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Pious Recreation n° 8 , 01r

 

J.M.J.T.

[SAINT STANISLAUS KOSTKA]

 CAST

The Blessed Virgin and the Child Jesus — Saint Stanislaus Kostka — Saint Francis Borgia, Duke of Gandia, lord of the court of Charles V, Superior General of the Jesuits — Brother Stephen Augusti, a young novice.

[Scene 1]

 The scene takes place at Rome, in the room of Saint Francis Borgia. He is alone, carefully reading a letter. There is a timid knock at the door.

  SAINT FRANCIS BORGIA     

Come in. (A novice appears.) .Ah, Brother Augusti, I was waiting for you. (The novice kneels respectfully before Saint Francis, who offers him a chair.) Sit down, my child. It's not as a novice I wish to speak with you, but as a confidant, a friend.  

  BROTHER AUGUSTI, still on his knees

  My Reverend Father, your goodness confuses me; how can I treat you as a mere friend, you, the General of the Society of Jesus, you whom Spain and Italy are already calling a saint?Oh! leave me at your feet; I don't want to speak to you except on bended knee ; your humility can't make me forget that, as the Duke of Gandia, you despised the grandeurs of the court of Charles V to come..............   

  SAINT FRANCIS, interrupting in a severe tone.  

  Hush, my brother, and never let such words come from your lips. Had I not understood your simplicity, I would impose a harsh penance on you; but I know that you judge and speak like a child. From now on, treat as nothing what glitters in the eyes of human beings; it is God who must judge us; before Him, the shepherd and the king are equal, true greatness is in virtue [so] and not in noble origins. Know that Francis of Borgia is no saint, but a great sinner, unworthy to be a disciple of the Glori­ous Ignatius. Pray to God, my son, that He deign to have mercy and make me less unworthy of the new mission He has en­trusted to me.            

 

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RP8 01v

BROTHER AUGUSTI, anxiously.

  A new mission!... O my Father, will Your Reverence then be leaving Rome?.... 

 SAINT FRANCIS  

  It's not a matter of leaving Rome, but of receiving a nov­ice who should become the glory of the Society of Jesus. To make you acquainted with him, I'm going to read you a few passages from a letter from the Provincial of Northern Germany. 

  BROTHER AUGUSTI 

  Father, I'm beginning to believe that you are put­ting me to a test. I can't understand how your Reverence would deign to choose me, a poor little novice, as confidant.... 

  SAINT FRANCIS, smiling. 

  No, my child, it's not a test; I know you' well enough to know that my confidences won't make you feel superior to your fellow students. Here's the reason I must speak with you intimately: I want you to be the angel of Brother Stanislaus, the novice Fr. Canisius is sending me. 
  Picking up the letter, he reads the following passages
"The angelic child I'm presenting to you, Your Rever­ence, is the son of John Kostka, lord of Rostkow in the King­dom of Poland. Young Stanislaus's family is among the most illustrious of the royalty, but they are even more remarkable for their piety. However, despite the examples of virtue John Kostka has had the honor of giving his sons, this good noble­man does not understand at all the practice of the evangelical counsels and [Stanislaus] will never obtain his consent to enter the Society of Jesus. I believed that, on account of the distance. I'd be able to admit him to our novitiate at Dillingen. Some letters of Fr. Antonio, the child's spiritual director, have al­ready convinced me of his sanctity, but what enchants me most of all is to see the angelic piety that shines from young Stanislaus's face and reveals his soul's maturity. I have been able to recognize that Sanctity knows no distinction between blond hair and white. Nonetheless. I still wanted to test this vocation; the lengthy fatigues of a journey on foot of two hundred leagues by a child of noble upbringing did not satisfy me. So, I ordered die young novice to perform the most me­nial duties in the house; I had him serve at table in the lowly clothes he'd worn on his trip (to avoid recognition, he'd aban­doned the garments of a gentleman and dressed like a poor pilgrim). No humiliation shocked the fervent novice, the most contradictory orders never seemed to upset him; his only re­sponse was to do immediately what he'd been told to do and to do it so promptly that his fellow students, in a charming

 

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RP8 02r

 

joke, nicknamed him: the All-Powerful.

"I have never encountered such amiable simplicity; if some­one spoke of his birth and his admirable virtues in front of him, he wouldn't contradict or, with false humility, deny the obvi­ous, but, smiling as if someone else had been mentioned, he never seemed to take any notice. Several of the Fathers were as­tonished by what they took to be a lack of the virtue of humility; as for myself, I must avow to Your Reverence that the simplicity of little Brother Stanislaus has taught me more than mam- dissertations I've long meditated upon which discuss humility. Since this virtue is nothing more than truth, I find that our simple novice has an abundance of it. Furthermore, he exhibits a great disdain for himself; he's often said to me that all his brethren seem like angels to him and that he is unworthy to live in such company. I would have been very happy to confer the Jesuit habit on this Holy child, but it seemed to me more prudent to send him to Rome to receive our holy habit from the hands of Your Reverence." (Saint Francis of Borgia lays the letter on the table.) The rest of this letter deals with business of the province; it doesn't concern vou. Now, my son, go look for our new brother, who should arrive today; I think he's already in our church. 

