+ Natalia was born in Rzeszów, Poland. She moved with her family to Poznan in 1921 and completed her university studies there, working as a teacher and a leader within the local Catholic community.
+ Confirmed that religious life was not her vocation, Natalia became engaged to be married, but ended her engagement seven years later because her fiancé, a confirmed atheist, did not share her spiritual convictions.
+ During the Nazi occupation of Poland, she and her family were among those who were dispossessed of their home and property by the majority German population.
+ Natalia became involved in clandestine efforts in Krakow to educated Polish children and she was a member of the “Polish Underground State.”
+ In 1943, she courageously joined women who were being sent to Hamburg to perform hard labor, hoping to offer spiritual comfort. While there, she secretly taught religion, Polish spelling, and German to the other prisoners. When the Nazi authorities learned of her intentions, she was arrested, tortured, and condemned to death in the Ravensbück concentration camp.
+ Because there were no priests, Natalia led religious services for the prisoners on Palm Sunday. On Good Friday 1945, Natalia spoke publicly to the other prisoners on the meaning of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. She died in the gas chambers two days later, on March 31, 1945; it was Easter Sunday.
+ Blessed Natalia Tułasiewicz, with one other lay woman (Blessed Marianna Biernacka), was beatified with 106 other Martyrs of World War II in 1999.
For prayer and reflection
“I have the courage to become a saint. Only holiness is the fullest form of love, and so I don’t just want but must become a saint, a modern saint, a theocentric humanist.”—Blessed Natalia Tułasiewicz
O God, who gladden us today with the annual commemoration of blessed Natalia, graciously grant that we may be helped by her merits, just as our lives are lit up by the splendor of her example of chastity and fortitude. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For a Virgin-Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.