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Saint Adalbert Polish Language School


Our Patron

Saint Wojciech (Adalbert), came from a royal family.  He was born around the year 956, and died April 27th, 997. The life of this saint was not pleasant. He did not perform any supernatural miracles. His life story is pretty average yet it affected the fate of many people and countries. These countries consider him as “theirs”: Czech Republic - with reason, that he was born there, Poland – most of his work took form here, and from Poland, he was sent to Prussia, wherein lie his ashes, and finally, Hungary - where he performed the sacrament of Confirmation on King Stephen.

The story of St. Adalbert starts around the year 956 in the Czech Republic. At that time, in the princely lineage of the Sławnikowców residing in the mouth Cydliny, in Libice ,a child is born, who, according to the original plans of the father, was to be a knight. But (as biographers write) it was St. Adalbert’s illness that set him on his path as a clergy man and not a knight.

His parents made a vow, that when the son recovers, he will be devoted to God's service. In those days, it was custom that the eldest son of the family was to be devoted to political offices.  The younger son, however, not to have to divide the patrimony, was to be committed to the positions of the clergy - bishops or abbots. It is possible that this was the case of St. Adalbert.

The Sławnikowców’s youngest son started to study in Magdeburg.  His teacher and guide was the Archbishop Adalbert. In his honor, on the day of Confirmation, chose the name “Adalbert” as his Confirmation name. In the year 983, he returned back to the Czech Republic as a subdeacon, and it was here where he became Bishop in the city of Prague. In 989 A.D., there were difficulties in the management of the diocese and for that reason he went to Rome. On the advice of Pope John XV, St. Adalbert resigned from his position as Bishop and ascended to the Benedictines in the Aventine.

In the year 992, as a result of the death of Bishop Falkolda, who held custody of Prague, he had returned to the city in order to deal with ecclesiastical matters. He cared very well for the poor and the prisoners coming from the redemption of slaves - the Christians, who came from Muslim countries. As a result of a quarrel with Boleslav II in 995, Wojciech left Prague to visit Rome again. But in Prague, he learned that his home town, Libice, was destroyed, and his brothers were murdered. Through the convincing of the German Emperor, Otto III, and the agreement of the Polish King, Boleslaw the Brave, in 966, St. Adlabert arrived in Poland. The purpose of his visit was to make the mission even in the midst of the pagan Prussians. He was accompanied by a surviving brother and Benedict Radzim Gaudenty Bogusz. The three of them went to Gdansk and to the Pregel. In Pomerania, Wojciech’s mission began.  Here he proclaimed the Gospel, repented, and administered the sacraments. Then on April 17th, 997 he went to the island at the mouth of the Pregel, inhabited by the Prussians. St. Wojciech went to the people alone, not wanting that the presence of armed warriors to change the nature of the mission.  It is not known why the local people attacked the Bishop.  A crowd of angry locals attacked the unarmed group of missionaries. St. Wojciech was struck by an oar in the back, however, he managed to escape, quickly leaving the island and sailing to some village. From here, he also had to escape because the population did not want to listen to the missionary teachings and behaved aggressively. St. Adalbert took refuge on the seashore and five days later he went on his way.

He crossed through the woods, singing Psalms and praying. When he came upon an open area he attended a Mass celebrated by Radzym and received the Eucharist. Eventually overcome by sleep, he found a place in the shadow of a mighty oak. As it turned out it was a place of pagan worship.  The natives attacked him once again, seeing him as sacrilegious. He was tied up and beaten by the Prussian clergy. Six pagans, thrusting their spears into his heart, murdered St. Wojciech. They then cut off his head put it on a spear and placed it in a visible place. The pagans also set up guard around his body. The other monks were sent to the Polish King, that told him about the incident, which was a warning for strangers coming to their sites.

Boleslaw the Brave bought the body of the missionary, paying for it- as is told – with gold equal to the weight of the body of the soon to be Saint. The Polish king held a solemn funeral in his honor and laid his ashes in Gniezno, Poland.

In the year 999, St Sylvester II canonized St. Adalbert. As a result of the efforts of Boleslaw the Brave and the support of Otto III, in the year 1000, a metropolis was established in Gniezno, and its patron saint was chosen as Saint Adalbert. The holy place of worship of St. Adalbert in Poland is primarily the Gniezno Cathedral, where, besides the shrine itself, are the famous doors of Gniezno, a precious relic of medieval art, showing the life and martyrdom of the bishop. Images of St. Adalbert are placed in the arms of Trzemeszno and Radzinkowa.