Notebook

Gaude Polonia

At noon today, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, that noble pillar of Catholicism, was declared blessed at a solemn Mass in Warsaw, though not alone. Alongside him, the Church beatified Mother Elżbieta Róża Czacka (1876-1961), whom Wyszyński knew and revered. Born into a noble family, she suffered from an eye disease since childhood. A riding accident in 1898 left her with both retinas detached. She lost sight for good. This could have been the bane of her life. It wasn’t. She turned it into an opportunity, deciding to dedicate her life to caring for the blind. She founded the order of Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross to care for and educate the physically blind and to do penance for the spiritual blindness of the world. To me, the most moving part of today’s Mass was the proclamation of the first reading from a text in braille by a blind woman taught by Mother Elżbieta’s sisters. In that reading we were told, ‘come to me, you who desire me’ (Sirach 24:19). Where such desire burns, no failing, no handicap is decisive. What appears to be an impediment may even turn into a grace, an impetus.