|Source: National Catholic Register|
On September 12, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, a giant of 20th-century Catholicism referred to as Poland’s “Primate of the Millennium” will begin the formal process of becoming a saint in the Catholic Church by being beatified. Additionally, scheduled to be beatified with Cardinal Wyszyński is a lesser known nun, Mother Elżbieta Róża Czacka (d. 1961).
Mother Czacka lived a quiet life of service to the blind. Affectionately known to Poles as Matka Czacka (Mother Czacka), Sr. Angelica Jose recalled that while at university she encountered a brochure showcasing the work of the community founded by Mother Czacka.
So deeply moved by the images of Mother Czacka and the others sisters serving, she “Being fascinated by the charism of the congregation — service for the physically and spiritually blind — I stopped my studies at Poznań University of Life Sciences and entered the congregation.”
She continued, “What delights me about Mother Czacka is her tremendous passion for life for God — in service of the blind. Her courage in accepting suffering and realism in life. And her trust in God’s Providence.”
Róża Czacka was born on Oct. 22, 1876, in Bila Tserkva, which at that time was under the jurisdiction of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and known as Biała Cerkiew (present day Ukraine). The daughter of aristocrats, as a youth the young countess studied music while enjoying the aristocratic pleasures playing the piano, horseback riding, and speaking English, German, and French.
Throughout her childhood, the young countess suffered from eye problems, which at the age of 22, following a horse riding accident, she was permanently blinded.
Traveling across Europe, Czacka used her wealth and position to learn as much about blindness while also learning Braille.
In 1911, she founded the Society for the Care of the Blind that Czacka adapted to the Polish language. Developing a system to educate blind people in a new language, Mother Czacka launched a public information campaign seeking to educate the public about blindness through articles and radio broadcasts.
“Róża Czacka was an extremely rich personality,” Sr. Angelica Jose commented. “When looking at her, one should see a blind woman of deep faith, courage, and simplicity. This is the inner dimension of her.”
“Mother Elisabeth Róża Czacka was a woman extremely devoted to God and a pioneer in matters of the blind in Poland. So let’s look at her from these two perspectives.”
In 1915, Czacka went to visit her brother Stanisław in Ukraine for a two-week visit. During her stay hostilities erupted between the European powers resulting in her inability to return for three years during the hostility of the First World War.
While in Ukraine, she was drawn to the Third Order of St. Francis, where assumed a Franciscan habit and took the religious name Elżbieta (Elizabeth) after making her vows on August 15, 1917.
After the cessation of hostilities, she returned to Warsaw, where she founded the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross. The aims of the new religious congregation were: caring for the physically blind, serving the spiritually blind, and making expiation for the spiritual blindness of the world.
Both Cardinal and Mother Czacka are scheduled to be beatified September 12, 2021.
Source: National Catholic Register