The death of St. Stanislas Kostka

August 28, 2021 • 5 min

From The Glories of Mary, page 492
By St. Alphonsus Liguori

During the lifetime of this holy youth [St. Stanislas Kostka], who was wholly devoted to the love of Mary, it happened that on the first day of August, he heard a sermon of Father Peter Canisius, in which, preaching to the novices of his society, he fervently urged upon all, the important advice, to live every day as if it might be the last of their life, after which they were to be presented at the divine tribunal.

The sermon being finished, St. Stanislas told his companions that this counsel had been for him especially the voice of God, for that he was to die on that very month. He said this either because God had expressly revealed it to him, or at least because he gave him a certain internal presentiment of what afterwards happened.

Four days after, the blessed youth went with Father Emmanuel to St. Mary Major, and beginning to speak of the approaching festival of the Assumption, he said: “Father, I believe that on that day there is seen in paradise a new paradise, the glory being seen there of the mother of God crowned queen of heaven, and seated so near the Lord above all the choirs of angels. And if it is true that every year, as I believe it to be certain, this festival is renewed in heaven, I hope to see the next one.”

The glorious martyr St. Lawrence having fallen to the saint by lot as his monthly patron, according to the custom of that society, it is said that he wrote a letter to his mother Mary, in which he prayed her to obtain for him that he might be a spectator of this festival of hers in paradise. On St. Lawrence’s day he received communion, and after it supplicated the saint to present that letter to the divine mother, by interposing his intercession that the most holy Mary might graciously hear his prayer.

At the close of this very day a fever came upon him, and although it was very light, he, however, from that hour esteemed it for certain that he had obtained the favor asked for film, namely, an early death.

Indeed, on going to bed he said joyfully, with a smiling countenance: “From this bed I shall never arise.” And speaking to Father Cladius Aquaviva, he added: “I believe that St. Lawrence has already obtained for me the grace from Mary that I should be in heaven on the festival of her Assumption.”

But no one thought much of these his words. The vigil having arrived, his malady continued to appear light, but the saint told a brother that he should die the next night, and the brother answered: “Oh, brother, it would be a greater miracle to die of so slight an illness, than to be cured.”

But, behold, after noon he fell into a deadly swoon, and then came a cold sweat, and he entirely lost his strength. The superior hastened to him, and Stanislas prayed him to order him to be placed on the bare floor, that he might die as a penitent, which was granted in order to satisfy him, and he was laid on the floor on a mattress.

Then he made his confession, received the viaticum, not without the tears of all present, for when the divine sacrament was brought into the apartment, his eyes kindled with celestial joy, and his whole countenance was radiant with holy love, so that he seemed a seraph.

He also received extreme unction, and meanwhile did nothing but now raise his eyes to heaven, now look upon, kiss, and lovingly press to his breast, an image of Mary. A father said to him: “Of what use is it to wear that rosary around your hand, if you cannot recite it?” He answered: “It serves to console me, for it is something belonging to my mother.” “Oh, how much more,” said the Father, “will you be consoled by seeing her, and kissing, in a short time, her hands in heaven!”

Then the saint, with his countenance all on fire, raised his hands, thus to express his desire of finding himself soon in her presence.

Then his dear mother appeared to him, as he himself declared to those around him, and soon after, at the dawn of day on the fifteenth of August, he expired as a saint, his eyes fixed on heaven, without a motion, so that not until afterwards, when the image of the most holy Virgin was presented, and he made no movement towards it, it was perceived that he had already gone to kiss in paradise the feet of his beloved queen.

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