The Catholic Defender: Blessed Michael Giedroyc
A life of physical pain and mental torment didn’t prevent Michael Giedroyc from achieving holiness.
Born near Vilnius, Lithuania, Michael suffered from physical and permanent handicaps from birth. He was a dwarf who had the use of only one foot. Because of his delicate physical condition, his formal education was frequently interrupted. But over time, Michael showed special skills at metalwork. Working with bronze and silver, he created sacred vessels, including chalices.
He traveled to Kraków, Poland, where he joined the Augustinians. He received permission to live the life of a hermit in a cell adjoining the monastery. There Michael spent his days in prayer, fasted and abstained from all meat and lived to an old age. Though he knew the meaning of suffering throughout his years, his rich spiritual life brought him consolation. Michael’s long life ended in 1485 in Kraków.
Five hundred years later, Pope John Paul II visited the city and spoke to the faculty of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. The 15th century in Kraków, the pope said, was “the century of saints.” Among those he cited was Blessed Michael Giedroyc.
"The church was his home by day and by night, to pray there, to keep watch, to bend the knee." He was particularly drawn to pray before a crucifix in the middle of the church, from which on one occasion he heard Christ speaking to him. It was while kneeling in prayer that Michael died after receiving absolution and extreme unction.
saving two young boys from drowning (a son of a Hungarian merchant who drowned in the Danube and a boy in the village of Spytkowice), and reviving a stillborn child.
Though he knew the meaning of suffering throughout his years, his rich spiritual life brought him consolation. Michael’s long life ended in 1485 in Kracow. Five hundred years later, Pope John Paul II visited the city and spoke to the faculty of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. The 15th century in Kracow, the pope said, was “the century of saints.”
Many people today face a life of suffering and discrimination due to physical handicaps. Let’s ask Blessed Michael Giedroyc to pray for them that their situation might be addressed by society at large.
Please watch over all of those with physical and mental handicaps Blessed Michael Giedroyc. May they take strength in your example to persevere through their difficulties. May we who are blessed with good health come to assist these individuals and act as Christ’s light to them. Amen