Do Everything Out of Love for God

In 2001 and 2008, in the Parish of Our Lady Queen of the Apostles in Ełk (northeast Poland), in which Perpetual Adoration has continued for 20 years, two spectacular miracles of physical healing took place through the intercession of St. Stanisław Papczyński. Who is this exceptional saint recently elevated to the glory of the Altars?

St. Stanisław Papczyński continues to be somewhat overshadowed by other great Polish saints. In his lifetime, he did not perform any spectacular acts and neither did he die for the faith as a martyr. The main work he accomplished was the product of his quiet, ascetic and humble life, permeated by prayer and sacrifice. He was responsible for the foundation of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary – the first male religious congregation founded in Poland. This achievement was born in pain. Before it came to pass, Fr. Stanisław suffered through a period of persecution, unjust accusations, harassment and even imprisonment. He accepted all these troubles and tribulations in the spirit of humility and mortification. In his life, which was filled by his work and love for God and his neighbor, he showed true heroism of virtue, meriting the highest praise. This attitude was possible only through his profound spiritual life, which was fully united in prayer with the true and living Jesus.

Saved to Save Others

Father Papczyński was born in the village of Podegrodzie, near Stary Sącz in southern Poland, on May 18, 1631 to a large peasant family. He was christened after John the Baptist. His father tilled the land and was a blacksmith. For many years, he conscientiously and unselfishly served as the village elder and administrator of the parish estate. John’s mother was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis and a rosary confraternity. She was known for her devotion to Our Lady and St. Anne as well as showing a sense of great patience and sacrificial love. His upbringing in this spirit left an indelible trace on the character of the future saint and was the source of his special devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Even before he was born, John was offered to God. This happened when his pregnant mother was crossing the swollen Dunajec River in a boat during a storm. Waves struck with such force that the woman fell overboard and almost drowned. In a trustful prayer, she offered herself and her unborn child to Jesus and the Virgin Mary. She was miraculously saved and gave birth soon afterwards. This event marked the entire life and work of St. Stanisław, whose mission had been to save souls from eternal damnation, which often resulted in the miraculous healing of the sick and dying.
The life of Fr. Stanisław abounded in signs given by Divine Providence. As a little boy, he had trouble learning so he asked the Virgin Mary for help and she did not let him down. He became an exemplary pupil and with time one of the finest minds of his age. While on a visit to Lwów, he fell ill with fever and his body became covered in sores. Evicted from his quarters, homeless and sick, he begged God to save him. He was cared for by a stranger – an angel, so to speak. Soon, Fr. Papczyński recovered. Two more times, he fell gravely ill and was miraculously saved each time.

He devoted his life to God, first as a Piarist (it was then that he chose his monastic name Stanisław of Jesus and Mary) and later as the founder of the Congregation of Marian Fathers, to whom he entrusted the spreading of the cult of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, praying for the dead and assisting parishioners. He received help in his apostolic work from a special divine power. In Lubocza, he successfully pleaded for the healing of a boy who had been run over and crushed by a wagon. After prayer and encouragement by Fr. Stanisław to get up and serve at Mass, the dying boy jumped out of bed and went to the chapel healed. On another occasion, a lady from Racibórz brought her already dead daughter to Fr. Stanisław. He ordered the child to be laid on a table in the middle of the church and began to celebrate Mass. During the Elevation, the girl returned to life! People, watching Stanisław’s saintly life, were convinced that he was able to plead with God to give them help. He, on his part, willingly prayed for others, returning what he himself had received: deliverance.

The Thorny Path to Sainthood

The life of Fr. Papczyński was marked by suffering. Faithful to the spirit of the founder of the Piarist Order, he zealously defended its historical rule and the right to choose superiors in the province. He firmly and tenaciously protested against a tendency to weaken the rule. Then, his confreres began accusing him of sedition and this resulted in a revolt. He was summoned to Rome by the Superior-General and upon his return home, after being cleared, he was abducted and locked up in a seclusion cell for several months. This period was called by Fr. Papczyński “protracted martyrdom”. During his detainment, he sought strength and support in the Cross of Christ. This experience spawned the book, Christus Patiens, containing contemplations of the Lord’s Passion, based on excerpts from the Gospels. Finally, guided by true love and the desire to restore peace to the divided province, Fr. Stanisław asked to be allowed to leave the Piarist Order in 1669. His request was granted in 1670. In the same year, he founded a new congregation under the original name of the Society of Marian Clerics of the Immaculate Conception.

