Saint Andrew Bobola

Saint Andrew Bobola
Born: 1591, Strachocina, Poland
Died: 1657
Feast Day: 16th May, 23rd February (in Poland), 23rd May (Jesuits)
Patron Saint: Poland
Shrine: Poland, Diocese of Warsaw
Also known as: Andrzej Bobola, Apostle of Lithuania, Hunter of Souls
Beatified: 30th October 1853 by Pope Pius IX 
Canonised: 17th April 1938 by Pope Pius XI

Saint Andrew was born in Strachocina, South Poland in 1591.  He was educated at a Jesuit college before enrolling at the Society of Jesus in Vilnius in 1611, where he finished his studies.  He was ordained as a priest in 1622, making his final vows at St. Casimir Church in 1630, where he was appointed for 12 years preaching, hearing confessions, and giving catechesis.

He travelled around Plock, Warsaw and Lomza for 9 years.  He was a keen and helpful priest working with the young and old, poor, sick and prisoners.  His most successful mission was in Lithuania, where he converted many Orthodox. This made him very unpopular and Andrew was martyred along with 49 other Jesuits between 1655-1661.

Andrew appeared to live a very normal life as a Jesuit priest, and there doesn’t appear to be much remarkable about him until 50 years after he was martyred, when he appeared in a vision to Fr Martin Godebski, Rector of the Jesuit College in Pinsk in 1702.  Fr Martin directed that the body should be found, after two days it was located in one of the crypts and was incorrupt with a fine fragrance emanating from it.

Many people started to visit the martyr asking for intercession and many miracles started to occur, including the total protection of the city during the plague, famine and soldier who were thieving during the Great Northern War.