Cardinal Wyszynski is credited with helping to conserve Christianity in Poland during the Communist regime’s persecution 1945-1989.
As Archbishop of Warsaw and Gniezno from 1948 to 1981, Wyszynksi was placed under house arrest by Communist authorities for three years for refusing to punish priests active in the Polish resistance against the Communist regime.
“The fear of an apostle is the first ally of his enemies,” Wyszynski wrote in his notes while under arrest. “The lack of courage is the beginning of defeat for a bishop,” he wrote.
Wyszynski was also instrumental in the approval of Karol Wojtyla (the future Pope John Paul II) as archbishop of Krakow in 1964. The two remained close in the years that followed.
St. John Paul II biographer George Weigel has called Wyszynski “a canny and tough-minded negotiator,” who deftly resisted Vatican Ostpolitik with the Communist regime.
When Pope Pius XII selected Wyszynski to be made a cardinal in 1953, the regime prevented the Polish prelate from traveling to Rome.
Born in the village of Zuzela in eastern Mazovia (at the time, part of the Russian Empire) in 1901, Wyszynski went on to be ordained a priest at age 24, celebrating his first Mass at the Jasna Gora Shrine in Czestochowa. He served as a military chaplain during the Warsaw uprising against the Germans in 1944, and was made bishop of Lublin in 1946.
Wyszynski died 15 days after Pope John Paul II was shot in an assassination attempt in 1981. Unable to attend the funeral, John Paul II wrote in a letter to the people of Poland, “Meditate particularly on the figure of the unforgettable primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski of venerated memory, his person, his teaching, his role in such a difficult period of our history.”
Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree concerning Wyszynski and seven others on the path to sainthood in a meeting Oct. 2 with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the congregation.
The pope also approved miracles attributed to two Italian Venerable Servants of God: Fr. Francesco Mottola and Alessandra Sabattini, and the martyrdom of Spanish layman Juan Roig Diggle and Brazilian Benigna Cardoso da Silva.
In the promulgation, the Vatican recognized the heroic virtues of Italian Bishop Augusto Cesare Bertazzoni, French Fr. Louis Querbes, and Spanish nun Maria Francisca of the Child Jesus.