Father Beyzym loved his religious vocation. He loved it in the context of his belonging to the Society of Jesus and Galicia Province (Polish Province in other words). Loving his vocation, he loved his Order. Father was ready for anything, even for “the thousand of deaths”, but for the leaving of the Society, as he considered his vocation to be the will of God. He loved his order; he chained his heart to it since the time of his novitiate, i.e. from 1872.
The Order as a spiritual family
The Order as a spiritual family
When he came to know that somebody left the Order, he was sincerely upset and would warn himself: “Serve God faithfully, you old fool, so it did not happen to you”. The mere thought that he could leave the Order overfilled his heart with pain and his eyes with tears. The faithful son of the Society of Jesus, Father Beyzym was bound to it by fairly family ties. On his death bed he prayed for his province, for the Provincial, for all the superiors under whose authority he served. The Order was Father’s spiritual family. There he felt the bond with Mother-Church and Motherland. It was the Polish part that served the Church.
He knew that “everything will be well, as long as God helps to endure to the moment of death, so one could die in the Society of Jesus and do not fall into the devil’s paws”. Father persistently asked Our Holy Mother for the strength to hold out. He loved his province and would not be transferred to Toulouse Province for anything.
When Father considered the ways to get to Sakhalin, he viewed the transfer to Mogilev diocese as one of the possibilities. As a chaplain of the diocese he could be sent to work with the prisoners. Father claimed, though, that he would never lose his membership in the Order and Galicia Province. De facto he would be a Jesuit, but pro forma, in eyes of the Russian government, he might be a diocesan priest. Only if the Father General ordered him to leave the Society for the greater glory of God, so that he could serve for the greater good of our neighbours, who lived in the spiritual poverty, Father Beyzym would agree to that with aching heart, though. The greater glory of God, the greater good of the neighbour and obedience formed the identity of Father Beyzym the Jesuit.
There was no impertinence or self-assurance in him. He humbly knew that he was weak and that he needed God’s help. In his prayers Father often asked Our Holy Mother to protect and spare him from losing the holy faith and his vocation, i.e. from the Society of Jesus drop off.
Concern for Galicia Province good reputation
Loving his Order, Father also cared for its good reputation. Good reputation of the Society of Jesus as a whole, Galicia and Champagne Provinces in particular, as Marana and Betsileo mission belonged to Champagne Province. The proper use of donations for the leprosarium construction was of Father’s special concern. He was worried about the construction progress, especially when the works were delayed for different reasons. He could not bear the thought that the donors might think the money for the leprosarium was improperly used, or was used for other purposes, or was simply embezzled.
Father wanted that after either his death or his transfer to Sakhalin, the leprosarium was entrusted to a right person, preferably to the Polish Jesuit. This way he also cared for the good reputation of Galicia Province, as it largely took the responsibility for the leprosarium. He believed that the leprosarium belonged to a greater degree to the Polish Province than to the French, as he himself was a Pole and the leprosarium was built on the Polish benefactors money.
Father Beyzym always kept a contact with his province. He asked for the province catalogues, for “Our News” (Nasze Wiadomości), for “The Catholic Voices” (Głosy Katolickie), for “The Intentions of the Apostleship of Prayer” (Intencje Apostolstwa Modlitwy) and “Proprium”, i.e. for the Formulas of the Mass and the Breviary of the saints and blessed of the Society. Father Beyzym was happy of Pope Pius X blessing for Galicia Province. He believed that he also contributed to this blessing, as he belonged to Galicia Province, even is he worked for Champagne Province.
Fair, active and apostolic love…
Father Beyzym always prayed for his whole Society, for his province. He served the Masses for its good status. He often asked Our Holy Lady to protect the Polish Province. If he asked Our Holy Mother for the leprosy, it was also for the reason to have something to offer to Our Lord in the intention of his province. Father Koppensa ensured that Father Beyzym always prayed for his province and never forgot about it.
In his concern for the greater glory of God and greater blessing of God for the Polish Province, he dreamed about the Sakhalin mission. There was a Polish Province on Madagascar, there should be one on Sakhalin as well. That would incur greater blessing of God on it. Father’s fair, active, apostolic love for his Order, for his native province was always combined with the love for the glory of God that created greater good under Polish and African sky.
Fr. Mieczysław Bednarz SJ