Bulletin – April 2016
“So the faith was planted: so must it be restored”
Eight Pond Place – Oyster Bay, NY 11771
Wife, Mother, and Martyr
Copyright © 2008 The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
…..In August of 1941, an article appeared in an American publication called the Victorian. It was written by Josephine Quirk and was about a woman who died for the Catholic Faith in Russia. An abridged version of the article was later included in a book by Father F. H. Drinkwater.
…..The name of the woman who died for the Faith was Marya Dabrowski. She was a simple woman who led an ordinary life. She was the wife of a farmer and the mother of eight children. She lived in a small village in South Russia at the time of the Russian Revolution.
A War Against Religion
…..When the Communists came to power in Russia, they tried to destroy the Catholic Church. They closed the churches, they ridiculed religion, and they sought to purge the love of God from the hearts of men. Many were put to death. So many were murdered by the Communists in Russia and elsewhere that they are without doubt the greatest mass murderers in human history.
Cardinal Manning on Secret Societies
…..The Russian revolutionaries were not unlike the French revolutionaries of 1789. Both groups sought to destroy the Church. Both came to power by way of conspiracy, and both sought to establish a new world order. Thus Cardinal Manning said that the “International,” which was founded by Karl Marx, was not his own doing but was rather, “the work of secret political societies, which from 1789 to this day have been perfecting their formation, and . . . have drawn closer together in mutual alliance and co-operation. In 1848 they were sufficiently powerful to threaten almost every capital in Europe by a simultaneous rising. In 1871 they obtained their greatest momentary success in Paris.” [Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, Characteristics from the Writings of Cardinal Manning, arranged by William Samuel Lilly (N.Y.: Burns and Oats, Catholic Publication Society Co., Barclay St., 1885), pp. 46-47.]
Winston Churchill on the Russian Revolution
…..Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons on November 5, 1919 that,
“Lenin was sent into Russia . . . in the same way that you might send a phial containing a culture of typhoid or of cholera to be poured into the water supply of a great city, and it worked with amazing accuracy. No sooner did Lenin arrive than he began beckoning a finger here and a finger there to obscure persons in sheltered retreats in New York, in Glasgow, in Berne, and other countries, and he gathered together the leading spirits of a formidable sect, the most formidable sect in the world . . . . With these spirits around him he set to work with demoniacal ability to tear to pieces every institution on which the Russian State depended. Russia was laid low.” [The Cause of World Unrest (New York & London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1920), pp. 1-2, quoting Winston Churchill.]
Rivers of Blood
…..In France with the cry of liberty, equality, and fraternity upon their lips, the revolutionaries reduced the most prosperous nation in Europe to a field of blood and death. They spilled rivers of blood and piled up mountains of bodies. Their comrades in Russia produced the same result at the beginning of the twentieth century. One of their victims was Marya Dabrowski.
The Revolution in Marya’s Village
…..In Marya Dabrowski’s village the parish church was turned into a storage place for grain. The convent became the headquarters for local Communist officials. The Faith was outlawed, and people were ordered to destroy all religious statues, pictures, and articles. They were threatened with death if they failed to comply.
…..Marya Dabrowski loved God, the Church, and her family. To her the Catholic Religion was a treasure that she was determined to pass on to her children. She understood what life was all about. She knew where she had come from, why she was here, and where she was going. She knew that life was short and that death was certain. She knew that after death would come the judgment for all men. She knew that heaven and hell were realities. She had a true and proper perspective. She put things in their proper order.
…..Marya was determined not to neglect the spiritual needs of her children. Whatever she had to do to save their souls she would do it. With God’s help she would persevere in the Faith, and she would communicate the Faith and a love for the Faith to her children. She would do this in the face of persecution and death itself. Thus she continued to teach her children about God. She taught them to know, love, and serve Him. She taught them to be faithful to their prayers. She sought to instill in them a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
A Valiant Woman
…..Marya Dabrowski was truly a valiant woman. The Book of Proverbs says:
“Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her. . . . She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue. She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:10, 26-30)
…..This valiant woman was prepared to die rather than abandon God or neglect the proper instruction and upbringing of her children.
