Blessed Martyrs of Nowogrodek
On September 4, 1929, two Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth arrived in the small town of Nowogrodek, where they began teaching and taking care of the parish church known as the Fara. They were joined by more Sisters, but faced the opposition of the townspeople. Both Bishop Zygmunt Lozinski, who had requested the presence of the Sisters in Nowogrodek, and the Superior General of the Congregation, Mother Laureta Lubowidzka, encouraged the Sisters to remain in Nowogrodek.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Nowogrodek was occupied by the Russian and German forces. With the Russian occupation, the Sisters were removed from the school, were not permitted to wear their habits, and were forced to leave their convent and live with parishioners, only coming together for Mass and for prayer. Under German occupation, the Sisters were encouraged to resume their religious attire and return to their convent.
In 1943, there were twelve Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth living in Nowogrodek. The situation under German occupation was getting worse. Jews and priests were openly killed. Between 17-19 July, 1943, 120 people, including fathers and other members of Polish families, were arrested. Women of the town came to the Sisters and begged them to pray for their release. Together, the Sisters prayed that if a sacrifice was needed, that they be sacrificed and the men returned to Nowogrodek.
On Sunday, August 1, 1943, after spending the night in the basement of the commissariat, eleven of the Sisters were driven into the nearby forest, where they were shot and thrown into a mass grave. The names of these sisters are
Sr Stella; Sr Imelda; Sr Kanizja; Sr Rajmunda; Sr Daniela; Sr Kanuta; Sr Sergia; Sr Gwidona; Sr Felicyta; Sr Heliodora; Sr Boromea.
The twelfth Sister, Sr Malgorzata, was requested to remain in Nowogrodek, and she contend to serve there for the remainder of her life. You can read more about her life here.
The men of the town, for whom the Sisters gave their lives, were spared. The Martyrs of Nowogrodek were beatified in Rome on March 5, 2000 by Pope John Paul II. Their liturgical feast day is September 4.