Saint Andrew Bobola (Polish: Andrzej Bobola: 1591 – 16 May 1657) was a Polish Jesuit missionary and martyr, known as "an Apostle of Pinszczyzna" and the "hunter of souls".
He was born in 1591 into a noble family in Strachocina, Poland. In 1611 he entered the Jesuits in Vilnius, Lithuania. He subsequently took solemn vows in 1630 and then served for several years as an advisor, preacher, superior of a cloister, etc., in various places. From 1652 he also worked as a country "missionary", in among other places Polock, Lithuania, where he was probably stationed in 1655, and also in Pinsk, Lithuania (both now in Belarus). On 16 May 1657, during the Khmelnytsky Uprising, he was captured in the village of Peredil, Lithuania by the Cossacks of Chmielnicki and subjected to a variety of tortures and killed (in Janów Poleski).
One description of Bobola's death written in 1865 states:
In the same year, the Cossacks surprised a holy Polish Jesuit, in the town of Pinsk, and conferred on him the palm of martyrdom, on the 16th of May, 1657. Father Andrew Bobola, whose untiring zeal had rendered him obnoxious to the schismatics, had just offered up the holy sacrifice, when a horde of Cossacks attacked the town. On beholding the barbarians, Father Bobola fell upon his knees, raised his eyes and his hands toward heaven, and, having a presentiment that his hour had arrived, exclaimed, "Lord, thy will be done!" At that moment, the Cossacks rushed upon him, stripped him of his holy habit, tied him to a tree, placed a crown upon his head, as did the Jews upon the head of our adorable Saviour, after which they scourged him, tore out one of his eyes, burned his body with torches, and one of the ruffians traced, with his poignard, the form of a tonsure on the head of the venerable Father, and on his back the figure of a chasuble! To do this, the executioner had to strip off the skin of the holy martyr! But this was not yet all. The fingers of the apostle had received the priestly unction. The executioner tore from them the skin, and forced needles under his nails! And during this indescribable torture, the hero prayed for his tormentors; he preached, both by word and example, until the schismatics tore out his tongue and crushed his head! Father Andrew Bobola, whom the Church declared Blessed, the 30th of October, 1853, was sixty-five years of age.
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