OFIARA W ŻYCIU KAPŁANA NA PRZYKŁADZIE DROGI DO ŚWIĘTOŚCI BŁ. KS. WŁADYSŁAWA BUKOWIŃSKIEGO
SACRIFICE IN THE PRIESTʼS LIFE IN THE ROAD TO HOLINESS OF BLESSED FR. WŁADYSŁAW BUKOWIŃSKI
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Among many priests, imprisoned and transported to the hard labour camps in the Gulag – that inhuman and murderous enslavement system in the Soviet Union, operating in extremely harsh climate conditions – was blessed Fr. Władysław Bukowiński. Altogether, he spent there 13 years, 5 months and 10 days. His fellow prisoners included Frs. Józef Kuczyński, Bronisław Drzepecki, Walter Ciszek, and many others. Władysław Bukowiński was born on 22 December 1904 in Berdyczów near Żytomierz (in today’s Ukraine). He studied law at the Jagiellonian Univer-sity and theology at the Major Seminary in Kraków. After working in some parishes in Podbeskidzie for a couple of years, he pleaded for a transfer to Łuck, where later, after the first Soviet aggression against Poland (the so-called first Soviets), he was imprisoned and sentenced to a long-term jail. He survived as if by a miracle an extermination of his fellow prisoners. Under the so-called second Soviets he was tried for high treason and espionage on behalf of the Vatican and deported to Chelyabinsk and to Bakal in Ural region. After that he was released and deported to Karaganda in Kazachstan, when he was the first priest working among Catholics. From there he was first transported to Jesgasgan (in Stieplag), and then to Czuma near Irkutsk. In April 1961 he was transferred to a special labour camp for those sentenced for illegal religious activities (the so-called „religioźnicy”) in Sosnówka, east of Moscow, where he worked till 3 December 1961. After his release from prison, he returned to Ka-raganda to resume his pastoral ministry on the limitless plains of Kazakhstan (Semipałatinsk, Aktiubinsk), Turkestan and Tajikistan, where he had to face endless repressive measures and harassment. From 1957 to 1968 he undertook eight mission expeditions. Everyday life in the Soviet labour camps was marked with exhausting physical work, chronic malnutrition, all-pervading dirt, vermin, cold and de-nunciation. Priests were purposely housed with the most denegerate and de-moralised convicts. Thanks to his steadfast faith and trust in God, Fr. Władysław Bukowiński was able to live out his priesthood and cooperate with God’s Providence even in extremely harsh living conditions, prisons and labour camps, where belief in God was outlawed. After his release he chose not to return to Poland (even though he could if he wanted to), but settled in Kara-ganda and accepted Soviet citizenship. He stayed in the USSR to bring all those whom Christ had loved to God. Fr. Władysław Bukowiński died in Karaganda on 3 December 1974. He remained faithful to God, Church and all those with whom he had shared the cruel fate of exile, prisoner and martyr. On 11 September 2016, in Karaganda, Fr. Władysław Bukowiński was raised to the glory of the Altars as the first blessed man of the church in Ka-zakhstan. Blessed Fr. Władysław is the shining example of the steadfast priest, giving his entire life to God, ever faithful to his life motto: „I thank God’s Providence and do what I am supposed to do”.
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Publication order reference
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