The cause of Rev. Walter Ciszek, S.J. has taken a “major step forward,” with the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints issuing a declaration that the investigation is valid, the National Catholic Register reports.
Father Ciszek was born in 1904 in Shenandoah, PA, entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1928 and was ordained in 1937. Since he had a burning desire to serve the people in Communist Russia he was trained to say the Mass in the Russian Rite. After 2 years in Poland, he entered the Soviet Union so that he could minister to Christians who lived under communist persecution but was arrested as a “spy” in 1941. He endured torture, months and months of solitary confinement and years of hard labor near the Arctic Circle. His prayer to serve Catholics in Russia was answered but not in the way he expected. He found peace in knowing that he was serving where God wanted him, in his weakness and imprisonment and desolation. His parishioners became his fellow prisoners and fellow exiles in Siberia.
I highly recommend his two books: He Leadeth Me and With God in Russia. The first book is a classic that I have read many times. Two gentlemen I gave it to last year both independently said: I raced through it the first time to find out what happened and read it through the second time to savor it.
Father Ciszek died at Fordham University in New York on Dec. 8, 1984.