The Holy Father says that their example teaches us that "holiness and heroic deeds are achieved through fidelity in the small everyday things"
Pope Francis noted this August 30 an upcoming novena to prepare for the September 10 beatification of the Ulma family, who were killed by Nazis in 1944.
To be beatified are the parents, Jozef and Wiktoria, as well as Stanisława, age 7, Barbara, 6, Władysław, 5, Franciszek, 4, Antoni, 2, Maria, 1.5 years old, and their seventh child, still in the womb of the mother who was eight months pregnant on the day of her murder, making a total of nine blesseds.
At the end of the general audience, in greetings to Polish-speaking pilgrims, the Pope noted:
In many parishes the novena, which will begin the day after tomorrow [September 1, editor’s note], will be a spiritual preparation for the event. May the example of this heroic family, who sacrificed their lives in order to save the persecuted Jews, help you to understand that holiness and heroic deeds are achieved through fidelity in the small everyday things. I bless you from my heart.
The bishops of Poland have written a letter in preparation of the beatification, noting that this is a unique event for the universal Church, and of course for the Church in Poland. This is the first time that an entire family has been beatified together, and the first time for an unborn child to be beatified.
“We want to contemplate their holiness and draw from it an example for contemporary marriages and families,” they wrote.
On March 24, 1944, the German police entered their home, killed the eight Jews who had taken refuge there, and then shot the couple. The German soldiers then turned their attention to the children, whom they also shot.
In the region, this family was nicknamed “The Samaritans of Markowa.”