Observing the life of St. Papczyński, we notice that it was committed to apostolic service. At school, from the pulpit, in confessional, or at his desk, he proclaimed the word of God everywhere in speech and writing, emphasizing particularly the need to care for those wronged by the society. His work illustrated the beliefs proclaimed in “Templum Dei Mysticum”: “O how admirable are those who mutually work with Christ, and, solely out of love for Him, sincerely and zealously announce all that is essential for salvation, for leading a Christian life, for rooting out vices, and increasing virtues. This is the greatest and most fruitful work of mercy.”
In his apostolate and spiritual life he put special attention on proclaiming the glory of Mary Immaculate, helping Poor Souls in Purgatory, and fighting the vice of drunkenness.
Two centuries before the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception St. Stanislaus professed: “I believe everything that the holy Roman Church believes, but first of all I profess that the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, was conceived without any stain of original sin.” This privilege of the Immaculate Conception was very precious to him. He talked about it in sermons and wrote extensively on the subject. Like a knight of old, who pledged to defend the honor of his lady, in 1670 he made a “vow of blood” witnessing his readiness to lay down his life if necessary in honor of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. He not only faithfully kept his vow in the living of his life, but he also called into existence a religious order dedicated in the heart of the Church to promoting the Immaculate Conception. Saint Father Papczyński lived in times illustrated by the Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz in his “Trilogy”, describing the Cossack wars, the Swedish invasion of Poland, and finally, the Polish army’s victory at Vienna. He himself accompanied Polish troops in battles against Turks in Ukraine in 1674, and witnessed that many people left this world without being prepared to meet their Maker. He often experienced mystical visions of the Poor Souls in Purgatory after which he would say to his confreres: “Brethren, pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory for their sufferings are unbearable.” Compelled by love, he supported those souls with his prayer and sacrifices. He bequeathed this charism to the religious family that he founded.
Father Stanislaus declared war against his contemporaries’ vice of drunkenness. Without fear of people’s disapproval, he directed his fellow-Marians: “Use of vodka is strictly forbidden, both at home and outside, under the loss of Divine blessing. This is to honor our Lord’s thirsting on the Cross.”
In the opinion many people St. Papczyński’s life was holy. This belief gave grounds for opening the beatification cause in 1767, which was interrupted in 1775.
However, as we take a closer look at the program that he proclaimed by his word and example of life, we may notice that it represents a pious legacy of Polish national history and it did not lose any of its immediate relevancy. As is true of so many other countries today, drunkenness continues to remain one of Poland’s principal vices. Today, it is necessary as before, to present Our Blessed Mother, Immaculately Conceived, as our unfailing guide on the road to God, while teaching the people that “we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come” (Heb 13:14). And it is still essential to give every possible support to souls still undergoing purification from sins committed during the earthly pilgrimage.
For all these reasons St. Papczyński’s beatification process was reopened in 1953. But because such a long time has passed since the Servant of God’s death, this process must be accomplished “historically” which means that documents need to be searched for testimonies on St. Papczyński’s life and virtues. Those documents were prepared and gathered in a 1000-page manuscript called “Positio”. On February 28, 1980, the National Conference of Bishops in Poland petitioned the Holy Father to elevate St. Papczyński to the altars as a model of Christian life. Similar petitions have been sent to His Holiness by major superiors of male and female congregations in Poland. Based on this evidence, on November 28, 1980, the Congregation for Saints made a decision that St. Papczyński’s beatification cause may be brought before the Apostolic Tribunal. The Holy Father approved this decision on March 6, 1981, which indicated another giant step forward in the process of beatification.
In the years 1981-1982, a process de non cultu was conducted in Warsaw. The decree super validitate Processus (regarding the validity of the diocesan process) was promulgated in 1990. Further evaluations of Positio super Virtutibus were also conducted. Then, on January 22, 1991, during an Ordinary Congress of the Congregation, chaired by Anthony Petti, General Promoter of the Faith, the theological consultants stated that the Servant of God practiced virtues to a heroic degree.
On March 17, 1992, after having listened to the report delivered by Paulino Limongi, Titular Archbishop of Nice in Hemimont, the Cardinals and Bishops gathered at an Ordinary Congregation stated that Saint Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczyński practiced the theological virtues, the cardinal virtues, and other virtues associated with these, to a heroic degree.
After the results of the research conducted by the Cardinal Prefect, Angelus Cardinal Felici, had been presented to Pope John Paul II, the Holy Father gladly accepted the decision of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of the Saints and ordered that the decree on the Servant of God’s heroic virtues be prepared.
On June 13, 1992, the Holy Father invited the Cardinal Prefect, the relators of the cause, the Secretary of the congregation, and other people who are usually summoned in such circumstances and, in the presence of all gathered with regard to the cause and its result, solemnly announced that:
It is considered to be a certain thing that Saint Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczyński practiced the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, and other virtues associated with these, to a heroic degree.
The Pope ordered that this decree be made public and kept in the acts of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Father Stanislaus Papczyński was solemnly beatified at the Marian Shrine in Licheń by a special delegate of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI – His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See on September 16, 2007. Many cardinals and bishops from around the world attended the ceremony along with about 80,000 faithful, while thousands followed the live broadcast on radio and television. The process for the canonization of Saint Father Stanislaus continues.
Many people report graces obtained through the intercession of St. Stanislaus. So we hope that we will see the Saint Stanislaus Papczyński raised to the glory of sainhood. To a large extent, this depends on our prayers for that intention.