I believe that heroes can come from anywhere. Comic books have proven that, from the high school student that become Spiderman, to the boy who become Shazam, heroes can come from anywhere. And one the most unlikely heroes I have seen was a nun, well a group of nuns really and I would like to share their story with you.
Cecylia Roszak was born March 25, 1908 in the town of Kielczewo, Poland. When she was 21 years old, she joined a Dominican monastery. She took her first vows in 1931 and her perpetual vows in 1934.
In 1938 the nuns travelled to Vilnius, Lithuania, to establish a new convent. Even though they were able to get it up and running, the war interrupted their plans. They ended up sheltering Jews that escaped the ghetto, as well as 17 Jewish resistance fighters. They established a bond with the Jews they sheltered, the Jews often working in the fields with the nuns. The became so close that the Jews called Mother Superior, Anna Borkowska, Ima- Hebrew for mother.
One of the men they hid was poet and activist Abba Kovner. Abba had circulated a manifesto inside the Vilna ghetto called “Let us not go like lambs to the slaughter”, he was the first victim of the Nazi’s to warn of their extermination plans. He would later go on to testify against Adolf Eichmann.
Mother Superior, Anna, was the first one to start smuggling arms into the convent to the resistance fighters by smuggling in hand grenades.
In 1943 the Nazi’s caught onto to what was going on and arrested the nuns. I couldn’t find any information as to what happened to them once they were arrested but they did survive the war and afterwards returned to Krakow, Poland.
In 1984 Roszak, along with the other nuns were made Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashem for their work in saving Jewish lives during one of history’s darkest times.
I hope that you have found inspiration in the lives of Cecylia and the brave nuns. This story, just one of many, proves that a hero can come from anywhere.
I look forward to seeing you again soon, until next time.