St Andrew Bobola

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Martyr. Jesuit priest. This Polish saint was born in 1591. He became a Jesuit at Vilno (Vilnius) in 1609 where he preached at the church of St Casimir before being appointed superior at the house at Bobruysk. During an epidemic of plague he worked night and day caring for the sick and dying.

Later he worked as a missionary, bringing whole villages of Orthodox Christians into communion with the Catholics. This caused considerable animosity from the Cossacks. The Jesuits were driven from their churches and colleges and forced to hide in the marshes. King Radziwill gave them a house in Pinsk in 1652. This was captured by the Cossacks in 1657. After undergoing many tortures, Andrew Bobola was killed around this time in 1657. His body was buried at Pinsk. In 1808 it was translated to Polotsk when it was found to be incorrupt.

During the Russian Revolution the Bolsheviks took the saint's remains to Moscow. In 1922 they were moved to Rome. St Andrew is now buried in the Jesuit church in Warsaw. He was canonised in 1938.

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