Biography of Blessed Jerzy Kaszira, MIC

Born April 4, 1904, in Aleksandrovo. His parents were Orthodox and thus he was baptized in the Orthodox church in Cheressy. His mother was apparently from a family of former Uniates and in 1907 she converted to Catholicism. His parents died early and Jerzy was raised by relatives who worked not far from Druja. In 1922, Jerzy, acting on his own, became a Catholic, and in 1924 he entered the recently opened monastery of Marians [of the Immaculate Conception] in Druja; there he finished high school and the novitiate. On August 2, 1929, he made perpetual vows and was sent to Rome to continue his education. He was known there as a hard-working religious and student. After completing the philosophy course he was forced to return to Druja. In 1931 he was sent to Vilnius Seminary and after completion of studies was ordained on June 20, 1935. He served as an educator of seminarians of his order in Vilnius, and later looked after the Marian candidates in Druja; he was also a religion teacher in a gymnasium. In 1938 the Polish authorities forbade him to minister in the border zone, and thus he became head of the Marian House in Rasno, where he remained during the Soviet occupation. In 1940 Fr. Jerzy, along with others, was driven out of the monastery and for several months wandered from monastery to monastery in Belorussia and Lithuania, always under the threat of arrest. In July 1942, during the German occupation, he returned to Druja and joined Fr. Antoni Leszczewicz, who was serving in the parish in Rosica, beyond the old Soviet border, where for a long time there had been no priests. In February 1943, in retaliation for the residents’ support of partisans during a fight with the occupiers, the Gestapo drove the residents of Rosica into the church [which was then ignited]. The priests did not abandon their parishioners, even though they could have escaped from the church, and voluntarily went to their deaths with them. February 18, 1943, Fr. Jerzy was martyred in Rosica. June 13, 1999, in Warsaw, Pope John Paul II declared him Blessed Jerzy Kaszira. Source: Moroz, pp. 355-360; List compiled by R. Dzwonkowski, SAC; Bukowicz, Marian Martyrs of Rosica; see also
Variant Names:
Kaszira, Jerzy; Kashira, Ezhi
Aleksandrovo (Serbia); Drui︠a︡ (Belarus); Rome (Italy); Drui︠a︡ (Belarus); Vilnius (Lithuania); Belarus; Lithuania; Drui︠a︡ (Belarus)
male; clergy and religious; executed