CARDINAL (MAY 19, 2018)
ARCHBISHOP OF WARSAW DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
Augustus was born at Brzechowice, Poland on July 5, 1881. Attracted by the fame of Don Bosco, already at the age of 12, Hlond followed his elder brother to Italy to be able to consecrate himself in the Salesian Congregation. This encouraged two more of his brothers to do the same.
He was admitted to the novitiate and received the clerical habit from the hands of Blessed Michael Rua, in 1896. Having completed his studies at the Gregorian University, he returned to Poland for his regency (Practical Training) at Oswiecim. Augustus was ordained a priest on September 23, 1905. He was appointed Rector of the new house of Pizemysl (1907-09) and later that of Vienna (1909-19). In 1919 when the Austro-Hungarian province was divided, he was made Provincial. In two years the young Provincial was able to found some 10 new houses.
Having worked as Administrator Apostolic, he was ordained Bishop of Ktowice on January 3, 1926. On June 24 of the same year, Bishop Augustus became the Primate of Poland. In the following year on June 20, the Pope nominated him Cardinal. He was also in charge of the Polish people dispersed in various parts of the world. For this he founded a Congregation named “Christ the King.”
With the Second World War, his Calvary started. Cardinal Hlond was forced into exile until the end of the war, at first in Rome from where he started a courageous defense of his fatherland. It intensified in France when he took shelter at Lourdes. From there the Nazi police deported him to Paris so that he could form a Polish government favorable to them. But the Cardinal resolutely refused. Hence the Nazis imprisoned him, first at Lorene and later at Westphalia. However, the Allied Forces freed him and he was able to return to Poland where he was appointed Archbishop of Warsaw. Earlier he had defended his people from the horrors of Nazism, so now with his vigorous pastoral letters, he continued to defend them from Bolshevist atheism.
God protected him from more than one attempt on his life, reserving for him the death of a great Patriarch on October 22, 1948. His funeral was a real triumph. For the first time in the history of Poland the internment took place in the cathedral itself.