August 15th 1568 - Stanislaus Kostka
† in Rome
In the short time of his life he realized his motto 'Ad maiora natus sum' (I am born for major things).
His family belonged to the highest aristocracy of Poland. He was born on the Castle Rostkow (Diocese Plock) on October 28th 1550. At the age of fourteen he travelled with his older brother Paul and a house teacher to Vienna, for further education by the Jesuits. They lived at first in the Order's boarding school for noblemen.
During the two academic years in Vienna Stanislaus had, because of his devoutness, much to suffer by his brother Paul, the house teacher and another Pole. When they were old, those three confessed amid tears how they had often struck Stanislaus, thrown him upon the ground, and kicked at him.
Stanislaus felt destined to enter the Society of Jesus. First he tried to win his father John. But he turned down his request decidedly and vehemently. Stanislaus did not succeed to talk him over. Then he addressed in a spirit of mutual confidence Father Lorenz Maggi, the Provincial of the Austrian Province. But he feared reprisals on the part of the influential family Kostka. Then Stanislaus addressed the papal legate in Vienna, Cardinal Gommendone. But that too was in vain. Stanislaus saw his only chance in the escape to Germany or even to Rome. Dressed as beggar he set out to Augsburg and Dillingen, where he met Petrus Canisius, then Provincial of the Upper German Province, and told him his request.
Canisius listened to him friendly and benevolently. He kept him first in Dillingen to examine his character and his virtues.
When after approximately one month two Scholastics travelled to Rome, Stanislaus was allowed to accompany them.
In a letter to Father General Francisco de Borja he recommended the young Pole. His judgement read: 'Nos praeclara de illo speramus ' (we hope outstanding things of him).
Borja granted the admission joyfully. On October 28th 1567 Stanislaus began the noviciate. Among the about sixty fellow novices were famous men, such as Claudius Aquaviva (later General of the Jesuit Order), his nephew Rudolf Aquaviva (later beatified martyr in India), Jakobs Rem (later promoter of the Sodality of Our Lady), several considerable theologians and others, as Stanislaus Warczewicki (in former times chancellor in Poland) who was already 41 years old.
In the middle of the joy of the noviciate arrived a terrible threatening letter from Stanislaus' father. He was furious about the escape of his son who had brought insult and dishonour over the House Kostka now. He would let him bring back to Poland, bound in iron chains.
The death of Stanislaus came completely unexpectedly. One did not believe him, as he who seemed completely healthy, foretold his death on August 15th 1568, the feast of Our Lady's Assumption.
Together with Aloisius he was canonized on December 31st 1726.
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