Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Feast day: April 11
Saint Stanislaus Kostka was born in Poland in 1550, of a noble Polish
family. At the age of fourteen he was sent with his older brother Paul
to study at the Jesuit College in Vienna. Twice a day he would pray at
length in the chapel, and he never failed to recite a crown of the
Rosary. He avoided the company of students too free in their speech and
behavior, and often fasted and inflicted on himself a rude discipline.
His love for God did not cease to augment with these practices, and he
decided to make a vow to enter the Company of Jesus. He told his
confessor of it only six months later, as he wanted it to remain unknown
until he would be in a position to carry it out.
He fell ill, and the demon appeared in his room under the form of a
black dog which lunged at his throat. The young Saint drove him away
with the sign of the Cross, but his illness was growing worse. He was
lodged in the residence of a Protestant who would not permit the Blessed
Sacrament to be brought to him. Saint Stanislaus remembered having read
that those who invoked Saint Barbara never died without the Sacraments,
and he begged that she would assist him in his danger and not permit
that he die without the Viaticum. His prayer was answered. One night,
when his life was despaired of, he saw this beautiful virgin-martyr,
accompanied by two Angels, enter his room with the Blessed Sacrament. He
was greatly consoled by this favor and another which immediately
followed it, the Blessed Virgin also appeared and assured him that God
wanted him to enter the Jesuit Society. Soon he felt better and was
restored to complete health.
He was still too young to enter the Order in Vienna without his parents’
permission; he therefore determined to go to another province where it
might be possible. Stanislaus had always been gentle and cheerful, and
his sanctity was felt as a reproach by his brother Paul, who had been
surveying him constantly and often spoke rudely to him, even going so
far as to strike him. Stanislaus dressed as a beggar, to go to Father
Peter Canisius, Provincial of Upper Germany. His brother, when he
realized he had left, pursued him, but even though Stanislaus was on
foot, passed him by without recognizing him. A little farther on, Paul’s
horses refused to advance and he was obliged to return to Vienna.
Saint Peter sent Stanislaus to Rome, a very long distance in those days,
over a rugged and dangerous road, where rocks, mountains and rivers made
the journey very difficult. Saint Francis of Borgia received him in Rome
as a treasure sent by God, and he was clothed in the Jesuit habit in
October 1567. His father was very irritated. In ten months it is said
that he advanced more than many do over a period of fifty or sixty
years. During those ten short months he always had Our Lady in his mind,
in his heart and on his lips.
The fervent novice ardently desired to be in heaven on the feast of Her
Assumption, he fell ill of a fever on the 9th of August, and it was
revealed to him that his desire would be fulfilled. In effect, his holy
soul departed to rejoin His Heavenly Mother, when She came to claim him
at a little after 3 o’clock on the morning of the 15th of August, 1568.
He was eighteen years old.
We often see him with the Infant Jesus in his arms, because when Our
Lady came to cure him in Vienna with Her Divine Treasure in Her arms,
She had placed the Infant Savior on his bed. Many illnesses were cured
at his tomb, and his body was found incorrupt three years after his
death. He was soon considered as a Saint in Italy and Poland. In 1604 he
was declared Blessed and was canonized in 1726. His brother Paul wept
for long years over his mistreatment of his younger brother, and was
about to enter the Society of Jesus himself in 1607, when he died
suddenly on November 13th, anniversary of the discovery of the incorrupt
remains of Saint Stanislaus.