The Story of Anna

In 1625 a lengthy trial in Warsaw ended with the sentencing to death by drowning of one Anna, daughter of the peasant Bartlomiej and his wife Jadwiga. Anna had been sent to Warsaw to work and help her parents with their expenses.

Anna had been a good country girl, and she became a good servant in Warsaw. But unfortunately, she fell in with a man whom she thought sincere. Anna became pregnant, but the man would not marry her. With her baby born out of wedlock, and filled with shame, fear and despair, Anna threw the child out the window onto the bank of a nearby river. She was tried and sentenced to death.

When the judges sent the chaplain to prepare the condemned girl for death, the priest found her sincerely contrite; he recommended that she place herself under the protective care of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

On the day set for her execution, a curious crowd followed Anna to a bridge over the Vistula. They saw the executioner tie a huge stone to Anna's legs to make sure she would remain submerged in the deep river.

There stood Anna, still young, full of vigor, eager to live, but doomed to death because of one fatal mistake, one moment of despair. She fell on her knees before the assembled people, wept bitter tears, and declared before the crowd her sorrow for her crime. She begged God's forgiveness; then she begged Our Lady of Czestochowa for help, and in return she vowed to reform her life.

But the executioner had to do his duty despite sympathy from the crowd, so he threw Anna into the river. As she struck the water she uttered a shrill cry; the crowd stared silently and in awe as the waters closed over her. Then the river flowed on as peacefully as before.

Some witnesses stayed there nearly a half hour, as the Vistula flowed on toward the sea. They seemed fascinated, looking at the waters, knowing the young girl was down there, weighed down by the heavy stone. Suddenly there was a murmur, and then an outcry! In the distance the onlookers saw the surface of the river break, as the form of a girl shot up from the depths! She swam toward the shore with ease, and clambered up onto the bank. Anna had survived!

Anna explained to the astonished witnesses, who had rushed over to her, that as she rested on the bottom of the muddy river, Our Lady of Czestochowa had appeared to her. Our Lady had removed the stone attached to Anna's legs, and had ordered her to swim to the shore.

The judges and all those present fell to their knees in praise and thanksgiving to Mary for the miracle. Later Anna, her mother, and many of the witnesses to the miracle went to Jasna Gora and made a solemn deposition there. They returned to their homes to lead exemplary lives.

Other Miracles of Resurrection

In 1517, a Polish child named Samuel died. He was the son of Stanislaw and Anna Wadzic of the town of Husiatyn in the county of Kamienicki. The child's body had been twisted by the excruciating pain he suffered. He died on a Saturday, the day dedicated to Mary, so his mother Anna fell on her knees in tears, offered the cold corpse to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and made a solemn promise to make a pilgrimage to Jasna Gora.

After a night of sorrowing by the casket, Stanislaw went to the church on Sunday morning to make the necessary funeral arrangements, while Anna continued to pray. When the father returned home, he learned that the deathly pallor had suddenly left the corpse, rigor mortis had given way to normal reflex action, the boy had opened his eyes and, smiling, had reached out his arms from the casket. Stanislaw beheld his healthy son in his wife's arms!

In thanksgiving, the happy family made the pilgrimage the next day to Jasna Gora. They brought with them two candles the size of their resurrected son, to be burnt before the miraculous image of the Madonna of Czestochowa.

An incident which took place in 1598 concerns a little girl named Ema, two years old, the daughter of Maciej and Jadwiga Klimczak, residents of Kazimierow. One day when Ema's parents had left her in the care of a babysitter, the latter set the child on the sill of a high open window where, from her high perch, Ema looked about happily at the entrancing countryside. But in a moment of forgetfulness the sitter stepped away from the child-- who lost her balance and fell. When the terrified sitter rushed down to the ground, Ema was dead.

When the parents returned they were torn between sorrow and anger. But they had to face reality, so they dressed Ema in white burial clothes, put a green wreath resembling a crown on her head, and placed a holy card of the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa in her small hands. Thus, with heavy hearts, father and mother began their vigil.

Their eyes were centered on the picture in their daughter's small hands. Suddenly the parents seemed to have a special flash of inspiration that made them both cry out together: "The Lady of Czestochowa! In her goodness she brought so many others back to life. She will help us! She will not refuse our plea and supplication!"

The father and mother placed the little casket in their wagon and started for Jasna Gora. The sun shone on them by day and the moon by night, but the once-bright eyes of Ema remained closed. Two, then three days passed, as they journeyed on. Mother and father were mostly silent, like their child's body, except for their audible prayers.

The fourth day arrived, and only half the journey to Our Lady's shrine had been covered. Still they held the reins, guiding the wagon steadily ahead. The eyes of Maciej and Jadwiga were almost closed from so many tears and sleepless nights. Then-- suddenly-- the body of Ema began to move, her eyes opened, and she rose up alive and well! The overjoyed parents continued on to the shrine in order to thank the Blessed Lady of Jasna Gora.

In 1643 two miners, Jan Wieliczko and his son Wawrzyn, carrying their tools, began to descend together on the single rope down the 60-foot shaft of a small mine they operated. The rope broke, and they fell to the rocky bottom far below. The mountaineers of the area assembled and, after much difficulty, brought the two bodies, crushed and mangled, to the surface.

Though all seemed beyond any human aid, the people did not despair. With the simple faith of the Polish, they fell on their knees and implored Our Lady of Czestochowa for mercy. Suddenly the two men stood up, healthy and well. All raised their voices to sing the praises of the Blessed Mother. ("If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed...")

Taken from Raised From the Dead, by Fr. Albert J. Hebert, S.M., p. 204-207.