September 18 – Feast of St. Stanisław Kostka, patron of Poland

“He lived shortly but he reached the fullness of a long life. We all know these words, which are a synthesis of our Saint’s life, a truly extraordinary figure: in such a short time he managed to achieve a great maturity of Christian and religious vocation. This holy patron of Polish youth has accompanied me for a long time, in my youth and afterwards, constantly. He accompanied me in Rome when I was a student at the Belgian College nearby. Almost every day I was coming to him to look for spiritual light and help (…). His short life from Rostków in Mazovia through Vienna to Rome was a great race of every Christian, which is sanctity. When we find ourselves in this extraordinary form, our thoughts immediately go to the youth of the whole world (…). Yes, Saint Stanisław had a difficult youth, although he was from a very rich family, aristocratic, almost royal, he had a difficult youth. Young people today have difficult youth in Poland, sometimes it seems to me that they are unable to meet the challenges, sometimes they are looking for a way out of their homeland. For all of those who leave their homeland and those who remain, let Saint Stanisław Kostka will be the patron – patron of the difficult paths of Polish life and Christian life. Let us seek constant help for all Polish youth.”

                John Paul II