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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wojtyla's Confirmation and Cardinal Sapieha

The response of Karol Wojtyla to a challenge from Adam Cardinal Sapieha is what every hard-working DRE would hope for from the youth:

Cardinal Sapieha played a key role in Karol Wojtyła’s vocation. In 1938, he went to the town of Wadowice for confirmation. Among those confirmed was Wojtyła. Sapieha asked him what his plans for the future were. When he learned that he planned on studying Polish literature in Krakow, Sapieha lamented that he didn’t choose the seminary instead. During the war, Wojtyła studied in Sapieha’s illegal seminary. After the war, the future pope – smitten with the writings of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila – asked him if he could leave the diocesan seminary and become a Carmelite monk. Sapieha denied the request, instructing him to instead finish what he had started. (Many believe that Sapieha was in part motivated by the fact that Poland, whose clergy was murdered on a massive scale in concentration camps, desperately needed new diocesan priests.)

I recall teaching Confirmation classes in Detroit and praying for responses like Wojtyla's.  More often than not, however, the students wanted to be confirmed simply for the Quinceañera which was promised them by their padres...After that celebration though, what next?  Hopefully both men and women would desire Carmel like Wojtyla!

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