In 1072, the people of Krakow, Poland, begged Pope Alexander II to give them Stanislaus as their bishop, which he did. As bishop, Stanislaus was generous to those who were poor. His courage proved itself when he opposed King Boleslaus II for unjust wars, violence, cheating those who were poor, and abducting a nobleman’s wife. King Boleslaus pretended repentance but soon returned to his old ways. Stanislaus tirelessly preached the ways of God to the king. Enraged by Stanislaus’s reprimands, Boleslaus accused the bishop of crimes.
One story reports that a man named Knight Peter had given an estate to the bishop. After Peter died, Boleslaus accused Stanislaus of not paying for it. Stanislaus fasted for three days, ordered the grave of Peter opened, raised him to life, and brought him to court. Peter upheld the good name of the bishop. Still Boleslaus behaved like a tyrant, and Stanislaus had to excommunicate him. Boleslaus entered the cathedral where Stanislaus was officiating, and services were suspended. Stanislaus, pursued by the king, fled to a chapel outside of town. The king ordered his guards to enter the church and kill the bishop. When they refused, the king marched into the chapel and slew Stanislaus with his own sword. Stanislaus is the patron of Poland.
Have the students find out how Pope John Paul II, former bishop of Krakow, courageously witnessed his faith.
Tell the students that Boleslaus finished his life as a penitent in a Benedictine abbey. Encourage them to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.
Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio
Image credit: Saint Stanislaus by Stanislaw Samostrezelnik, 1535. Public Domain via Wikimedia.