Homily Cardinal Angelo Amato from Hanna Chrzanowska’s beatification mass
1. In the person of Blessed Hanna Chrzanowska, precisely on the 45th anniversary of her birth for heaven, the Church celebrates the creativity of Christian mercy, which, following the example of Jesus the Good Samaritan, broadly opens its arms to receive, care and care for the sick, suffering and weak.
During her funeral, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla made a moving praise, saying: “We thank you, Lady Hanno, that you were among us … that you were among us an embodiment of Christ’s blessings from the Sermon on the Mount, especially that which says:” blessed the merciful ” .
Already in childhood, little Hanna learned from her parents to live according to basic human and Christian values, such as respect for people, diligence, honesty, sensitivity to the needs of the poor, the sick, people from the margins of society. It all directed her to the choice of the nurse profession. Initially, its activity was philanthropic and then, after the conversion in 1932, it became a true and proper Christian apostolate, the apostolate of the saving presence of the cross of Christ in the lives of the sick. While nurturing the devotion to Mary, the comforter of the afflicted, Hanna was the lantern of light in the darkness of human pain.
2. At the age of thirty a decisive breakthrough in the direction of holiness took place in her life, nurtured through prayer, holy communion and adoration of the Eucharist, through retreats, spiritual exercises and the recitation of the Rosary. Hanna, as a Benedictine oblate, joyfully and enthusiastically pursued the Benedictine charism of liturgical prayer and professional work aimed at the sick.
One of the witnesses states that in a special way she was fascinated by the mystery of Mary’s visit to St. Elżbieta, in which she saw an example of the attitude of a person who helps those in need. During the communist regime, she did not conceal her faith, even though she displayed it in opposition from the state authorities.
According to Sr. Serafina Paluszek, Hanna was a deeply religious woman: “She repeated emphatically that all that was done for the sick was done for Christ Himself.” She dealt with the sick and nurses both in the professional and religious aspects.
Hanna reminded everyone of the hope of eternal happiness in heaven. The sick were happy that they could have her close together, because they filled them with peace of mind, optimism and hope for recovery and eternal salvation. One of the witnesses calls her “Angel of Christian Hope”.
In the atmosphere of pain and suffering Hanna was able to bring a ray of light and joy. Thanks to internal peace and the simplicity of behavior she was often called “aunt”, arousing trust, peace, joy and also hope for the future. Her faith in Divine Providence and the heavenly future stimulated life and enthusiasm.
3. Witnesses testify that Hanna accepted her mother’s attitude towards the sick and her co-workers, who very often called her “our mother”. She was particularly magnanimous in treating and caring for seriously ill patients. She visited them and cared for their needs.
She did it with simplicity and cordiality treating the patient as the highest good, like her brother or sister. The profession of a nurse was for her a real calling, a summons for the benefit of the needy. She often distributed medicines bought for her own money.
She did not pay attention to fatigue or to her health. She generously gave others her own time, her intelligence, her culture, actively cooperating with all those who were concerned about relieving the sick or improving their living conditions. She could sell her own jewelry to buy medicine for those in need. She eagerly intervened to help her neighbor without waiting for thanks or acknowledgment.
One of the witnesses tells that one day Hanna learned about the difficult situation of two elderly ladies who need immediate help. Women lived in poor hygiene conditions, in dirt, exposed to cold and hunger. Immediately our Blessed took the sledge and went to knock on the door of the various monasteries, asking for some coal to light up in their furnace. «When the stove was warming – so the witness continues in his testimony – we poured water into the bowl, we warmed it on the stove and washed the old ladies. Then we got some underwear. The handmaid of God was not ashamed of any service towards the sick, she rolled in her sleeves and worked with me. It was the best school for the sick for me. ”
She was caring and forgiving in relation to those who looked after the chronically ill in families and paid special attention to their spiritual and sacramental life. She also provided them with the sacramental protection of the priest.
She did not hide her faith. During the communist regime, she did not complain about the ridicule and injustice she experienced. She regularly joined the sacraments. Due to her religious beliefs, she was deprived of the role of the head of the School of Nursing. Despite the she devoted her life to the full as a nurse, totally devoted to serving the sick. She was not afraid of party pressure, bravely defended her beliefs and organized a periodic retreat for the sick. Our Blessed was really a disciple of Christ, a good shepherd. Her life and her behavior is a compendium of Christian virtues inspired by the words of Jesus who says: What you did to one of my little brothers, you did me. Following in the figure of Hanna bent over the sick, we also learn to bend over the poor, take care about those who need consolation, support, encouragement, help. And there are many of them: they are small, abandoned, exiled, weak, marginalized. We see some of them on our streets every day; many, however, live secretly in their apartments, sick, poor, lonely, without support and help. The church, through the work of its sons and daughters, meets those abandoned, selflessly and nobly carrying them – as our Blessed example – help and protection. Let us be constantly obliging towards everyone, especially our patients, so that they can receive from us everyday signs of interest, gestures of encouragement and support.
Blessed Hanno Chrzanowska, pray for us!