“The Lord chose me for the amazing mission of love in the world, a mission which is worthy of giving one’s life for, not to mention one’s talent and strength.” This is how Bl. Natalia Tułasiewicz (pronounced too-wah- SHEV-eetch) perceived her calling in life. She was beatified in 1999, together with a group of 108 Polish martyrs, all of whom died for their faith during the Second World War.
Bl. Natalia’s example carries great hope that, no matter what the circumstances, even in extreme difficulties, our lives can be beautiful and fulfilling, and it also points to the kinds of relationships and values which help us shape this life.
Natalia was “the Lord’s apostle of love amid the world’s frenzied hatred.” Her words “God’s service is the service of strength which knows no defeat” testify to her heroic life and sealed her martyr’s death on March 31, 1945 in the German Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck.
I Want to Bear Christ to All People
Natalia lived for 39 years. Her father was a customs officer, and she was born into a large family in 1906 in Rzeszów, in the sector of Poland that was at the time occupied by Austria. Her upbringing and education were attentive and meticulous. She was an active member of the Marian sodality. Her youth years coincided with the first years of independence that Poland had known after 123 years of subjugation by the surrounding powers. This promoted an atmosphere of enthusiasm, which also marked her education and early years of work. While at the University of Poznan, where she majored in Polish studies, she disputed the world outlooks and the attitudes the other students supported. She planned to continue studying for her doctorate. After breaking off an engagement to a classmate, she determined to live a solitary life, convinced that solitude in the presence of God would open incredible horizons for activity.
“The greatest gift in life is the person, his good, feeling heart” (Bl. Natalia Tułasiewicz)
In the twenty-year period between the wars she worked as a teacher in Poznan schools. Open to the spirit of the times and the resulting changes, she earned the respect of others by constantly aspiring to new and more demanding challenges, both in her personal and professional life.
She expressed the sense of her life in the words: “Live as though the fate of the world depended entirely on the quality of your life.” She served people with her help and support.