 

 BROTHER AUGUSTI

O my Father! how will I dare to speak to him?... What position - are you going to give him in our house?... We will never be able to treat him with enough honor!

SAINT FRANCIS

God save me from treating him with honor! In doing so I'd ruin the beautiful edifice of his perfection; on the Contrary, I want to put him to the test again and convince myself of the virtues his superiors have seen in him. I order you, Brother Augusti, to give no sign at all that you have heard his nobility and his virtues spoken of.

BROTHER AUGUSTI, getting up.

My Father, I shall obey you; I'm going right now to seek out Brother Stanislaus.

SAINT FRANCIS

Bring him here; I'm going to hide myself in the next room to observe his speech and his manner. After a few moments of conversation with him, find some pretext for leaving; then I'll come out. 

[Scene 2]

Saint Francis of Borgia leaves with Brother Augusti; shortly there­after, the latter returns. —After knocking to no purpose on the door, he enters

  

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RP8 02v

along with Saint Stanislaus, dressed as a poor pilgrim. 

 
  BROTHER AUGUSTI
 
Our Reverend Father General is not here, though he did tell me to bring you to him.... Have you been waiting in the church a long time, my brother?
SAINT STANISLAUS
 
No, my brother, no more than five or six hours, I think. .Aid, if you'll permit it, I'll go back there, since Father General's not here.
 
BROTHER AUGUSTI 

Better you should wait here, I don't think he'll be long. But, doubtless, you've had nothing to eat since your arrival in Rome; you should have let the porter know you were there. 

 SAINT STANISLAUS   

 My superior, Fr. Canisius, told me to wait in the church until the Reverend Fr. Francis Borgia sent someone to find me. I would have felt I was failing in obedience if I'd spoken to brother porter. 

  BROTHER AUGUSTI 

  You've done well to be obedient, but I'm going to find the refectorian right away, so he can get you something to eat. 

  He exits without hearing SAINT STANISLAUS, who says to him

  Oh! I beg you, my brother, don't go. I assure you I need nothing. 

  [Scene 3] 

  SAINT FRANCIS BORGIA enters; he acts surprised to see Saint Stanislaus, who has knelt down after the exit of Brother Augusti. Pre­tending to take him for a beggar, he says to him harshly

  How dare you come in here? If You're in need of alms, you must ask the porter, though at Your age you should be ashamed to beg. There's no lack of jobs in the workshops of Rome. 

  SAINT STANISLAUS 

  Pardon me, Reverend Father, and don't deny me the alms I seek, to take the lowest place in your Holy society. 

  SAINT FRANCIS 

  That's not a new line; do you think you’re the first adven­turer I've ever met? (Pointing to the door. ) Get out right now; we don't take novices like you in the Society of Jesus.  

 

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

 
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RP8 03r

SAINT STANISLAUS, with tears in his eyes.

O my Father! have pity on me, I promise you.................

[Scene 4]

SAINT FRANCIS to Brother Augusti, who has knocked on the door and entered:

I can't get rid of this beggar, take him outside.

BROTHER AUGUSTE quite astonished.

My Reverend Father, this young man is no beggar. He's the novice Fr. Canisius has sent vou.

SAINT FRANCIS, to Saint Stanislaus.

So, by coming into your superior's room in his absence you were trying to get to the novitiate?

BROTHER AUGUSTI

My Father, I'm the one who brought him to your room; I left him here to go run an errand. I beg Your Reverence that you do not punish him.

SAINT STANISLAUS

My Reverend Father, I can see that I deserve to be se­verely punished and I implore you not to spare me (putting his hands together), but,- out of pity, little as I deserve it, please let me stay in your house.

SAINT FRANCIS

Since it's the Reverend Father Canisius who's sent you, I'll admit you to the novitiate. But I warn you that I will be on your case. - The fathers at our house in Vienna have written me that, when you were their student, they rarely saw you study­ing. Rather than pay serious attention to the lessons of your masters, you’d prefer, under a pretext of piety, to read or meditate on pious books. If you hope to continue your extreme devotions, it's pointless to remain at Rome. Here one must work seriously and be content with community prayer.

SAINT STANISLAUS

O my Father, how good you are to be willing to keep me; I promise to obey you in all things, and I will study as much as you wish. It's true that when I was a student with the Jesuits in Vienna,' I wasn't very assiduous in my work and, more, I was lacking in talent. But, by the end of my studies, I'd outdone my fellow students; I could never give myself credit for these small successes, since I'm well aware of my own inferiority.

SAINT FRANCIS

It's pointless to speak about your success. Tell me, rather, what your reason is for asking to join the Society of Jesus.

 

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

  

 

 

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