Being a humble person, attributing to himself nothing but sins and considering himself undeserving, Father Beyzym felt showered by Our Lord ad His Holy Mother, by people and benefactors (especially from Poland) with gifts. He was deeply and movingly grateful in his humbleness. Every gift, even the smallest, evoked the impulse of gratitude in him.
He celebrated the Holy Mass for the dead and living benefactors. The lepers prayed for them daily. Every Friday the sick offered the Holy Communion and prayed the Chaplet to the Mother of God for their benefactors. "My black birds and I pray for the Reverend Mothers every day as soon as we can”. Together with the sick he prayed for the Krakow Ursulines’ boarding school students, who gathered and sent the elms to him. Owing to the generous donations, his patients did not die of starvation any more. Father always thanked the Holy Mother first and after that he thanked the benevolent benefactors for their kindness. With the touch of awkwardness in his gratitude, he asked the Holy Mother, generous and rich, to wish to reward all the benefactors hundredfold.
When he knew his benefactors, he always wrote appropriate letters, thanking personally for all the donations and elms. While doing that he was guided by two reasons: the gratitude and the fear that the silence on his part would be taken for the ingratitude and would discourage the benefactors. He always asked Father Cherminsky to announce his acknowledgements for the elms, even the smallest, in the”Catholic Missions”. He thanked Stanislaw Hankiewicz for the chessboard and other ”playthings” for the sick and, in particular, for the children. He and his patients kept praying for Father Cherminski, who, with the help of the ”Catholic Missions” and with all the other possible means, gathered the elms for the lepers and for the leprosarium construction. ”We pray for Father continuously here”. He wished to be grateful himself and his patients were taught to be grateful too. He used to send his benefactors (Father Cherminski, Carmelites, Teresa Ledokhowska, from who he got plenty of gifts, especially church paraments) different things made by himself: i.e. picture frames, paperweights, holy water fonts and even the tabernacle for the Carmelite nuns as tokens of his gratitude.
His gratitude included everybody – the great and the small: Countess Wanda Groholska - for the chalice for his chapel, Father Bishop Anatol Nowak from Krakow - for the chalice and the portable altar consecration, modest Father Jan Kozel, the gardener, - for the flower seeds that had been sent to him. Father Beyzym could be selflessly grateful for the good things the other might enjoy. He thanked God for the Krakow Ursulines’ novitiate and boarding school. He asked Lobzow Carmelite nuns to join him in his thanks to Jesus for his former Ambahivoraka patients arrival, which, in spite of his self-sacrificing love for them, increased his workload quite sufficiently. For all the grace, granted to him by God by means of Mary (especially for some church paraments packages sent mainly by Teresa Ledokhowska. They had stayed unopened for 10 years, which Father considered a miracle) Father thanked Our Lord and His Holy Mother as for the special evidence of Her care for him, for his patients and for their asylum.
FATHER BEYZYM AND THE VIRTUE OF GRATITUDE
For all the things that happened in his life, Father’s heart was ”filled with gratitude” for Jesus and His Holy Mother. For the hope of going to Sakhalin Father thanked as well. He felt uncapable (”undeserving”) of thanking the way he wanted to, so he asked Lobzow Carmelite nuns to do that for him. (Father wrote about that in his last letter to Lobzow Carmel. The letter bears the heart-warming accent of gratitude and humility). He always wished Our Lord Jesus was himself a reward for Father’s benefactors. He was moved by the kindness of the Carmelite nuns deeply. He, ”a rascal”, did nothing for them to repay for what they had done for him. So he asked Mary to reward them the way only She could.
When he looked for a better hospital construction site and needed the area with abundant water supply, he asked Carmelite nuns to pray for him, believing that they would be denied nothing by Jesus. When the place and water source were found in Marana, Father thanked the nuns cordially and asked Our Holy Mother to reward their efficient prayers generously.
Father felt grateful to Our Lord for His graces and gifts, for alms and people’s kindness, for the smallest progress in the delayed hospital construction, for the saving from the locusts, for the rain during the long-lasting dry season, when they were threatened with famine –”but Our Lord Jesus was merciful and sent the rain at the end of January”.
Mykola Gogol said that God had no ingratitude. Thus, gratitude is a divine trait. Father Jan Beyzym was blessed with that trait. His gratitude had the features of poverty and humbleness, faithfulness and spiritual joy. He was comforted and strengthened with everything he thanked for. I think that owing to the remarkable virtue of gratitude he did not lose his spiritual health, his serenity and courage to face the difficulties.
Father Mieczysław Bednarz SJ