On August 15, 1568, the day St. Stanislaus Kostka died, the Roman Martyrology says that he “was made perfect in a short while and fulfilled many times by the angelic innocence of his life.”
Born of nobility in the castle of Rostkovo on October 28, 1550, in the Masovian region of Poland, Stanislaus was the son of John Kostka and Margaret Kryska. The young boy and his elder brother, Paul, were schooled at home by a private tutor. At age fourteen, Stanislaus and his brother enrolled and attended the college of the Jesuits at Vienna, Austria. Though Stanislaus was always bright and kind, he was frequently mistreated by his brother.
After two years at the Jesuit institution, the young man was taken ill and wished to receive viaticum. The landlord of the boarding house where he lived refused to allow the Eucharist to be brought into the house. Stanislaus appealed to his patroness, St. Barbara. She appeared to him with two angels, who gave him the Sacred Host. The Blessed Virgin is said to have also appeared to Stanislaus. She explained that his hour of death had not yet arrived. He was cured by the Blessed Mother. She requested that he devoutly enter the Society of Jesus and he soon petitioned to be admitted.
The provincial at Vienna would not receive Stanislaus because he feared the vehement anger of John Kostka. Stanislaus decided to flee Vienna because his father opposed his plans. Undaunted, he set out on a 450- mile walk to Dilligen in Bavaria, where Peter Canisius, provincial of upper Germany, took him in and sent him to Rome.
Stanislaus was admitted into the Society of Jesus in 1567, at age seventeen. The love which he had for Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrament was so ardent that his face appeared as if on fire as soon as he entered the church and he was often seen in a kind of ecstasy at Mass and after receiving Holy Communion. In Rome, Stanislaus performed his humble tasks cheerfully and lived for nine months as a saintly novice. His model novitiate was not destined to last any longer. St. Stanislaus died, as he had prayed, on the feast of the Assumption at age seventeen.
St. Stanislaus Kostka was canonized in 1726 and is venerated as the Patron Saint of Poland, as well as, the Patron Saint of Youth.
ST. STANISLAUS KOSTKA, PRAY FOR US!