Andrew Bobola


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martyr. A Polish aristocrat who became a Jesuit at Vilna in 1609, he was preacher in the church of St Casimir there before he was appointed superior of the house at Bobruysk. An epidemic of plague brought out his exceptional care for the sick and the dying.

Later he resumed his missionary tasks, bringing whole villages of Orthodox Christians into communion with the papacy. This led to hatred and opposition, one form of which was for organized bands of children to follow him around and try to shout him down.

At this time rebellious Cossacks drove the Jesuits from their churches and colleges: they took refuge in marshy Podlesia, where Prince Radziwill offered them his house at Pinsk in 1652. This was captured by Cossacks in 1657; Bobola was seized, invited to abjure catholicism, and then beaten. His firm answers under interrogation exasperated his captors further and he was killed by being scorched, flayed, mutilated, and finally beheaded. His mutilated body, buried at Pinsk, translated to Polotsk in 1808, was found incorrupt and removed to Moscow by Bolsheviks but taken to Rome in 1922. It is now in the Jesuit church in Warsaw. Andrew was canonized in 1938. Feast: 21 or 16 May.

L. Rocci, Vita del B. Andrea Bobola (1924); other Lives by H. Beylard (1938) and J. Mareschini (tr. L. J. Gallagher and P. V. Donovan, 1939);B.L.S., v. 90–1; Bibl. SS., i. 1153–5.

Subjects: Christianity.

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