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Catholic Heroes… Servant of God Rozalia Celak

September 20, 2018 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

The closer one comes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the hotter the flame, as many saints have attested. St. Catherine of Siena bore the marks in her heart where the arrow of Christ’s love pierced it. With the flame of the burning love, the Sacred Heart touches those whom He loves in a special way.
To show our love for God, we must be willing to embrace the cross and suffering as He did when He died for us. Servant of God Rozalia Celak suffered both physically and spiritually as she sought to do all for the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The history of Poland is scarred by the many kingdoms and imperialists who confiscated lands, moved borders, and displaced people to further their nationalism. Despite the many trials the Poles have suffered, their faith in God has endured, providing the world with a number of great and holy persons — especially during the last century.
On September 19, 1901 Rozalia Celak was born, destined to live during difficult times, as did Pope St. John Paul II and Sr. Faustina. Her parents, Tomasz and Joanna, raised a devout Catholic family of eight children of whom Rozalia was the eldest.
They provided them with a solid foundation of Catholic teachings and devotions. From a very young age Rozalia felt called to follow the Blessed Virgin Mary on a very spiritual journey leading to God’s Kingdom. Hence, before she even received Jesus in her First Holy Communion, she already had a great love of Him — to Jesus through Mary.
Not surprisingly, that event was the occasion of her first mystical experience which she fondly recalled. In her heart, she heard a lovely voice say to her, “My child, love me since my Heart loved you first [1 John 4:19], love me for the whole world. I shall extend the space of your heart and fill it with love so that you could reciprocate my love.”
Increasing from that moment, her love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and for the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus became her entire life.
In 1917 her first trials — a sure sign of divine intimacy — began. These took the form of both spiritual and physical trials. Her body was first afflicted as she contracted a serious illness which the doctors could not diagnose and cure. Unable to get out of bed for many months, she had nowhere and no one to whom she could turn for help — except One.
Once again through Mary, Rozalia prayed to Jesus by reciting the Novena to the Suffering of the Virgin Mary. On the ninth day of the novena when she completed her prayers she recovered just as inexplicably and quickly as she had fallen ill. Such an astonishing recovery left everyone stunned.
She counted her sufferings as a blessing because through them she learned that suffering leads to holiness, a holiness founded on love. This lesson better prepared her for the much more difficult spiritual suffering on the horizon.
Three years later her “Dark Night” began — this lasted six years. Like many saints before her, she said that this spiritual suffering was much worse than the physical suffering, “When my soul experienced constant torment, I gradually lost our Lord from my sight. I was emerged in darkness so deep that the human mind becomes totally helpless.”
In 1925 the last year of her torment, she suffered the most. She had a vision of Hell and believed that she was there. She perspired profusely, her eyes became severely bloodshot, and she felt as though she were burning in flames as she heard voices taunting her, “Today everything shall come to an end for you.” Then she fainted into unconsciousness. When she finally awoke, it was as though she had been transported to Heaven. Having survived the six years of testing, she attained peace, feeling the constant presence of God for the rest of her life.
In August 1924, Rozalia began working at St. Lazarus Hospital in the dermatology and venereal disease ward where she believed the Lord wanted her. In another cause for suffering, she witnessed how evil people could be as they cursed, blasphemed, and hated others. This she thought was truly Hell on Earth.
Thus, in 1928, she left and attempted to join the Order of St. Clare in Krakow, but she heard a voice tell her it was not the place for her. Rozalia tried to stay, but once again, her health failed, forcing her to leave. She returned to the hospital after she saw a vision in which she saw our Lord being scourged by the patients in the ward.
With the assistance of Mary, Rozalia learned to love Jesus more and more each day, asking Mary after every Holy Communion to help her love Jesus more and more. Her time in the Real Presence of the Holy Eucharist transformed her love for Jesus. “In all circumstances throughout my life, all matters are resolved before Our Lord in the Holy Sacrament.”
Her quest to be with Jesus was facilitated by the nearby Basilica of the Heart of Jesus. Each day before work, she attended Mass and then she spent hours after work in prayer and adoration. Her mystical experiences continued as she quickly advanced in holiness. God revealed to her His merciful love and — as promised at her First Holy Communion — her heart began to swell with love of Him.
She burned with an unquenchable desire to love God more and more. He showed her how people can beautifully express their love for Him to save the world from its cruelty, selfishness, and immorality.
Rozalia continued to surrender herself completely to God so He could use her as He wished. He requested that He be recognized as King of Poland in 1930 and that people should embrace suffering.
She felt unequal to the task and turned to her spiritual director, Fr. Kazimierz Dobrzycki. In September 1937 she received another vision that she related to Fr. Dobrzycki. She told him if Poland did not dedicate the country to Jesus as King that there would be much suffering — and so it came in World War II. Only countries where Christ reigned would survive.
For the next seven years that vision and similar ones continued. One of the most disturbing visions showed our Lord holding the Earth in His hands and when the world failed to enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it cracked into pieces.
In 1944, as Rozalia’s heart longed to fulfill our Lord’s request, she began to fail. The hard hospital labor, disease, and sorrow weakened her. She received Holy Communion, burst into tears, and died after making the Sign of the Cross. It was 2 a.m. on September 13, 1944.
Dear Rozalia, what love you had for Christ through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please help our besieged Church which is suffering so much. Just as you hungered for God’s children to embrace suffering in reparation for the sins, help us by your prayers to embrace fasting, prayer, and penance in order to bring peace, unity, and purity to Holy Mother Church. Amen.

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(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

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