November 18, Bl Caroline Kózka (Karolina Kózkówna)

November 18
BLESSED CAROLINE KÓZKA, VIRGIN and MARTYR
Obligatory memorial

Carloline Kózka (Karolina Kózkówna) was born in 1898 in a poor family of peasants in the village of Wał-Ruda of the Diocese of Tarnów. Since she was very young, she loved prayer and did her best to make her love of God grow. At the beginning of the I World War, on 18 November 1914, she died as a martyr at the hands of a Russian soldier, defending her chastity. John Paul II beatified her in Tarnów on 10 June 1987.

Common of One Martyr, or of Virgins.

[PDF Version]

OFFICE OF READINGS

SECOND READING

From the homily by John Paul II at the beatification of Caroline Kózka
(AAS 80 [1988] pp. 412-415)
The Lord is my portion and cup

The message of the Beatitudes, the sowing of God’s Gospel, lasts for centuries. During the jubilee, you meticulously recalled all the people, places and times, which the very same Spirit of Truth who revealed Himself to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost in the form of the tongues of fire breathed into throughout your history.

And here in our own times, in this century, yet another tongue of fire of the Spirit of the Truth, of the Paraclete, came to rest in the form of a simple, country girl, “God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, to shame the wise.”

Are saints sent to shame us? They are. They might be here for this reason. Sometimes such salvific shame is necessary to see man in light of truth. It is necessary to discover, to rediscover the right hierarchy of values. We all need it, old and young alike, although that young daughter of the Tarnów Church, whom we shall call blessed from today on, speaks with her life first of all to the young. To boys and girls. To men and women. She speaks of the great dignity of the woman, of the human being; of the dignity of the body which in this world is indeed susceptible to dying and is destructible, in the same way as her young body met death at the hands of a murderer; yet this human body has in itself the sign of immortality that man is to attain in eternal and living God, attain it through Christ.

Therefore, saints are sent to bear witness to the great dignity of man. To bear witness to Christ crucified and resurrected “for us and for our salvation,” which at the same time means bearing witness to the dignity that man has before God. To bear witness to the vocation that man has in Christ. Caroline Kózka was aware of this dignity, of this vocation.

The responsorial psalm allows us to encounter the subsequent moments of this witness, of this martyrdom. Is it not Caroline who says that? “Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you. I say to the Lord: ‘You are my God.'” Is it not she who speaks with the Psalmist’s words? At the moment of the horrible threat on the part of another man, equipped with the means of violence, she takes refuge in God. And the cry, “You are my Lord” means, “Dirty violence will not rule over me, for you are the source of my strength in weakness. You, the sole Lord of my soul and my body, my Creator and Redeemer of my life and my death. You, God of my heart, with whom my memory and my conscience never part.”

“I keep the Lord ever in my sight: since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm, for even at night he directs my heart.” This is what the Psalmist says. And so does Caroline at the moment of the deadly trial of faith, chastity and fortitude. As if we were following the track of this girl’s escape, when she is putting up resistance to the armed assailant, when she is seeking the path in this familiar woods near her village on which she could save her life and dignity. “You will show me the path of life.” The path of life. On this path of flight, the final, fatal blow is given. Caroline did not save her earthly life. She found death. He laid down her life to gain the Life with Christ in God. For her new Life began in Christ at the moment of baptism that she received in the parish church in Radłów. And falling at the hands of the attacker, Caroline bears the final earthly witness to this Life that she has got inside. Bodily death will not destroy it. Death is the beginning of this Life that flows from God and becomes our share through Christ by the power of His death and resurrection.

Caroline dies. Her dead girlish body rests on the forest floor. And ever since the death of the innocent has seemed to proclaim the truth expressed by the Psalmist with special power, “God is my portion and cup. You are my prize.” Yes, Caroline, deserted in the forest of Ruda, is safe. She’s in God’s hands and He is God of Life. The martyr calls with the Psalmist, “I will bless the Lord.”

O child of simple parents, of this Vistula land, “Star” of your people, the Church today takes up the wordless call of your soul and calls you blessed! Christ became your “wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” He became your power. We give thanks to Christ for this power that He revealed in your pure life and martyr’s death. 1

RESPONSORY Matthew 5:8; 10; 12; Psalm 149:1

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

Sing a new song to the Lord, his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

MORNING PRAYER

HYMN from the Common of Virgins.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. Blessed virgin, despising herself and bearing her cross, she became like the Lord, the Bride of virgins and King of martyrs.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

O almighty and merciful God,
in Blessed Caroline, virgin and martyr, you left us a luminous example of the love of prayer, chastity and work,
grant through her intercession that we may imitate her virtues on earth and rejoice the eternal reward with her in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

EVENING PRAYER

HYMN

O miraculous flower of Polish land,
Of simple people, of simple hut;
In your chalice crystal-clear,
Coloured bountifully with virtues.

O Blessed Caroline,
Shine with your courage;
Show us how to work and pray,
In the life of purity and death of martyrdom.

O Apostle of Divine things,
You’re always fed on angels’ bread;
O the brightest Star of the people,
Tireless while helping your neighbour.

O Blessed Caroline…

Jesus Christ is your love,
Instead of worldly treasures and pleasures;
At the hour of trial you choose death
Not to betray your love.

O Blessed Caroline…

With your eyes fixed on Mother Mary,
The exquisite model of fine purity;
You follow in her footsteps, martyrdom,
Until the immaculate crown of glory comes.

O Blessed Caroline….

 

If recited, the chorus O Blessed Caroline may be omitted.

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. Making one offering, she won twofold; she attained the crown of virginity and palm of martyrdom.

Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum. Probatum seu confirmatum, die 26 maii 1989, Prot. 1280/88.

1 Translated by DChojnacki (2016).

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