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