Father Papczyński led a profoundly spiritual life, attempting by prayer and sacrifice to obtain what he earlier unsuccessfully sought through his writings. He resolved to offer God all his difficulties and suffering “and death itself if it happens” as penance for his sins and to “avert disasters in the Homeland” but most importantly “out of love for Him”. Tireless in the propagation of the cult of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, he promoted Marian fraternities. He also came to be known as a gifted theologian, educator, preacher, parish organizer and a master of the spiritual life. He was also confessor to the future Pope Innocent XII and advisor to the Polish King John III Sobieski. On top of that, Father Stanisław proved to be a zealous patriot. At a time when Poland and Europe struggled to achieve unity, he wrote that for peace and reconciliation among nations to prevail it must rest on God. For without God, there is no true social justice nor lasting peace.
Father Papczyński died with the aura of sainthood in Góra Kalwaria on September 17, 1701 as the Superior-General of the Marian Fathers. For a long time after his death, his body remained intact. In the 18th century, many cases of miraculous healing were carried out through his intercession. This led the Marian Fathers to have Fr. Stanisław raised to the glory of Altars.

“All That We Have We Owe to Mary”

Let us remember that the founder of the congregation, devoted to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, was already entrusted to Her while he was still in his mother’s womb. The Virgin Mary saved his life then and on many other occasions. This is one of the reasons why Fr. Stanisław chose these words as his motto: “All that we have we owe to Mary and it is in Her, after God, that we live, move and are.” In founding a new congregation, Fr. Papczyński took the following vow: “I, Stanisław of Jesus and Mary Papczyński … offer and devote to God … and to the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, immaculately conceived, my heart, soul, reason, memory and will … and my body, leaving absolutely nothing to myself so that from this moment on I am completely beholden to Almighty God and the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.”

Love for Jesus in the Eucharist

A special place in the spiritual life of Fr. Papczyński was occupied by the cult of Jesus in the Eucharist. This is what he wrote on the very nature of the Holy Communion and adoration: “‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ (John 20: 29) Keep in mind that the Son of God had you in mind for you have not seen him among people with your eyes and yet you believe in him today that he is actually present on the altar, hidden under the appearance of bread; you have adored him and received him as a guest into your heart. Praise the Lord for this illumination and receive him most solemnly. As of now, act so that he does not have to tell you: ‘Blessed are those who have not eaten me nor received any grace from me today and yet they love me more than you do and try to please me, they suffer for me more than you do and seek perfection with a greater effort than you do.'” As a comment on this he said, “Receive Holy Communion with utmost humility, purity, piety, love and desire. Then, it will be your solace and eternal salvation … Oh, what food it is! What nutrition! What a blessed meal that at the same time internally purifies our souls and provides refreshment! It averts sickness and gives new strength! It is medicine and food! … Just as the body is nourished by food and weakened when deprived of it, so does the Body of Jesus Christ nourish our souls. If we do not receive it often enough, our souls become faint, weak and emaciated … This is true food for the soul indeed! It nourishes the soul, supports it and saves it from death!” (Spiritual Recommendations)

Defender of Life

Father Stanisław Papczyński is considered the patron of defenders of life and the promoter of the defense of life from conception to natural death. He is also the patron of families desiring offspring and of unborn children. Through his intercession, miraculous healings take place today as well. Particularly spectacular miracles took place in the parish of Our Lady Queen of the Apostles in Ełk in 2001–2008. It must be stressed that it is one of over a dozen parishes in Poland where Perpetual Adoration is held. It is also worth noting that it is one of the smallest parishes in Poland. Miracles and graces given to its parishioners have been very many indeed – they all are the fruit of the Perpetual Adoration. It is for this reason that Jesus specially rewarded this tiny parish.

The first miracle took place in 2001 and involved an unexpected restoration to life in the first trimester of pregnancy after a so-called internal miscarriage. A woman had lost her baby a year earlier due to miscarriage but became pregnant again. On March 22, 2001, due to complications and the risk of termination of her pregnancy, she was admitted to the hospital in Ełk. Three ultrasound scans, the last one performed on March 30th, showed that the fetus was developing properly – the amniotic sac measured 32 mm and the heart was beating. After being discharged from the hospital, the woman was soon readmitted. This time an ultrasound scan was worrying: the amniotic sac had shrunk to 28 mm and the heart stopped beating. The shrinking of the amniotic sac in comparison to its size on previous days meant only one thing: the child was dead. A diagnosis of internal miscarriage was made. Doctors recommended the patient stop taking pregnancy support medicines and to prepare for a spontaneous abortion. Follow-up ultrasound scans confirmed that the fetus was dead. Plans were made for a procedure removing the dead fetus if it was not spontaneously aborted. On March 28th, the family and friends of the pregnant woman started a novena through the intercession of Fr. Stanisław Papczyński to save the child. A follow-up scan (made on the eighth day of the novena, April 4th) showed the fetus measuring 42 mm and its heart beating! The examination was repeated using different equipment but the result was confirmed – the child had been restored to life. On October 17th, a healthy boy was born. Later, the woman gave birth to another child after a pregnancy without any complications. Thus, a double miracle occurred: the restoration of the fetus to life and the healing of the mother. The miracle was recognized by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints as worked by God through the intercession of Fr. Papczyński and served as grounds for his beatification process.

