Saturday, July 28, 2012

Blessed Fr. Franciszek Drzewiecki, FDP

born at Zduny (Lowicz - Poland), killed in hatred of the faith at Dachau (Germany) on 13th September 1942, at 34 years of age, 11 of religious Profession and 6 of Priesthood.
Francis entered the seminary of Zdunska Wola (Poland) as a teenager. After the grammar and philosophy schools, he went to Italy in 1931, to the Mother House of Tortona, for the noviciate and the study of theology. Ordained priest on June 6th 1936, he dedicated the first few months of his priesthood to the Little Cottolengo of Genova Castagna. 

He returned to Poland at the end of 1937 and continued his work of teacher in the college of Zdunska Wola. In the summer of 1939 he was given the charge of the "Sacred Heart" Parish and of the Little Cottolengo of Wloclawek. Here he was overtaken by the Nazi September 1st invasion that soon became open persecution against the Catholic Church. On the 7th November of the same 1939, Father Francis, together with almost all the clergy of the diocese, was arrested and put in jail. A long "via crucis" of humiliations and sufferings brought him to various concentration camps and finally to Dachau. His fellow prisoners remember him as a "good man and a holy priest who edified by his kindness and attention".

After two years of hardship and privations, forced labour and heroic witness of strength and charity, he was killed on 13th September 1942. As he was being led to death, Father Francis affirmed calmly and willingly: "We are going… But we will offer, as Polish men, our lives for God, for the Church and for our country". These were his last words. Charity, the fruit of his habitual union with God, was the real framework of his life. It made him, first a model clerical student, then a zealous teacher and pastor and, lastly, it sustained him and carried him in the last horrible trial and death in the concentration camp. John Paul II proclaimed him blessed on 13th June 1999.

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