May 16th 1657 - Bobola Andreas
† in Janow near Pinsk
Andreas Bobola came of a noble family which had emigrated about 1300 from Bohemia to Poland. He was born in the year 1592 in Sandromir. There he was pupil of the Jesuit College. His entrance into the Order took place at the Ignatius Feast, on July 31st 1611 in Wilna. His family had donated the noviciate in Wilna.
After his ordination on March 12th 1622 he launched into a sacrificing and successful activity as preacher, missionary and leader of congregations. By his toiling whole localities became Catholic again. Thus he excited the increasing hatred of the schismatic Cossacks. Wherever they passed through the country they left conflagrations and devastations. The archbishop of Polock fell victim to them. He bled to death by the thrusts of their knives. Many members of religious orders suffered a bloody death, among them thirty Jesuits.
In the year 1657 a horde of Cossacks approached the city Pinsk. The Fathers and Brothers of the college had to flee. Bobola fled to the neighbouring Janow. There he was discovered. The Cossacks promised to spare him if he accepted the schism. On his refusal the whole rage of the fanatics was inflamed. The select tortures, with which they tormented Bobola to death, belong to the cruellest in the history of martyrs. Thus Bobola completed his witness for the Catholic faith on May 16th 1657.
After the departure of the Cossacks his body was buried in the College Church of Pinsk. In the year 1922 the Bolshevists robbed it and brought it to the Medical Museum in Moscow.
Two American Jesuits, members of the papal relief work for the mitigation of the Russian famine, succeeded in moving the Soviets to make the pope a gift with the precious relic. Under various adventures Father Galagher brought in 1923 the martyr's body in the diplomat's luggage to Rome. Pius XI let it first deposit in a chapel of the Vatican, and in May 1924 solemnly transfer into the church Il Gesu, where it rests beside the altar of St Francis Xaver.
The beatification of Andreas Bobola took place under Pope Gregor XVI on November 30th 1835.
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