Vatican approves miracle of Polish Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski

Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski and St John Paul II Photo Courtesy of Adam Bujak Bialy Kruk CNA Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski and St. John Paul II, then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. Photo Courtesy of Adam Bujak/Bialy Kruk.

The Vatican announced Thursday approval of a miracle attributed to Venerable Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the former primate of Poland known for his heroic resistance to Communism.

The miracle involved the healing of a 19 year-old woman from thyroid cancer in 1989. After the young woman received the incurable diagnosis, a group of Polish nuns began praying for her healing through the intercession of Cardinal Wyszynski, who had died himself of abdominal cancer in 1981.

In the 30 years since her complete healing through Wyszynski's intercession, the woman has experienced no tumor remission, a spokesperson for the Polish Bishops' Conference told CNA.

With the Vatican approval of the miracle, Venerable Cardinal Wyszynski can now be beatified.

"Great joy for the Church in Poland!" Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki of Poznan reacted to the news Oct. 3. "We are glad that the beatification of the Primate of the Millennium will be soon."

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.

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