A “Lumber-Room” Altar
…..In Marya’s home there was a flight of stairs. Under the stairs was a small room in which wood was stored. In the back of this tiny “lumber-room,” Marya made a little home altar. It amounted to a shelf on which she placed a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She put a little lamp on the shelf which could be lit during times of prayer. She decorated her little altar with some evergreen branches. She placed a curtain in front of the altar. In front of the curtain the wood was piled up so that when the door was opened one could see only the pile of wood.
…..Every night Marya would remove the wood and open the curtain. She would expose her altar of the Sacred Heart and would there gather her children together. Sometimes the children from the neighborhood would join them. There, before the image of the Sacred Heart, they would recite the Rosary and sing Benediction hymns. On Sundays and holy days they would say the prayers of the Mass and Marya would teach catechism to the children.
…..This went on for some time. It went on until Marya was betrayed by one of her relatives. It was a nephew who betrayed her. He was an orphan when Marya took him into her home. She raised him and showed him great kindness. He grew up under her care. But after the revolution he became a Communist. He went to Moscow and was turned into an avid Party member. It was during a visit home that he discovered what his aunt had been doing. Judas-like he betrayed her. He reported her to the Communist officials, for she had committed the terrible crime of teaching catechism to her children and of having an image of the Sacred Heart in her home.
The Arrest and Condemnation
…..The police arrested Marya. They interrogated her and they threatened her with death. She was just an ordinary Catholic wife and mother. Now she was called upon to be a true soldier of Christ, and she rose to the occasion. She would not bend to their threats. She would not deny Christ. She would not give up her Catholic Faith.
…..They tried to destroy the light of faith that was in her mind and the fire of love that was in her heart. But they failed. They could not break her spirit. They could not destroy her faith or her love for God. She would not bend. She would not yield. She would not give in. She would not compromise so they condemned her to death.
Her Dying Words
…..On the day of her martyrdom, Marya Dabrowski was led through the streets of her village to the place of her execution. In taking her life, they would separate her from her children for a time. But what confidence she must have had that the God for Whom she was about to die would protect them and save them. To the Sacred Heart she entrusted them. To the people she spoke words of encouragement. As she walked to her death, she exhorted them to remain faithful. She said to them:
“Don’t give up your faith! Don’t give it up for anybody! Nobody can tear God out of your hearts but yourselves! Keep the Faith.”
…..With such words she went to her death. She passed through its dark portal to meet on the other side her Savior and her Blessed Mother.
Marya Dabrowski and Us
…..We live in a time of trial and tribulation. Our faith and fidelity are constantly tested. In a certain sense the trials we face are not unlike those of Marya Dabrowski. Yet, in another sense they are quite different.
…..We do not practice our faith with the threat of prison and death hanging over our heads. Indeed, in spite of the evil done by government officials and politicians, the police do not hinder us but rather protect us. Yet at the same time the trials we face are great and perilous. For the enemy of our souls is found in the sanctuaries of our churches.
The Revolution Has Entered the Sanctuary
…..The revolution has entered the sanctuary. Devastation has been visited upon us. This has been done by the very ones who were supposed to protect us. In the name of relevancy and reform the hierarchy has destroyed the faith and morals of millions. It is not the police we have to fear. It is that group of men that is commonly regarded as the hierarchy of the Church.
…..It is not the muzzle of a gun that we face but the point of a pen. They do not fire bullets. They issue intimidating decrees and declarations against those who would hold fast to the Faith of all times. And they have been very effective indeed. The overwhelming majority of Catholic people have yielded. With barely a whimper the clergy have transformed their Catholic sanctuaries into Protestant chancels. They have taken out the Catholic altars. They have put in Protestant tables. They have removed the tabernacles or put them off to the side. For that is where God belongs in the new religion. They have removed the communion rails and have brought the laity into the sanctuary. They have virtually destroyed the distinction between the priest and the people. Worst of all they have replaced the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, offered by a priest, with the New Mass celebrated by a president of the assembly.
