This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1 -- Feast of Saint Zygmunt Gorazdowski

Zygmunt, who is close but does not hold the place of the last alphabetical entry in the canon of saints, was born in Sanok, Poland in 1845.  He died in 1920 in L'viv, Ukraine, which is about 102 miles away.  In his lifetime, Poland disappeared from and then reappeared on the European map, but the brief accounts of his life do not emphasize the national aspirations of Poles and Ukrainians as troubling him much.  He was apparently much more concerned with the needs of individuals than the troubles of nations.

Although he suffered respiratory trouble all his life, he worked hard on behalf of the poor and infirm.  He was tireless during a cholera outbreak, exposing himself to the worst risks to comfort the ill and to treat the dead with dignity. 

Ignore the street lamp that looks like an antenna
He founded the Sisters of Saint Joseph in L'viv, and with them, established and sustained many charitable institutions.  His prints are all over a shelter for abandoned children, a shelter for single mothers, a hospice for the terminally ill, a convalescent center, a dormitory for poor seminarians, a soup kitchen, a shelter for the homeless, and St. Joseph's Polish-German Catholic School.  I'd like to think this institution might have encouraged der Fuhrer's troops, but that seems improbable.  It is more likely that the Soviet forces closed the school long before, probably sending the priests and nuns east to their deaths.  Certainly the Soviet mass murders prior to evacuating Lviv encouraged the locals to join with the Nazis in taking revenge -- something they did enthusiastically.

I am not so naive that I think we close our eyes to the travails of nations, but the essence of fascism is the elevation of the collective entity the individual.  Ziggy's work may not have stopped the totalitarians from conquering and reconquering his homeland but it did sustain the flame of kindness and virtue in the face of cruelty and inhumanity.  If you get a chance, do something nice in Zyg's memory.


  1. I am starting a series on my blog titled A saint a day. I would like to follow your site but I don't see a way to do that for us non-Google friend people. Is there a way to do that?

  2. I think I have finally successfully added an RSS button to the right margin, between the sources and the archives. Thanks for the suggestion, Rainbowheartlove.