The couple was friends with their Jewish neighbors, including those they later helped hide during World War II.
Operation “Reinhardt,” a program aimed at murdering all of the Jews in Germany-occupied Poland, began to be implemented in the Ulma family’s area of Poland in late July and early August 1942.
The Nazis began to deport the roughly 120 Jews in the Markowa area to a labor camp and extermination camp. Approximately 54 Jews in hiding were found and shot on Dec. 14, 1942. An additional 29 Jews continued to hide in Markowa, including the eight who found refuge with the Ulma family, likely beginning around December 1942.
Early on March 24, 1944, a Nazi patrol surrounded the home of Józef and Wiktoria Ulma on the outskirts of Markowa. They discovered the eight Jewish people hiding on the Ulma farm and executed them.
The Nazi police then killed 31-year-old Wiktoria, who was pregnant and in premature labor, and 44-year-old Józef outside their home. The Nazis then shot and killed Stanisława, 7; Barbara, 6; Władysław, 5; Franciszek, almost 4; Antoni, 2; and Maria, 1.
A new book, “Martyred and Blessed Together: The Extraordinary Story of the Ulma Family,” will be published Sept. 5.
You can find Day One of the “Novena to the Ulma Family” below:
Friday, 21st Week in Ordinary Time, Sept. 1, 2023
JESUS IS OUR BLESSING
“When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them” (Mt 5:1-2).
INTRODUCTION ABOUT THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
(Story continues below)
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In preparation for the fruitful experience of the beatification of the Ulma family on Sept. 10, for the nine consecutive days of the novena we will reflect on their path to the glory of heaven. For all Christians, this is the path of the Eight Beatitudes delivered by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:3-12). However, the martyrs of Markowa walked it to a heroic degree, which will be acknowledged by their solemn beatification. Thus, they will become genuine and living role models in the Church. During the novena, we will get to know this model and pray for the graces we need, so that we, too, following in the footsteps of the Ulma family, may persevere on our way to holiness.
We begin this novena on the first Friday of the month, gathering at the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to renew and strengthen our relationship with our only Teacher and Lord through First Friday confession and holy Communion. This is because on our own, we are unable to advance on the path to holiness and toward full happiness in the glory of heaven. It is only in Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, that we are granted access to the fullness of all God’s blessing. In him, as St. Paul indicates, “we do not lack any gift of grace” (1 Cor 1:7).
On the first day of the novena, let us desire especially the gift of God’s life and holiness. Let us open our minds and hearts to it, humbly acknowledging our weaknesses, sins, and negligence at the beginning of Holy Mass, so that we may obtain the salvation and sanctification we need from Jesus’ sacrifice.
FIRST FRIDAY DEVOTION
Personal prayer of holy Mass participants before the Blessed Sacrament guided by cues from the celebrant:
• Acknowledging in faith the presence of Jesus among us in the Blessed Sacrament, let us bless him and give thanks that in him and through him, like the Ulmas, we can experience God’s blessing, and that by the power of his Spirit we can grow in holiness and Christian perfection, overcoming the evil and sin that threaten us.
• As we pay homage to the heart of Jesus, let us apologize to him for any coldness toward him, for our ingratitude and forgetfulness. Let us thank him for all who worship the heart of Jesus, especially the martyrs from Markowa, whom the Church offers us as models to follow.