Angela Salawa, the housekeeper turned blessed

Blessed Angela Salawa is celebrated on March 12. A housekeeper, servant and nurse during the Great War, she showed extraordinary humility and joy in a life that was nevertheless full of suffering.

From the great kings to the most humble, every Christian has a vocation to become a saint. Angela Salawa understood this well, she who became blessed after a miserable life while having embraced her cross with joy. She was born on September 9, 1881 near Krakow, Poland. She is the eleventh daughter of Barthélemy and Eva, both blacksmiths. Their family lives in extreme poverty. The children do not have enough to eat, but they do not lack spiritual nourishment. His parents, great believers, passed on to him a faith that would never weaken. In fragile health, little Angela cannot go to the fields to work there like her brothers. She therefore stays at home to do the housework, and goes to school just long enough to learn to read and write.

At twelve, the little girl was employed as a domestic servant. As she yearns for a worldly life growing up, a vision of Christ stops her in her tracks. She who had moved away from her life of prayer for some time, here she is transformed into a young woman of great piety, strengthened by the premature death of her elder sister, which saddens her deeply. She refused the marriage proposed by her father, having taken a vow of chastity, and decided a few years later, in 1912, to become a Franciscan tertiary. In the meantime, the young woman began an apostolate with domestic women in Krakow, within the Saint Zita association.

A life of suffering in the joy of the Cross

In 1914, it is the great upheaval. The Great War ravaged the Old Continent. Angela decides to stay in Krakow and enlist as a nurse, despite the obvious deterioration of her health. However, she continues to help the sick and injured in various hospitals in the city. Seeing her always cheerful and very gentle, they affectionately call her “the holy young lady”.

The war over, Angela decides to make a pilgrimage to Czestochowa in southern Poland, a city in which there is a sanctuary in homage to the Blessed Virgin. Withdrawn to a small room located in an attic, she writes down her visions in her diary, in particular those of Jesus crowned with thorns. She endured terrible suffering there for almost five years: multiple sclerosis, combined with stomach cancer and tuberculosis, left her no rest. On March 12, 1922, at the age of forty-one, Angela surrendered her soul to God at Saint Zita Hospital in Krakow, in the most total destitution.

Linked to the spirituality of Saint Francis of Assisi, she showed an unusual sensitivity to the action of the Holy Spirit.

Her reputation as a saint soon spread throughout the city, then throughout the country. On October 23, 1987, Pope John Paul II authorized the promulgation of the decree by which Angela Salawa was declared Venerable. In 1990, a little boy who was violently hit in the head suffered such brain damage that he could no longer speak. Her parents immediately pray to Angela with a novena. The child almost immediately resumes speaking. Completely cured, his case is submitted to the doctors: the scientific inexplicability of such a cure is noted and allows the cause to be introduced for the beatification of Angela.

She was beatified on August 13, 1991, in Krakow. John Paul II then declared, during the mass: “It is a great joy for me to have been able to celebrate the beatification of Angela Salawa in Krakow. This daughter of the Polish people spent a considerable part of her life in Krakow. This city was the setting for his work, his suffering, his maturation in holiness. Linked to the spirituality of Saint Francis of Assisi, she showed an unusual sensitivity to the action of the Holy Spirit. »


Angela Salawa, the housekeeper turned blessed