Pope Francis has announced the canonization date for the Founder of the Marian Fathers. Blessed Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczyñski (1631-1701) will be declared a saint on June 5, in St. Peter's Square.

"The Congregation has waited centuries for this moment," said Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC, the Marians' vicar general, based in Rome. "In the course of our history, there are those who doubted the sanctity of our Founder. Now, the moment has finally arrived, and our Lord has left no doubt as to the sanctity of the life of the Founder through the tremendous miracle attributed to his intercession and the approvals given to this miracle throughout the process.

"We have a powerful intercessor in our Founder," said Fr. Joe. "He calls us to live our charism with authenticity, simplicity, and holiness. May we follow his example by the way that we live our lives. I am sure that Heaven rejoices over this announcement today!"

"It is a surely a great day for the Marians in our history," said Br. Andrew Maczynski, MIC, vice-postulator in North America and Asia for the Marian Causes of Canonization. "We've been waiting 315 years for this moment."

Living in a war-torn time, Blessed Stanislaus witnessed thousands of battlefield casualties as well as those from dreaded plagues. He accompanied Polish troops as a chaplain in battles against Turkey in Ukraine in 1674. He was deeply affected by seeing so many people die without time to prepare to meet their Maker.

After he experienced visions of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, Blessed Stanislaus devoted himself to prayer and penance on their behalf and tirelessly advocated for others to do the same. He became a prolific writer who urged the world to contemplate God's mercy and to turn to Mary Immaculate for her gracious guidance and efficacious care.

Blessed Stanislaus' crowning achievement came after many difficulties and setbacks, when in 1673, he founded the Marians, the Church's first men's religious order dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.

The date was announced during the Public Ordinary Consistory for the Canonization of Blesseds, presided over by Pope Francis on Tuesday morning, March 29. It will be a double canonization, as Bl. Stanislaus will be canonized along with Blessed Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad of Sweden. 

Marian priests and brothers from throughout the world are expected to attend the canonization. The Congregation is in the midst of a Congregation-wide year dedicated to the Founder's life and virtues. Translations of his writings in various languages are underway, including in English.

"Poland, for example, already has published all the Founder's works translated from Latin, and is, therefore, in a privileged situation," said the Marians' Superior General Fr. Andrzej Pakula, MIC. He continued:

In Brazil, on the other hand, this work is still ahead of our confreres. The Baroque Latin used by Fr. Founder presents many challenges to the translators.

As part of preparations for the canonization, the confreres in various provinces endeavor to popularize his person and message. Naturally, we will pay special attention to the thanksgiving events at our parishes and centers that we run worldwide, since it would be difficult for many of our confreres and friends to come to Rome from the remote parts of the world.

I think that in the case of people so far removed from us in time as Fr. Stanislaus Papczyñski is, his 'speaking' to us depends — among other things — on how well we know his biography. He proved a colorful and extremely interesting figure, especially if we consider his life experiences. He suffered trials and adversities in every stage of life. In his childhood, he struggled to learn the alphabet, and then — following prayers — he suddenly became a gifted child, intellectually ahead of the others.

He had health problems and fell seriously ill in Lviv, where it seemed he would die of that infectious disease. He had problems while at the Piarist Order, because it was undergoing a transformation at that time. He had problems with leaving the Piarists and founding the Marian community. Finally, he had difficulties obtaining the Holy See's approval for his new Order. It would seem that this man could tell our modern times that it is worth believing, despite the greatest adversities and illnesses; that it is worth dedicating one's life to God even if all signs on earth and in Heaven say that He has forgotten us. The Cross does not mean resignation, but it can mean God's greatest love and closeness; that God' plans for that person are greater than for the others. It is possible to find happiness in toil, of only one has the light of faith.

The canonization announcement follows the Vatican's approval this past January of the miracle attributed to Blessed Stanislaus' intercession, the healing of a 20-year-old Polish woman shortly after Blessed Stanislaus' beatification in 2007.

"Both miracles, leading to beatification and canonization, are similar in content," said Fr. Andrzej. "In both cases, we dealt with an illness or a situation in which people found themselves in or near death. In the first case, we have medical confirmation that the fetus wasn't alive, yet following prayers, the amazed doctor stated — despite his inability to believe it — that the fetus had been brought back to life.

"In the second case," Fr. Andrzej continued, "we have a hopeless situation that arose due to complications, pneumonia, respiratory failure, and septic shock. After three weeks of treatment, the doctor pronounced that — short of a miracle from heaven — the patient would die. Due to prayers, a few days later, her health began to improve, and today there is no trace of the past illness. She has been completely healed, although this cannot be explained scientifically. In both cases, we see the work of God who brings back life from death and does it gratuitously every time. This is reminiscent of the Immaculate Conception, because the Mother of God also received that gift without merit. Naturally, people prayed and hoped that God would perform a miracle. This hopeless situation aroused a strong faith that the Lord God can bring from death to life."

To this day, offering their lives for the Holy Souls in Purgatory remains one of the Marians' charisms. In addition the order works to spread devotion to Mary as the Immaculate Conception, operating publishing apostolates, and assisting where the need is greatest, including in parishes, shrines, and missions.