Blessed Jadwiga Karolina Zak

Blessed Maria Imelda of the Eucharistic JesusAlso known as

  • Hedvig Karolina Zak
  • Sister Maria Imelda of the Eucharistic Jesus

Memorial

Profile

Professed religious, joining the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth on 13 May 1911, taking the name Maria Imelda of the Eucharistic Jesus. She moved to Nowogródek in 1936. School teacher. Noted for her intense spiritual life and for her spiritual leadership in the lay community. One of the Martyrs of Nowogrodek.

Born

Died

  • machine-gunned by firing squad on 1 August 1943 by the Gestapo about three miles outside Novogrudok (Nowogródek), Hrodzyenskaya voblasts’, in Nazi occupied Belarus
  • buried on the site of the execution in a common grave
  • one of their surviving sisters, Maria Malgorzata Banas, located the grave on 19 March 1945 and tended to it until her death in 1966
  • relics re-interred in a common sarcophagus in the chapel of the Novograd Farny Church (the Church of the Transfiguration, also known as Biala Fara or the White Church)

Venerated

Beatified

Readings

I cordially greet the pilgrims from Poland and Belarus. I extend a particular greeting to the Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who have come here to thank God for the gift of the beatification of their 11 sisters, the martyrs of Nowogródek. In commemorating these heroic Nazareth Sisters, Jesus’ words come to mind: “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (cf. John 15:13). They perfectly confirmed the truth of these words by their lives filled with devotion and by their death. Before the war and during the occupation, they zealously served the inhabitants of Nowogródek, participating actively in pastoral care and education and engaging in various works of charity. Their love for those among whom they fulfilled their mission took on special significance during the horror of the Nazi invasion. Together and unanimously they offered their lives to God, asking in exchange that the lives of the mothers and fathers of families and that of the local pastor be spared. The Lord graciously accepted their sacrifice and, we believe, abundantly rewarded them in his glory. Today, together with the entire Congregation of Nazareth Sisters, let us praise God for this grace, through which the religious charism and human zeal were able to yield such marvellous fruits of martyrdom. May the blood of these blessed sisters be the seed of new religious vocations and a support for many on the ways of holiness. May the new blesseds, Maria Stella Mardosewicz and her 10 sisters, intercede with God for all the people of Belarus, whom I cordially greet. Pope Saint John Paul II, greeting the pilgrims on 6 March 2000 who had come to Rome for the beatification recognition of the Martyrs of Nowogródek

God was also a true “protector and helper” for the martyrs of Nowogródek – for Blessed Maria Stella Mardosewicz and her 10 sisters, professed religious of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth. For them he was a helper throughout their lives and at the moment of their terrible test, when for an entire night they awaited death; he was a helper especially on the way to the place of execution, and finally at the moment they were shot. Where did these women find the strength to give themselves in exchange for the lives of imprisoned residents of Nowogródek? From where did they draw the courage to accept calmly the death sentence that was so cruel and unjust? God had slowly prepared them for this moment of greater trial. He sowed the seed of his grace in their hearts at the time of holy Baptism and then, tended with great care and responsibility, it developed firm roots and bore the most beautiful fruit, which is the gift of life. Christ says: “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Yes, there is no greater love than this: to be ready to lay down one’s life for one’s brothers and sisters. We thank you, O blessed martyrs of Nowogródek, for your witness of love, for your example of Christian heroism and for your trust in the power of the Holy Spirit. “Christ chose and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit in your lives and that your fruit should abide” (cf. Jn 15:16). You are the greatest inheritance of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth. You are the inheritance of the whole Church of Christ for ever! – homily of Pope Saint John Paul II during the beatification recognition Mass of the Martyrs of Nowogródek

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Jadwiga Karolina Zak“. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 October 2017. Web. 21 November 2017. <>