17 July 2008

Sacrifice of Polish sports star and her husband that their child might be born

There have been a number of examples in recent years of mothers sacrificing their lives by refusing to take treatment dangerous to the life of their unborn child. Pope John Paul II beatified and canonized one such mother, St Gianna Beretta Molla.

Something that can be overlooked is the sacrifice that the husband makes in such circumstances. He makes the sacrifice of giv ing up the person he most loves, who is, in a very real sense, part of himself, since the sacrament of matrimony, in God's, makes the two into one, the only such human relationship.

On 13 July LifeSite.com carried the story of a young Polish volleyball star, Agata Mróz-Olszewska, who sacrificed her life so that her child, the child of her husband, could be safely born.

Two things struck me in the story. One was that she consulted with her husband before making the decision to delay a marrow-transplant so that she could give birth safely to their daughter Liliana.

The other thing that struck me was that the report did not give the name of the man who was Agata's husband and the father of Liliana. I googled and found that it is Jacek Olszewski. Jacek and Agata were married on 10 June 2007 and Liliana was born on 4 May this year. Agata's life spanned the days from 7 April 1982 till 4 June this year, six days short of her first wedding anniversary. She carried Liliana for nine months and held her for only one month.

I passionately believe that the basic vocation of a married couple is to be spouses. The vocation to be parents is a consequence of that. The St Gianna website highlights that:

The canonization of Saint Gianna is the first of its kind. Many mothers have been beatified for their heroic virtues but they entered religious life after becoming widowed. In St Gianna’s case, the very condition of her being a spouse and mother is being exalted and highlighted. St Gianna is the first canonized woman physician and professional who was also a “working mom”.

Together, as husband and wife, Jacek and Agata made a decision comparable with that of Abraham, who was ready to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Agata knew that she might lose her life. Jacek knew that he might lose his wife. Together, they decided that, no matter what, their daughter would live.

Please pray for the soul of Agata and for Jacek and their daughter Liliana.

The report:

Friday June 13, 2005

2005 Polish Volleyball Champion Sacrificed Her Life for Unborn Child

TANROW, June 13, 2008 (CWNews.com/LifeSiteNews.com) - A Polish volleyball star who was buried on June 9 is being compared by local Catholics to Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla because of her heroic sacrifice for her unborn child. Agata Mroz, who was originally known for her athletic prowess, was buried in her hometown of Tarnow. Mroz was pregnant with her first child when doctors discovered she had a fatal case of leukemia. After consulting with her husband, Mroz delayed a bone-marrow transplant until after she gave birth to her daughter Liliana on April 4, 2008. Polish fans dubbed the national team which Mroz led the "Golden Girls," due to their looks and their successes in international competitions. The national team won the European women's volleyball championship in 2003 and 2005.

Auxiliary Bishop Marian Florczyk of Kielce, Poland has said that Mroz's testimony is an example of "love of life, motherhood, the desire to give life, the heroic love of an unborn child." On June 4, a few hours after Mroz's death, Polish President Lech Kaczynski announced that she will be posthumously awarded the Polonia Restituta, one of Poland's highest awards for extraordinary and distinguished service.

Prayer of St Gianna Beretta Molla

Jesus, I promise You to submit myself to all that You permit to befall me,
make me only know Your will. My most sweet Jesus, infinitely merciful God, most tender Father of souls,
and in a particular way of the most weak, most miserable, most infirm
which You carry with special tenderness between Your divine arms,
I come to You to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart,
the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy will,
the grace to confide in You,
the grace to rest securely through time and eternity in Your loving divine arms.

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