October 18, 2010

Blessed Stanislaw Soltys, 1433-1489, devoted his life to caring for the poor in his native Krakow.

He was famous as a preacher and confessor. His reverence for the Eucharist earned him the title of “Apostle of the Eucharist.”

Each day he took the Blessed Sacrament to sick and lonely people at a time when most Christians received it only rarely.

Pope Benedict will canonize him Oct. 17 at the Vatican.

Born the son of a craftsman and magistrate, Soltys — called Kazimierczyk — lived and worshipped throughout his life at Corpus Christi Parish in Kazimierz, now a district of Krakow.

He gave up the possibility of an academic career to join the Canons Regular of the Lateran.

His devotion to Mary, inherited from his mother, was expressed in weekly visits to a Marian shrine at Skalka, where he reputedly experienced a vision of the Madonna and child, promising him a “rich reward.”

When Soltys died, age 56, exhausted by his work among the poor, his grave immediately became a place of pilgrimage.

Within a year, there were claims of 176 miraculous acts, according to a contemporary account.