Catherine Szymon called by
many people ”Katarzynka”, was born on October 21, 1907 in Studzienice near Pszczyna.
When she was less than two years of age her
mother died having left six orphaned children
Her father, a forest employee,
soon remarried. Katarzynka’s stepmother was nothing but unkind towards her, taking
no heed of Catherine’s young age, her stepmother exploited her to do all the
housework in the home. Despite her difficult childhood, Catherine learned to
pray and since then she would spend her every spare moment praying
particularly, for the reformation of her father, who frequently came home drunk
and beat his children. Her prayers were heard – her father mended his ways and
prior to his death he even joined the Third Order of Saint Francis
Catherine Szymon lived all her life in the neighbourhood
of Katowice, the mining region where by hard work where they had been
extracting coal for many years.
The inhabitans of this region are known for their
piety and religiousness, which is based on an old Polish saying: "Do not
leave your home without God”
Many of the Katowice residents
heard of Catherine – only a few knew her personally
Catherine Szymon did not have
a home of her own. She would find modest accommodation offered by friendly and
kind-hearted people. From 1946 and for most of her life she lived in Pszczyna. However,
she spent her last years at the house ofMarta Godziek in Katowice – Kostuchna,
From 1981 Catherine lived
there permanently. Many people used to pay her a visit :
doctors, priests, teachers,
seminarists and nuns. She would provide them with any help and advice on how to
live and how to suffer
Turza – a town not far from Katowice – is a
place of the famous Mary’s sanctuary under the invocation of Our Lady of Fatima.
Catherine and her chauffeur
would arrive at this place on 13th and 29th day of each month, to participate together with
other pilgrims in night pray-watches.
During such expiation nights
Our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is carried in a solemn procession.
Pilgrims with candles in their
hands follow Him, who for his love of man, became nourishment for eternal life.