Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Anonymous Girl

March is Holocaust Remembrance Month 
Women's History Month

Little Girls who suffered
and died in the Holocaust
So much of women's history is lost because it was not written down or was oppressed.  This first story of the month is a perfect example of that.  It also speaks to the indomitable spirit of womankind and the love within her that transcends history books.   We'll explore several fascinating women this month.  Let's start with one whose name we'll never know.

Second Degree: Anonymous Girl
These words were written on the wall of a Gestapo cell by an 18-year-old girl.  Take a moment to pray for this girl's soul and for the millions of women who died in the Holocaust, calling on the Most Blessed Mother to protect and guide them.  No doubt, She did and still does.
First Degree: Henryk Gorecki
Polish composer, Henryk Gorecki was inspired by the writings of the 18-year-old girl and used her words as the libretto to the second movement of his third symphony, Sorrowful Songs.  You can buy it by clicking here.

Henryk Gorecki
Below is an excerpt from the Suffering With Joy blog.  It is used here with permission.  

Pope John Paul II and composer Henryk Gorecki had much in common.  Both were Poles, both lost their mothers at young ages, both resisted and thwarted the Communists oppressing their country,  both experienced deeply the anguish of World War II and the Holocaust, both became great because of strength of character and moral authority.
Cardinal Wojtyla’s motto, Totus Tuus, spoke of his great love for the Blessed Mother both personally and as a Pole.  She is intimately tied to the Polish people whose devotion to her is unexcelled by any other nation. They weave Mary into the tapestry of their daily, ordinary life, their spiritual lifetheir family life. Shrines to Our Lady dot the countryside along the many pilgrim paths.
The Pope's parents on their wedding day.
12-year old Karol Wojtyla
he lost his mother 4 years
Certainly as boys who had lost their mothers early in life, Mary as tender mother held a special place in the hearts of Gorecki and Wojtyla.  When he became Pope John Paul II, Wojtyla kept this motto and love of the Blessed Mother for the rest of his days, a counterpoint to those in the Church who strove to scrub her from notice.
Pope John Paul II
visiting Auschitz
Gorecki’s life and the Pope’s life intersected at several points, their relationship speaking of a high regard for one another.  The first notable event was the commissioning of Beatus vir by Cardinal Wojtyla for the celebration of the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Stanislas, bishop of Krakow, who was assassinated by King Boleslaw I over sins the King didn’t want to give up.  I will write more about this in my next post on Gorecki.
Pope John Paul II traveled to Poland several times.  For the 1987 pilgrimage to his native land, the Pope’s friend Gorecki composed the hauntingly beautiful Totus Tuus in the his honor.  Written for mixed choir, Gorecki immortalized in music the Pope’s life theme:
Totus tuus sum Maria,
Mater nostri Redemptoris.
Virgo Dei, virgo pia
Mater mundi Salvatoris.
Totus tuus sum, Maria!
I am completely yours, Mary,
Mother of our Redeemer.
Virgin Mother of God, loving virgin,
Mother of the Saviour of the world.
I am completely yours, Mary!
To purchase Gorecki's music or the CD of the music, click here.
Henryk Gorecki died in November of 2010.  May his memory be eternal.

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