Society of Jesus in Poland gave a glorious martyr to the Church. Saint Andrew Bobola was born in 1590, of an illustrious family; in 1611 he entered the Society of Jesus; and some years later, when the plague broke out in the town of Vilna, he devoted himself to the care of the sufferers with a heroism that excited universal admiration, and well-nigh cost him his life. He was subsequently appointed to the Jesuits' residence at Bobrinsk, on the Berezina. The province of Lithuania was at this period torn by religious warfare; the clergy and bishops remained firmly attached to the orthodox faith, but a portion of the population had fallen into schism, and it needed all the apostolic zeal of their pastors to recall them to the true faith.
Among these devoted missionaries Father Bobola was foremost, and, as an instance of the wonderful success that crowned his efforts, we are told that he converted the whole city of Janow, where, when he began to preach, there were but two Catholics. In 1657, while preaching in the neighborhood of the town, he was surprised by a band of rebel Cossacks, whose ravages at that period created general consternation throughout the kingdom.
He was seized by them and carried to a neighboring wood, where, upon his refusal to deny his faith, the barbarians cruelly scourged him. They then dragged him to Janow between two horses, put out his eyes, burnt his sides with lighted torches, tore off the skin of his back, while the martyr continued to repeat: 'Jesus, Mary, assist me; enlighten and convert these blind men ; Lord, Thy will be done.' At last his tongue was torn out, and soon afterwards his blessed soul went to receive his reward, on the eve of the Ascension, 1657.
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