior Maria Stella said to the local priest, “My God, if sacrifice of life is needed let them kill us and not those who have families. We are even praying for that.”

Surprisingly the prisoners were not killed and all of them survived to the conclusion of World War II. However, the Nazis chose instead Sister Maria Stella and her 10 sisters and took them into the forest, where they were murdered.

St. John Paul II praised their example when he beatified them in 2000, pointing to them as true witnesses of Jesus Christ.

Where did these women find the strength to give themselves in exchange for the lives of imprisoned residents of Nowogródek? From where did they draw the courage to accept calmly the death sentence that was so cruel and unjust? God had slowly prepared them for this moment of greater trial. He sowed the seed of his grace in their hearts at the time of holy Baptism and then, tended with great care and responsibility, it developed firm roots and bore the most beautiful fruit, which is the gift of life. Christ says: “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13). Yes, there is no greater love than this: to be ready to lay down one’s life for one’s brothers and sisters.

We thank you, O blessed martyrs of Nowogródek, for your witness of love, for your example of Christian heroism and for your trust in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Like St. Maximillian Kolbe, these Polish sisters gave up their lives so that others might live. Their example continues to inspire many today and highlights the ultimate fulfillment of the Gospel.

Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.
Aleteia offers you this space to comment on articles. This space should always reflect Aleteia values.
[See Comment Policy]
Readers like you contribute to Aleteia's Mission.

Since our inception in 2012, Aleteia’s readership has grown rapidly worldwide. Our team is committed to a mission of providing articles that enrich, inspire and inform a Catholic life. That's why we want our articles to be freely accessible to everyone, but we need your help to do that. Quality journalism has a cost (more than selling ads on Aleteia can cover). That's why readers like you make a major difference by donating as little as $3 a month.