Vatican - Cardinal Augusto Hlond, SDB, towards Venerability

16 May 2018

(ANS - Vatican City) - On 15 May 2018, in the Ordinary Session of Cardinals and Bishops members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, a positive opinion was expressed on the reputation of holiness and the exercise, or decree, of the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Augusto Hlond (1881-1948), of the Society of St. Francis de Sales, Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw, Founder of the Society of Christ for the Emigrants of Poland.

Augusto Hlond was born in Brzęczkowice, Upper Silesia, on 5 July 1881 and died in Warsaw on 22 October 1948. He entered the Salesian Society at a very young age and did his novitiate in Italy at Foglizzo Canavese. After his religious profession he was sent to Rome where he attended the Gregorian University. Ordained a priest on 23 September 1905, he was Director of various Salesian houses in Przemyśl and then in Vienna.

He was the first Provincial of the German-Hungarian Province. In Vienna he made his mark on Msgr. Achille Ratti who, on becoming Pope, appointed him Apostolic Administrator of Upper Silesia, a responsibility requiring exceptional tact.

Appointed bishop of Katowice on 14 December 1925, on 24 June 1926 he was promoted to the archbishopric of Gniezno and Poznań, and also nominated the Primate of Poland. He was made cardinal by Pius XI on 20 June 1927. In 1932, he founded the Congregation: "Societas Christi pro Emigrantibus Polonis" (the Society of Christ for the Emigrants of Poland).

In 1936, as Primate of Poland, he led the first Synod of the Polish bishops. He became a great promoter of Catholic Action. He was the first shepherd in Poland, and possibly worldwide, to establish the "Youth Festival". With the outbreak of the Second World War, in September 1939, card. Hlond, at the request of the Polish government, in agreement with the Apostolic Nuncio, went to Rome to inform the Holy Father of the tragic situation in Poland; unable to return, he took refuge in Lourdes. In September 1944, he was deported by the Nazis to Germany, and managed to return home in July 1945.

In 1946, along with maintaining the headquarters of Gniezno, he was appointed archbishop of Warsaw by Pius XII. A Pastor "with his gaze cast to the future" was how the venerable cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, his successor, called him.

The Servant of God, who died with the crown of the Rosary in his hands, always nourished a profound devotion to Mary Help of Christians, whose cult spread throughout Poland, and consecrated his country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


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