Saint November 13 : St. Stanislaus Kostka who Received Communion from Angels - a Jesuit and Patron of Students and Poland - #SJ
October 28, 1550, Rostkowo
August 15, 1568, Rome - Feast Nov. 13
Jesuit novices, students, Poland
Stanislas stayed for a month at Dillingen, where the provincial of that time, the Blessed Peter Canisius, put the young aspirant's vocation to the test by employing him in the boarding-school. Subsequently he went on to Rome, where he arrived 25 October, 1567. As he was greatly exhausted by the journey, the general of the order, St. Francis Borgia, would not permit him to enter the novitiate of Saint Andrew until several days later. During the ten remaining months of his life, according the testimony of the master of novices, Father Giulio Fazio, he was a model and mirror of religious perfection. Notwithstanding his very delicate constitution he did not spare himself the slightest penance ("Monument hist. Societatis Jesu, Sanctus Franciscus Borgia", IV, 635). He had such a burning fever his chest that he was often obliged to apply cold compresses. On the eve of the feast of St. Lawrence, Stanislas felt a mortal weakness made worse by a high fever, and clearly saw that his last hour had come. He wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin begging her to call him to the skies there to celebrate with her the glorious anniversary of her Assumption (ibid., 636). His confidence in the Blessed Virgin, which had already brought him many signal favours, was this time again rewarded; on 15 August, towards four in the morning, while he was wrapt in pious utterances to God, to the saints, and to the Virgin Mary, his beautiful soul passed to its Creator. His face shone with the most serene light. The entire city proclaimed him a saint and people hastened from all parts to venerate his remains and to obtain, if possible, some relics (ibid., 637). The Holy See ratified the popular verdict by his beatification in 1605; he was canonized on 31 December, 1726. St. Stanislas is one of the popular saints of Poland and many religious institutions have chosen him as the protector of their novitiates. The representations of him in art are very varied; he is sometimes depicted receiving Holy Communion from the hands of angels; sometimes receiving the Infant Jesus from the hands of the Virgin; or he is shown in the midst of a battle putting to flight the enemies of his country. At times he is depicted near a fountain putting a wet linen cloth on his breast. He is invoked for palpitations of the heart and for dangerous cases of illness (Cahier, "Caractéristiques des Saints").
This account has been drawn almost exclusively from the depositions of witnesses cited for the process of canonization of Stanislas (cf. Archivio della Postulazione generale d. C. d. G., Roma). The accompanying portrait is by Scipione Delfine and the oldest of St. Stanislas in existence. Having probably been painted at Rome the year of his death, perhaps after death, it may be regarded as the best likeness. The face is strikingly Slavonic, a fact that is not noticeable in his other portraits.
The Catholic Encyclopedia