Religious Priest and Martyr (1912-1942)
+ Józef Stepniak was born into a family of farmers in Zdzary, Mazowieckie, Poland. As a young man, he studied in the Capuchin friars’ college in Lomza, Poland. Although he struggled in his studies, he showed a tenacity and dedication to his work that made an impression on many who knew him.
+ After becoming a Franciscan tertiary, Józef entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Franciscans in 1931, receiving the religious name “Florian.” He was ordained a priest in 1938 and continued his studies in the Catholic University in Lublin.
+ Following the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, Father Florian refused to flee to safety, choosing to remain to minister to his brother friars and the local Christian community.
+ Arrested on January 25, 1940, he was imprisoned in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen and later moved to Dachau. He was abused, overworked, and starved until he could no longer work in the fields and was killed in the gas chambers on August 12, 1942.
+ Blessed Florian Stepniak was beatified with other Polish Martyrs of the Second World War in 1999.
For prayer and reflection
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”—Matthew 10:39
O God, who made Saint Jane Frances de Chantel
radiant with outstanding merits in different walks of life,
grant us, through her intercession,
that, walking faithfully in our vocation,
we may constantly be examples of shining light.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.