For Their Sake I Consecrate Myself: Sister Maria Bernadette of the Cross (1927–1963)


by Jadwiga Stabińska, OSBap

Translated by Justyna Krukowska

Originally published @ Siostry Sakramentki, Warszawa 2008

English edition @ Arouca Press 2022

Translation @ The Cenacle Press at Silverstream Priory 2022

“Cut me in strips, but let them return to You and give You glory.”                               

Sister Maria Bernadette of The Cross

I am drawn to and intrigued by the religious life and those called to it.  For Their Sake I Consecrate Myself is a remarkable reflection on the dedicated life of Sister Maria Bernadette of The Cross.

Before her monastic life, she was known by friends and family as Maria Róża Wolska. In this detailed recollection, the author takes the reader on a biographical journey focusing on family and Sister Bernadette’s desire to draw nearer to God. The historical accounts include family struggles, a love for nature, apprenticeships, and her fondness for prayerfully creating art and music.  

The author portrays Sister Bernadette’s biographical sketch in multiple photographs throughout the pages. Mountainous vacation views, her parent’s wedding photos, candid family snapshots, and Sister Bernadette’s drawings, to name a few. The images add an element of significance in taking the reader deeper into what Sister Bernadette held close to her heart.

The desires of one’s heart are precious gems. Some offer them at no cost, while most of us keep them under lock and key. Sister Bernadette lived an adventurous monastic life in which a sacrificial desire became her focus. Knowing that God was preparing her for “great graces,” she focused on the sacrifice of surrendering her will.  

In reading her story, I am convinced that there was not one element of Holiness that Sister Bernadette did not encompass. The steadfast love of God became apparent in her most official voluntary sacrifice. “Cut me in strips, but let them return to You and give You glory.”  It was through these words and an illness that would not let go that Sister Bernadette offered her Holy Sacrifice in dying for the sins of others.

Following the recollection of her sacrificial death, the author has provided what I consider to be a goldmine of Sister Bernadette’s genuine love for God.  Nuggets of inspiration adorn the pages among letters to and from family, friends, and the religious community. Many God-kissed and invaluable life lessons are shared straight from Sister Bernadette’s heart.

“I’m not worried because that would be rude: One should always be rejoicing. It is precisely such “hopeless’ moments that can be worth something. It is better to be happy than to worry.” 

Originally published in Polish translation in 2008, in this English version, Jadwiga Stabińska sets out to shine a light through the life of Sister Bernadette and invites the reader to see her as a place in which God resides. Not forgetting to embrace the hopes of heaven and service to God in the life lived now. The conclusion of Sister Bernadette’s story left me with feelings of genuine hope in God, a glimpse of Heaven, and a yearning for a Christ-centered life.

 “Prayer can last three seconds: I beg you to say something to God every day from the bottom of your heart, even if it’s just two words or merely a glance.”   

       ~Sister Maria Bernadette of The Cross

I highly recommend you visit the website: The Cenacle Press at Silverstream Priory for more information and purchase options


www.catholicmom.com/articles/embracing-your-reconciled-heart

This Lenten Season, take a little time out of your day to consider Mother Mary at the foot of the cross. I promise a beautiful and prayerful experience.

Sharing my most recent article published on Catholicmom.com

Blessings!

Kimberly

God…As Friend


“Someone with a bible which is falling apart, lives a life which is not.” A direct quote from a recent sermon of which I had the privilege to listen.

God’s Word can come to us in many ways. As American’s, we are blessed to freely hold in our possession God’s book of wisdom, truth and light.  Personally, I have become somewhat of a bible hoarder!  A sentimental fool of sorts, I have a new passion for leafing through bibles at antique shops. I look for hand written notes in the margin, while inhaling the scent of the aged paper. I often wonder and think about the number of blessed tears that have graced its pages. In these moments, all of these subtleties create an encounter with God.

Perhaps, the one who held the bible before had only opened it once or twice. On the other hand, it could be the opposite. Sometimes the pages are too fragile to turn and other times they are crisp and clean. Those are the times when I wonder, and ask myself, “What does God want my bible to look like?”   

“I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13) a verse echoing in my heart today and bringing about thoughts of friendship.  I am going to date myself here, but when I think of God as my friend, images come to mind of somewhat historical friendships. Take for instance, Tom and Jerry; Laverne and Shirley; Laura Wilder and her lovely dog Bandit. 

These relationships portray the best of friendships however, not always glamourous or warm and fuzzy. Each also contained many instances of miscommunication, sadness, and periods of silence.  Yet, at the end of every episode, tensions were released, fences mended and their love for one another outweighed any of the turmoil.

So, now you are wondering what does all of this have to do with God and the bible, right?  Today I invite you to begin a new friendship with God. Choose one of your favorite historical friendships as a model and re-invent how you spend each day, and every moment with God. 

I invite you to begin today and ware down that bible of yours. Dust it off, pray in it.  Let your tears stain the pages. Allow your heart to feel God’s word in and through you. Don’t be afraid to write your thoughts in the margins; the space is there for a reason!

Hand Written note on Psalm 103. Written in Italian, feel free to comment if you know what it says!

Reflection moment: What does God want my bible to look like? What does my friendship with God look like? How can I strengthen my walk with God?

Are you praying with a worn out bible or have a family heirloom? I would love to hear your comments in the section below.

Many Blessings,

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly