Pope Francis praises the testimony of these women religious, beatified in Poland. Pray to them for end of war in Ukraine.
Ten Elizabethan sisters who took care of the elderly, the sick, and children, and were murdered by soldiers of the Red Army in 1945, were beatified in Wrocław, Poland, on June 11, 2022.
The Mass was presided over by the Prefect of the Dicastery for Saints’ Causes, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, who compared their martyrdom to the current situation in Ukraine.
“The whole life of these sisters was a true gift of self in service to the sick, the little ones, the poor, the most needy. Their selfless love was heroic to the extent that they chose not to flee from the approaching Red Army in late 1944-45. And this despite the news of its brutality and the atrocities committed by its soldiers against the inhabitants of East Prussia,” said Cardinal Semeraro in his homily.
After leading the midday Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis paid tribute to the 10 sisters.
Although they were aware of the risks they were running, these women religious remained alongside the elderly and sick people they were looking after. May their example of faith to Christ help us all, especially Christians who are persecuted in various parts of the world, to bear witness to the Gospel courageously.
Cardinal Semeraro stressed that the martyrdom of the 10 Elizabethan sisters brings to mind the violence, cruelty, and hatred that now afflict Ukraine.
He noted that gestures of selfless love and concern for others build peace and are a response to the violence that occurs in the face of war.
The Cardinal encouraged fervent prayer through the intercession of the newly beatified nuns for the end of the war and for many intentions.
We ask the Lord through their intercession that the world may never again lack respect for womanhood, equality in the dignity of man and woman and protection of motherhood. (…)
Today we commend to them in a special way the Ukrainian people, migrants and our quest for peace.
The Prefect recalled Pope Francis’ words thanking the Polish people for being the first to support Ukraine by “opening their borders, their hearts and the doors of their homes to Ukrainians fleeing war.”
Profile of the newly beatified
Sister Maria Paschalis Jahn was born on April 7, 1916, in Nysa. After taking her religious vows, she stayed in Kluczbork, Glubczyce, Nysa, and then in the Czech Republic.
On May 11, 1945, Sister Paschalis was brutally attacked by a Soviet soldier. She defended her chastity and her faith, and was shot by him. Like the nine other sisters, although they lived in different places and took up different jobs, she remained faithful to her vocation to the end, giving her life in defense of those entrusted to her.
The Elizabethan sisters stress that the beatification of the 10 nuns is a symbol of remembrance of the tragic death of all nuns who died at the hands of the Soviet Army in 1945. They estimate that over 100 sisters of their congregation died in similar circumstances.
The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth was founded in Nysa in 1810. The main goal of the congregation is selfless service to those in need, especially the suffering and the sick.
The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth is currently active in 19 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. About 1,000 sisters work in hospitals, kindergartens, schools and parishes. The sisters run community centres, nursing homes, orphanages, educational institutions and boarding schools.
In the Church, the liturgical commemoration of Sister Paschalis Jahn and her companions, martyrs of the Congregation of St. Elizabeth, will be celebrated annually on May 11.