Feast of Bl. Bronislava of Zwierzniec, O. Praem.
(b. 1203, † August 29, 1259)
- Crux gemmata = Jeweled cross
- Lilies = Virginity
- Cave of solitude = Refuge
Bronislava was born at the castle of Kamien in Upper Silesia in 1203. Her family was of Polish origin and devoted to the Gregorian reform movement. She grew up in an atmosphere deeply influenced by the Crusades, and devotion to the Holy Cross would characterize her entire life. When Bronislava was 16 years old she entered the cloister of the Norbertine nuns at Zwierzyniec in Cracow, Poland. Bronislava’s devout prayer life, her meditation on the Passion of Christ, and her veneration of the Holy Cross left a deep impression on her contemporaries.
When the Tartars invaded Cracow in 1241, Bronislava, holding the Cross in her hand, encouraged her sisters with the words, “Do not be afraid, the Cross will save us.” The barbarians left behind a track of misery. In the same year a pestilence also ravaged this region. In every difficult challenge, Bronislava was an “angel of consolation” to the people in their need. The local people considered her their patroness on whom they could count when they needed protection. Her help and protection was the Cross. During her grave afflictions, she withdrew to the solitude of a local hill where she entrusted her troubles and the troubles of others to the mercy of God.
Bronislava died on August 29, 1259. Her body was taken to the convent church where she was invoked as a saint. Her relics were placed in a precious reliquary and carried in solemn procession each year on the anniversary of her death. Pope Gregory XVI declared her blessed on August 23, 1839. The Polish bishops introduced her canonization process in 1947 under Pope Pius XII but the process was hindered by the 40 years of communist rule in Poland.
Date(s) - August 30, 2017