“Dear Jesus, I want nothing else but love. I want to love you as much as is possible for any creature to love God. You, dear Jesus, nobody else! […] I am asking you so ardently for nothing else but to keep me always from offending you with even but a shade of voluntary sin.”
Servant of God, Rozalia Celakówna, whose process of beatification began in 1996, was born on September 19th, 1901, in the village of Jachówka, Sucha Beskidzka District, Poland. She was the eldest of the eight children of Joanna and Tomasz Celakówna.
Learning to love God
Rozalia’s parents were fervent Catholics. Working hard on the farm, they nonetheless devoted much time to the religious upbringing of their children. They would pray together in the morning, at noon and in the evening, reciting the rosary and other prayers. Besides, they would regularly read the Bible, lives of saints and other religious books, and magazines. The Celaks would go to confession every month and attend Mass every Sunday, and sometimes on weekdays too.
This is what Rozalia wrote about her parents: “From my earliest years, they inculcated into my soul the deep tenets of holy faith and the love of God and neighbors. They watched over my soul to guard it from any corruption. At home, I had never been set a bad example.” Her parents passed on to their children the greatest treasure which the Catholic faith is. Little Rozalia was very happy when she could visit Jesus present in the tabernacle. She would tell him: “Jesus, I want to be yours for good, forever.”
Rozalia’s diary reads: “The first teacher who taught me to love Jesus was my Dear Mother. She instructed me about what Jesus had done for us, what we were to love him for, how I was to behave so that he would like me, etc. […] The piety of my parents could be seen above all in the keeping of God’s Commandments; it was not some bizarre, warped piety but healthy and reasonable.” From her parents, Rozalia learned how to mold her character: to overcome selfishness, to acquire humility and meekness, to be able to forgive, to be good and kind, and ready to serve the elderly and needy. First of all, however, she learned how to grow in the love of God.
On September 1, 1908, Rozalia went to elementary school. She had a good memory, liked studying very much and set an example for other children. At the age of 10, she received her first Holy Communion. She claimed this to have been one of the most crucial events in her life. On that occasion, she declared her love for Jesus: “Dear Jesus, I want nothing else but love. I want to love you as much as any creature may love God. You, dear Jesus, nobody else! […] I am asking you so ardently for nothing else but for keeping me always from offending you with but a shade of voluntary sin.”
Sainthood is love. The soul will achieve supreme perfection when it comes to love God the most passionately
It was then that Rozalia experienced her first mystical encounter with Jesus. The Lord asked her: “Give yourself to me, entirely and without reservations, to my exclusive service and you will be very happy. The world can never give you happiness, but I, your God, will make you happy. Love me for the entire world! I will broaden your heart and fill it with love so that you can pay me with love for love.”