Blessed Stanislaus Kubista, April 26

kubista1Blessed STANISLAUS KUBISTA, SVD – Priest
Kostuchna, 1898- Sachsenhausen, April 26, 1940
Mission Animator and Communicator

It was very cold the morning of April 26, 1940, when the “capo” entered the barracks where Fr. Stanislaus Kubista and other priests were held. Since his arrival at the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen Fr. Stanislaus had been sick with pneumonia and diarrhea. He was getting weaker every day. Despite this he was forced to do a full workload, which included shoveling snow for long hours while exposed to the cold wind. On one of the last evenings of his life another priest, Fr. Dominic Jozef, covered him with a blanket. Fr. Stanislaus whispered to him: “This will not go on much longer. My God, I am so weak. May His will be done.” Although it was prohibited, Fr. Dominic heard his confession. When the capo entered the barracks and looked at the sick and exhausted prisoner, he told him, “You have no reason to live any more.” Then he began to stomp on Fr. Kubista’s throat and chest. Another prisoner later said: “We heard the breaking of bones and the last choked rattling. We knew Fr. Kubista was dying.” He was 42. He gave up his life without knowing why his tormentor was so cruel. But in dying he maintained his dignity. He could do so because his whole life was one of quiet dignity.

Stanislaus was born to a poor family in Kostuchna in Silesia. He was the fifth of nine children, and he grew up in a very religious atmosphere. The Kubista house was frequently visited by an SVD Brother who sold our magazines in that area. So Stanislaus was familiar with missionaries even as a young boy. At 14, already fascinated by the missionary ideal, he joined our minor seminary in Nysa. World War I interrupted his studies, for he was drafted into the army. However, he did not abandon his missionary dream. Immediately after the war he returned to Nysa to continue his education. In 1920 he entered the novitiate at St. Gabriel, Austria. There he also completed his theological studies and his religious missionary formation. He professed perpetual vows on September 29, 1926, and was ordained a priest in May, 1927. Already he was recognized by both formators and peers as gentle, modest, faithful and serene, ever ready for any sacrifice.

Fr. Stanislaus was rather surprised when he received a missionary appointment to Poland instead of China or the Philippines or Papua New Guinea (his requested assignments). His superiors wanted him to work in the newly established Polish Region, where there was a great need of personnel. He saw in this decision a sign of God’s will. From the start he showed enormous dedication and initiative. Since he was remarkably industrious and creative, he was able to combine his duties as regional (and later provincial) treasurer with the responsibilities of editing and publishing. He understood that the future of the Society — and even of evangelization in Poland — depended on modern communications.

Following in the footsteps of the Founder, St. Arnold Janssen, Fr. Kubista urged the new region to have its own printing press. In 1931 he received permission to set one up. Thanks to his efforts the SVD in Poland became more and more involved in the press apostolate. This quickly enabled the Society to become known as a religious missionary congregation. He was the editor of several mission magazines. When he became editor of Family Treasure in 1934, the magazine had a circulation of 11,000. By 1938 this number rose to 26,000. He had similar success with a small mission calendar for children and a larger one for families. Since Fr. Kubista also contributed numerous articles to these magazines, he became well known as a writer. He was quite influential in bring ing missionary concerns to the general public. He was also interested in the value of other cultures — in this he was ahead of his time. Because of this interest he wrote a mission drama about the Incas in Peru which he called The Cross and the Sun. He even drew the scenes and made the costumes for this play.

His communications activities came to an abrupt halt with the outbreak of the war. His own life echoed the tragedy of the Polish people. Soon he was under house arrest at Gorna Grupa. There he watched help lessly as his press was dismantled and the equipment and paper were hauled away. His work was destroyed.

On February 5, 1940, he was brought to the concentration camp at Stutthof. After two months he was sent to Sachsenhausen to a life of brutal treatment and forced labor. But even in these circumstances he exhibited gentleness, modesty, serenity and concern for others — as testified by the survivors who knew him.

Blessed Stanislaus Kubista was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 13, 1999, together with three companions from the Society of the Divine Word as part of a group of 107 Polish martyrs of the Second World War.

SOURCE: Society of the Divine Word

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