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Blessed John Beyzym (1850-1912)

In order to understand who Jan Beyzym was and what he was like – it is worth reaching for the unpretentious and painfully sincere letters he wrote to his confreres. When he decided to sail to Madagascar to care for lepers after spending 25 years in Poland in the Jesuit order – he explained to his superiors that his religious “province can only gain from this, losing a good-for-nothing, unfit for anything.”

He reached the island in December of 1898. He bathed, fed, and bandaged the rotting wounds of sick Malgasy. He argued that, although people fear and loathe them, this is why Our Lady of Czestochowa loves them. “Brown as we and wounded as we,” the lepers would later say. He intended to ask the Austro-Hungarian Emperor himself for money to build a hospital: “In any case, I ask for his address because I do not know his name and where he lives, and after all, I suppose that Vienna is a little bigger than Khyriv, so you need to be sure what street and house to put on the envelope,” he wrote to Poland. He considered the risk of contracting leprosy unimportant: "So long as I will not be condemned – this is my point, and if leprosy or another disease  takes me from this earth, it is all the same to me. If I saw in this even the smallest bit of heroism, as you have expressed, then I say to you openly, no. Where is the heroism in this? The  Blessed Lady called me to serve the lepers, and here I am, that's all."

After opening the hospital in Marana, which still operates today, he came up with a new idea worthy of a divine madman.  From Africa he wanted to go to Sakhalin to take care of Polish exiles and ordinary criminals. However, he died of malnutrition and exhaustion. His relics can be found in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Krakow, in the vicinity of several hospitals. John Beyzym would probably be annoyed if he heard that he will be receiving honor as a blessed in the XXI century. But he is definitely pleased with his proximity to the sick.


The places associated with Blessed John Beyzym (1850-1912):