The second miracle took place in 2008 when a 20-year-old woman caught an innocuous cold, as doctors believed. The cold, however, grew worse but there was no indication whatsoever of the dramatic events that unfolded two months before the young woman’s wedding. After all, the girl had the prospect of a happy future with a loving husband. The young woman fainted and her fiancé carried her in his arms into the hospital. She was admitted to the lung ward in a critical condition. Soon, she was moved to the intensive care unit, where she spent as many as 35 days, having been diagnosed with pneumonia and a pneumococcal infection. An advanced stage of acute respiratory failure, evolving into a multiple-organ failure and septic shock made it necessary to connect the dying woman to a respirator. A decision was made to put her into a drug-induced coma. However, after 20 days, her condition rapidly deteriorated. The girl was on the brink of death. The doctor in charge told her mother that she was in a condition that made a recovery very unlikely and that the situation was irreversibly hopeless. The mother decided to bid farewell to her daughter because she could die at any moment. In the face of this tragedy, her family and the entire parish community began a fervent prayer. A year earlier, they had followed the beatification of Fr. Papczyński so they were very familiar with his intercession. On Wednesday of Holy Week, they began a novena through the intercession of the blessed priest. On the last day of the novena, the condition of the patient unexpectedly improved. She came out of the coma by herself and doctors were able to disconnect her from the respirator. The respiratory and circulatory failures were gone. The X-rays of her chest did not show any traces of inflammation, usually visible after pneumonia and acute respiratory failure. The X-rays showed lungs that were as clear as an infant’s without any traces of calcifications and fibrosis, in spite of the fact that the patient was a heavy smoker! Only after being discharged from the hospital did she quit smoking. The recovery was complete and permanent without leaving any traces of the illness. There were no other serious side effects either.

The woman was healed at her deathbed when a novena was offered through the intercession of Fr. Papczyński. Her treatment followed relevant medical procedures but the recovery was impossible according to medical professionals! A medical consultation held in Rome recognized that the recovery was unexplainable from a medical point of view and that it was miraculous. The miracle was recognized by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints as a work of God through the intercession of Fr. Papczyński. It served as grounds for his canonization process that ended in declaring him a saint of the Catholic Church on June 5, 2016. Both miracles point to the great value of sacramental marriage, family and parenthood.


Many people believed St. Stanisław Papczyński to be a special intercessor of God already during his lifetime. His saintly life, filled with prayer, penance and a search for God’s will, convinced his contemporaries that he would be a good mediator between them and God. They often asked him for prayer – especially for the intention of the seriously ill – and inevitably they were given help. During Masses celebrated by Fr. Stanisław, there were even cases of resurrections of dead children. Many a time, he was also seen levitating while in prayer, that is, hovering above the ground. In addition, he also had the gift of prophecy. The abundance of graces received by people praying the novena through the intercession of Fr. Stanisław Papczyński brought him the title “miracle-famous”.

Numerous witnesses by the faithful indicate Fr. Stanisław to be an effective patron of families struggling against all kinds of difficulties – those that are conflict-ridden, childless, the mothers whose pregnancies are threatened, people suffering from addictions, students, especially those who have learning problems. Father Papczyński has an unusual gift in assisting married couples wishing to conceive a child when all their attempts have failed. His intercession extends also to souls in Purgatory. St. Stanisław Papczyński was empowered to lavish special graces on the dying and the dead. He called this gift selfless love and the supreme act of mercy.

Prayer for grace through the intercession of St. Stanisław Papczyński

Saint Father Stanisław, kind intercessor with God, defender of the persecuted and patron of threatened life, you have always zealously served Jesus and his Immaculate Mother in saving immortal souls and always showed mercy on any misery. Confident in your intercession I fall back on you and ask you not to withhold your help from me. Intercede with God to give me the grace of … for which I ask you with confidence and help me carry out the will of the Heavenly Father in my entire life. Amen. Our Father …
Hail Mary…
Glory be to the Father …