…..When you consider the devastation that has been wrought, every pretense that the reform was actually good fades from the domain of credibility. Tens of millions have abandoned the Catholic Faith. Only a tiny minority of those who call themselves Catholics believe that they are bound by the moral teaching of the Church. It is true that we sometimes hear some lip service being given to traditional Catholic doctrine and morals. But the revolution continues.
…..What excuse shall the reformers have on the day of judgment? How shall they answer for the ruination of the faith of millions? Even if one were to grant, for the sake of argument, that they really did not know what they were doing when they ushered in the reforms or carried them out, one can no longer make ignorance a credible excuse. The destruction is there for all to see. The devastation has been wrought. It is before our eyes. So bad is it that heresy and a rejection of Catholic moral teaching are the common fare in Catholic seminaries, universities, and colleges, while orthodoxy and fidelity to Catholic moral teaching are very rare exceptions.
Abolish the Reform
…..That is why we can say that if there were a spark of faith and some genuine good will in those perceived to be the hierarchy, they would admit the tragic “mistake” of Vatican II. They would acknowledge that a terrible thing has happened. And they would repent of it. They would repudiate the heresy and immorality that is so rampant in Catholic institutions. They would take practical steps to clean house. They would repudiate the New Mass. They would abolish the new sacramental rites. They would rescind the reforms. They would get rid of the heretics who dominate Catholic seminaries, universities, and colleges. They would, in a word, abolish the reform.
…..They would do these things because they are the right things to do. For in the Catholic Church you do not have orthodox Catholics and heretical Catholics. You have only Catholics. There are good Catholics and bad Catholics. But there are not heretical members of the Mystical Body of Christ. For while mortal sin makes one a dead member of the Church, heresy cuts one off from the Church. One must accept the fact that there are sinners in the Church, but one must reject the notion that heretics fall into this category and must also be tolerated.
Strings Attached to “Concessions”
…..But from the hierarchy we do not get a repudiation of the reforms. We do not get an admission that Vatican II was a great “mistake” and that the post-Vatican II changes have devastated the Church and ruined countless millions of souls. Instead we get a reaffirmation of the legitimacy of the Council. We get the demand that we must accept the reforms. Even when they dole out a few “concessions” here and there like the Indult Mass, they do it under the condition that those who attend it accept the legitimacy of the New Mass. This is not repentance. This is pertinacity.
…..Those of us who are striving to preserve Catholic faith, morals, and worship without compromise get nothing but criticism and condemnation. While the building burns, the “hierarchy” tells us to put down the hose because we do not have a permit to turn on the water. Turn off the light of truth and let the darkness prevail, they say, for you are not authorized by the local bishop to shine the Faith into the darkness we created. They are truly modern scribes and pharisees. They swallow the camel and choke on a gnat.
The Enemy You Know and the One You Don’t Know
…..That is why it is even harder, in a certain sense, for Catholics today to keep the Faith than it was for those who lived in times of bloody persecution. When the enemy wears the uniform of the Red Army, things are clear. But when he is dressed in ecclesiastical robes, it is another story. A revolutionary dressed in the garb of a cardinal or a pope can do infinitely more damage than a Communist in the uniform of a revolutionary soldier.
“Keep The Faith”
…..Marya Dabrowski spoke to the Catholic people of her village who were persecuted by the Communists and threatened with physical death. But her words hold great meaning for Catholics today. They are words for us who are holding fast and resisting both the Modernists on the left and conservative schismatics and doubtfully consecrated bishops and clergy on the right. Remember then the words of that Catholic wife, mother and martyr:
“Don’t give up your faith! Don’t give it up for anybody! Nobody can tear God out of your hearts but yourselves! Keep the Faith.”