May 30: Blessed Marta Maria Wiecka

Blessed Marta Maria Wiecka, 1874 – 1904

Ukraine’s Blessed Wiecka a “Hymn to Life”

Cardinal Bertone Urges Defense of Person in Every Stage

LVIV, Ukraine, MAY 27, 2008 ( The testimony of newly beatified Martha Mary Wiecka is a hymn to life and a model of the importance of living for others, affirmed Benedict XVI’s secretary of state.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said this Saturday when he presided over her beatification ceremony in Lviv, Ukraine.

The Polish religious, of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, died of typhus after deciding to replace a medical assistant who was to disinfect a patient’s room in the hospital of Sniatyn. The nun’s heroic deed “has never been forgotten,” Cardinal Bertone said, as reported by L’Osservatore Romano.

Love always conquers and the mission of Christians is “to bear witness to the victory of love at every occasion of life,” he added.

The love of the Lord, to which Sister Martha Mary Wiecka (1874-1904) bore witness, “overcomes human weakness and converts the heart of man to the love of life, of his neighbor, including his enemies,” explained the cardinal.

The prelate stressed that the religious offers an exemplary model of the importance of “living to serve one another.”

“God is love, and we love him — he who is invisible to our eyes — if we love our neighbor whom we see, to the point of shedding blood, if it is necessary,” he affirmed.

During Soviet times

Cardinal Bertone said that the beatification of Sister Wiecka was the fulfillment of the “desire of the Ukrainian people to raise to the glory of the altar a daughter of theirs.”

He recalled that during the Soviet era, the nun’s tomb was a “symbol of popular unity and example of genuine ecumenical dialogue.”

Addressing the religious of Sister Martha Mary’s congregation and Ukrainian health agents, Cardinal Bertone reminded them that “man is body and spirit.”

“In curing the body of the one who suffers, do not forget that, for a true and profound cure of the whole man, it is indispensable to also keep in mind the spiritual needs of the human creature,” he stressed.

“How important then, is the encounter with God for those who are sick and suffering,” the Vatican official emphasized. “How important it is to always defend and promote the culture of life and of love, which will be an effective contrast to the culture of death, with its sad and worrying manifestations.”

Sister Martha Mary Wiecka, left as a legacy a “hymn to life,” he said, exhorting us to “love human life and to defend it in all its phases, from conception until its natural end.”

© Innovative Media, Inc.

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