Patti Bergerson, Development Department, Assumption BVM Province.
It’s hard to lose a friend when sister death claims us ...
And this year, we’ve said farewell to four of our friars, Fr. Bronislaus Jaskulski, OFM, Fr. Blasé Karas, OFM, Bro. Gregory Stasinski, OFM, and Fr. Jerry Zawada, all good and holy men.
Fr. Blasé came to our province as an orphan, a World War II refugee. When Russia invaded Poland in 1940, Fr. Blasé and his family were sent to a Siberian labor camp. Fr. Blasé was only 10 years old. Two years later, they were allowed to leave but weren’t given any food or provisions.
From Siberia, Blasé and his family crossed the Caspian Sea and entered Iran, where his mother died in 1942. Their journey continued through Pakistan into India, where Blasé found refuge at a Franciscan orphanage.
In 1947, the friars in India arranged passage, by ship, for Blasé and 16 other orphans. They were met in San Francisco by friars from our Province. Blasé continued his education at our Franciscan high school in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and became a Franciscan Friar of the Assumption BVM Province in 1950.
With all of the hardships and the struggles of his childhood, one would not expect the joy and optimism that he lived with. Since 1971, Blasé worked tirelessly with the inner-city poor of Chicago and in 1989 he founded, Anawim, a temporary shelter for homeless, Polish immigrants.
Through his life-time of service to the poor, he has touched thousands of lives. The same can be said about Fr. Bronislaus, Br. Gregory, and Fr. Jerry who in their respective ministries managed to touch the lives of all they came in contact with.
I find great wisdom and comfort in the Church giving us the Feasts of All Souls and All Saints. The Church invites us to look to all those who have walked this path before us, but now live in God’s presence.
On All Souls Day this year, our Franciscan community will especially remember Fr. Blasé, Fr. Bronislaus, Br. Gregory, and Fr. Jerry, including all our brothers who have died.
Please join us! Share with us the names of your loved ones to be included in our prayers.
I’m enclosing a beautiful prayer of remembrance, asking that you return your memorial list to me by October 30th. Together, let us remember all of our relatives, friends, and those who have touched our lives in some way. With joy in our hearts, let us celebrate, knowing that God is embracing each of them with love. Your personal memorial list will be placed on the altar at Queen of Peace Friary in Burlington, Wisconsin. The friars will celebrate Mass on All Souls Day for these intentions and remember them throughout the month of November. With your intentions, please consider making a contribution to help the Franciscans continue our ministry to the poor, the elderly, the youth, and the refugees of today. Your prayers and generosity enable us to continue our mission of serving the poor
May God bless you and your loved ones, especially those who have died, and may He reward you for your every act of kindness and generosity.
Peace and all good!
Fr. Jim Gannon, OFM
Please return your list of remembrance by October 30th so it can be placed at the altar in Queen of Peace Friary by All Souls Day. The friars will remember your loved ones during Mass on All Souls Day and throughout the month of November.