VATICAN CITY OSV News – In his greetings to Polish-speaking pilgrims during his general audience Aug. 30, Pope Francis noted a novena beginning in many Polish parishes Sept. 1 offered "spiritual preparation" ahead of the Sept. 10 beatification of the martyred Ulma family in Markowa, Poland.
"May the example of this heroic family, who sacrificed their lives in order to save persecuted Jews, help you to understand that one grows up to holiness and heroic deeds through faithfulness in small, everyday things. I bless you from my heart," he said.
PHOTO ALBUM- The Ulma Family
Pray the Novena HERE.
The novena, a nine-day prayer, was written by Father Stanislaw Harezga, a biblical studies professor at The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, for the Archdiocese of Przemysl. The English translation was prepared by the Holy See's Dicastery for Communication.
The novena prays through the lens of the Eight Beatitudes for the increase of the virtues lived by the Ulmas.
In 1944, after discovering the eight Jewish people the Ulmas were hiding on their farm near Markowa, Poland, Nazi police executed them. Then they executed 44-year-old Józef Ulma and 32-year-old Wiktoria Ulma, who was advanced in her pregnancy, and their six other children – Stanislawa, 8; Barbara, 7; Wladyslaw, 6; Franciszek, 4; Antoni, 3; and Maria, 1 – as a warning to other Polish families who might try to shelter Jews.
The beatification may be the first time the Catholic church has beatified an entire, specific family together, as well as the first beatification of an unborn child.
Pope Francis signed the decree recognizing the Ulma family's martyrdom Dec. 17, 2022, his 86th birthday, paving the way for the Ulmas' beatification. For beatification, the church conducts a thorough investigation of the person's life and writings to determine whether he or she lived a life of heroic virtue, offered his or her life for another, or was killed for the sake of Jesus Christ.