WARSAW, Poland — The beatification cause of a Polish missionary doctor known as the “mother of lepers” was opened Sunday.
Bishop Damian Bryl inaugurated the diocesan phase of the cause of Wanda Błeńska at Poznań Cathedral, western Poland, Oct. 18, the feast of St. Luke, patron of doctors.
Błeńska spent more than 40 years in Uganda caring for sufferers from Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, training local doctors, and turning St. Francis Hospital in Buluba into an internationally respected treatment center.
Following the opening of her cause, Bishop Bryl preached at a Mass in the cathedral, describing Błeńska as a woman of faith whose actions were rooted in prayer.
“From the very beginning of choosing her life path, she began to cooperate with God’s grace. As a student, she was involved in various missionary works and was grateful to the Lord for the grace of faith,” he said, according to the website of Poznań archdiocese.
The archdiocese reported that there was “thunderous applause” when it was announced that Błeńska could now to be referred to by the title “Servant of God.”
Bishop Bryl, an auxiliary bishop, was standing in for Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki of Poznań, who had been due to celebrate the Mass but tested positive for the coronavirus Oct. 17. The archdiocese said that Archbishop Gądecki, the president of the Polish bishops’ conference, was self-isolating at home following the positive test.
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