In the Diocese of Bielsko-Żywiec
BLESSED MARGARET LUCY SZEWCZYK, VIRGIN
She was born in 1828 in Szeptówka in Volyn (current Ukraine). At 20, she entered the Third Franciscan Order and made private vows of the evangelical councils. In 1870-1873 she served sick pilgrims in Jerusalem. Afterwards, she went to Zakroczym. Having participated in a retreat led by Bl Honoratus Koźmiński, she rented a flat and began gathering poor and sick elderly women whom she took care of devotedly. In 1881, with the aid of Bl Honoratus, she founded the Congregation, which with time came to be known as the Daughters of the Sorrowful Mother of God – Seraphic Sisters. After 10 years, she moved to Galicia. She built a convent in Oświęcim which became the General House of the congregation whose aim is to bring help to the deserted and sick, as well as to educate the children of orphanages and shelters in the religious spirit. She died in the odour of sanctity on 5 June 1905.
Common of Virgins.
OFFICE OF READINGS
From the encyclical Deus Caritas Est by Pope Benedict XVI
She served God and neighbours with humility and love
Finally, let us consider the saints, who exercised charity in an exemplary way. The figures of saints stand out as lasting models of social charity for all people of good will. The saints are the true bearers of light within history, for they are men and women of faith, hope and love. Outstanding among the saints is Mary, Mother of the Lord and mirror of all holiness. In the Gospel of Luke we find her engaged in a service of charity to her cousin Elizabeth, with whom she remained for “about three months” so as to assist her in the final phase of her pregnancy. “Magnificat anima mea Dominum,” she says on the occasion of that visit, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” In these words she expresses her whole programme of life: not setting herself at the centre, but leaving space for God, who is encountered both in prayer and in service of neighbour – only then does goodness enter the world. Mary’s greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself. She is lowly: her only desire is to be the handmaid of the Lord. She knows that she will only contribute to the salvation of the world if, rather than carrying out her own projects, she places herself completely at the disposal of God’s initiatives. Mary is a woman of hope: only because she believes in God’s promises and awaits the salvation of Israel, can the angel visit her and call her to the decisive service of these promises. Mary is a woman of faith: “Blessed are you who believed,” Elizabeth says to her. Since Mary is completely imbued with the Word of God, she is able to become the Mother of the Word Incarnate. Finally, Mary is a woman who loves. How could it be otherwise? As a believer who in faith thinks with God’s thoughts and wills with God’s will, she cannot fail to be a woman who loves.
The lives of the saints are not limited to their earthly biographies but also include their being and working in God after death. In the saints one thing becomes clear: those who draw near to God do not withdraw from men, but rather become truly close to them. In no one do we see this more clearly than in Mary. The words addressed by the crucified Lord to his disciple – to John and through him to all disciples of Jesus: “Behold, your mother!” – are fulfilled anew in every generation. Mary has truly become the Mother of all believers. Men and women of every time and place have recourse to her motherly kindness and her virginal purity and grace, in all their needs and aspirations, their joys and sorrows, their moments of loneliness and their common endeavours. They constantly experience the gift of her goodness and the unfailing love which she pours out from the depths of her heart. The testimonials of gratitude, offered to her from every continent and culture, are a recognition of that pure love which is not self-seeking but simply benevolent. At the same time, the devotion of the faithful shows an infallible intuition of how such love is possible: it becomes so as a result of the most intimate union with God, through which the soul is totally pervaded by him – a condition which enables those who have drunk from the fountain of God’s love to become in their turn a fountain from which “flow rivers of living water.”
RESPONSORY Ephesians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
– To be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ.
– To be holy and without blemish before him.
O merciful God,
thanks to your grace Blessed Margaret Lucy, Virgin, served the sick and poor with love,
grant that following her example we may be able to recognize the suffering face of your beloved Son in our neighbours and come to their aid.
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.
Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum. Probatum seu confirmatum, die 2 mai 2013. Prot. 792/13/L.