Birth. January 13, 1874, Vorselaar, Belgium. He was the first of the five children of Stanislas and Anna-Maria Bartholomeus. His siblings were Bernadette, Louis, Véronique, and Stephanie (who became a nun). He was baptized the same day of his birth in the parish church of Vorselaar. His last name is also listed as Van Roey.
Education. He studied in the Jesuit school in Vorselaar before entering Saint-Joseph School in Herentals in 1885, where he graduated in 1892; then, he entered the Minor Seminary of Mechelen; from 1894 to 1897, he studied theology at the Major Seminary of Mechelen. Further studies at the University of Louvain, from where he obtained a doctorate in theology and the habilitation in 1903.
Priesthood. Ordained, September 18, 1897, by Cardinal Pierre-Lambert Goossens, archbishop of Mechelen. He taught at the Collège Americaine from 1901 to 1905, and at the University of Louvain from 1905 to 1907. During this time, he became a friend of Columba Marmion, O.S.B., who was beatified in 2000. On May 19, 1907, he was made an honorary canon of the metropolitan chapter of Mechelen. He served as vicar general of Mechelen from September 30, 1907 to 1925. He was named Domestic Prelate of His Holiness on April 2, 1909. He participated in the Conversations of Mechelen, a series of ecumenical dialogues between clergymen from the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches hosted by Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier, from 1921 to 1926. He became secretary of the diocesan synod in 1924. He was named protonotary apostolic on February 11, 1925.
Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Mechelen, April 25, 1926. Consecrated, metropolitan cathedral of Mechelen, by Clemente Micara, titular archbishop of Apamea di Siria, nuncio to Belgium, assisted by Gustave-Joseph Waffelaert, bishop of Bruges, and by Gastone Antonio Rasneur, bishop of Tournai. His episcopal motto was In Nomine Domini. As archbishop of Mechelen he was primate of Belgium.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of June 20, 1927; received the red hat and the title of S. Maria in Araceli. Papal legate to the Centennial Celebration of the University of Louvain, on June 24, 1927. He was strongly opposed to Nazi Germany. In 1937, he condemned Rexism as a danger to the country and the Church and issued a precautionary condemnation of anyone who cast a blank ballot, much to the anger of Adolf Hitler. Participated in the conclave of 1939, which elected Pope Pius XII. He intervened with the authorities to rescue Jews from the Nazis, and encouraged various institutions to aid Jewish children. On September 24, 1942, he and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium intervened with the German authorities in Brussels after the arrest of six leading members of the Jewish community; as a result, five were released; the sixth, Edward Rotbel, secretary of the Belgian Jewish Community, was a Hungarian citizen, and could not be saved from deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Known as the "Iron Bishop", he excommunicated members of the Flemish National Union following the Second World War. Participated in the conclave of 1958, which elected Pope John XXIII. Presided over the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Paola Margherita Consiglia Ruffo di Calabria on July 2, 1959; and of King Baudouin I and Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón on December 15, 1960. He protested against the abdication of King Leopold III in favor of his son, Baudouin. He had long suffered from a circulatory illness and was administered the last rites and Communion by Leo-Jozef Suenens, titular bishop of Isinda, auxiliary of Mechelen, and vicar general on August 5, 1961.
Death. August 6, 1961, at 6:05 a.m., in Mechelen. After lying in state for three days in the archiepiscopal palace of Mechelen, his funeral Mass was held on August 10, and was attended by King Leopold and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, Prime Minister Théo Lefèvre, the ministers of state, the entire Belgian episcopate, and Cardinals Francis Spellman, archbishop of New York, and Bernardus Johannes Alfrink, archbishop of Utrecht. He was buried in the crypt of the Cathedral of Sint-Rombouts of Mechelen, next to the vault of Cardinal Engelbert Sterckx, in accordance to his explicit requests.
Bibliography. "Cardinali defunti." Annuario pontificio per l'anno 1962. Città del Vaticano : Tipografia poliglotta vaticana, 1962, p. 84, #13; LeBlanc, Jean. D'Agagianian a Wyszynski. Dictionnaire biographique des cardinaux de la première moitié du XXe siècle (1903-1958). Montréal : Wilson & Lafleur, 2017, pp. 787-792; "Liste des cardinaux par order alphabétique." Annuaire Pontifical Catholique de 1937-1938-1939. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1931, p. 71-72; "Necrologie." Annuaire Pontifical Catholique de 1932. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1932, pp. 917-918.
Webgraphy. Photograph and biography, in English, Wikipedia; his arms, photographs and portrait, Araldica Vaticana.
Birth. July 5, 1881, Brzęczkowice (then German Empire, now Mysłowice, Poland). Son of Jan Hlond and Maria Imilów. He had five brothers and six sisters: Ignacy (who became a missionary in Argentina), Antoni Wiktor (who became a Salesian priest and musician), Jan Paweł, Stanisław and Klemens; Anna, Paulina, Maria, Marta, and two sisters who died shortly after birth. He was baptized five days after his birth, on July 10, in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Mysłowice, with the name of August Józef.
Education. Completed his primary studies and in 1893, attracted by the fame of Don John Bosco, he followed his older brother to Italy to join the Salesian congregation. Two other brothers also entered the congregation. In 1896, he joined the Congregation of St. Francis of Sales of St. John Bosco (Salesians), in Foglizzo, where he met Michele Rua, a future blessed. After studying in the Salesian houses of Lombriasco, Turin, Kraków, Lviv, and Rome, he received a doctorate in philosophy on July 10, 1900 from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He returned to Poland to complete his training at Oświęcim. He received the subdiaconate on March 18, 1905; and the diaconate on the following July 9.
Priesthood. Ordained, September 23, 1905, Kraków, by Anatol Wincenty Nowak, titular bishop of Irenopoli di Cilicia, auxiliary of Kraków. After further studies between 1905 and 1907, he became rector of the new Salesian house in Pizemyśl from 1907 to 1909; and later, of that of Vienna from 1909 to 1919. In 1919 when Austria and Hungary divided, he founded, until 1922, new Salesian houses. He was appointed apostolic administrator of Polish Upper Silesia on November 7, 1922. Named apostolic protonotary on November 15, 1922.
Episcopate. Elected bishop of Katowice, December 14, 1925. Consecrated by Cardinal Aleksander Kakowski, archbishop of Warsaw, assisted by Anatol Wincenty Nowak, bishop of Przemyśl, and by Stanisław Kostka Łukomski, titular bishop of Sicca Veneria, auxiliary of Gniezno e Poznań. His episcopal motto was Da Mihi Animas Caetera Tolle. Promoted to the metropolitan see of Gniezno and Poznań, and consequently became primate of Poland, June 24, 1926.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of June 20, 1927; received the red hat and the title of S. Maria della Pace on December 22, 1927. On March 4, 1946, named archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw. Decorated with the grand cross of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, February 11, 1929. Honorary member of the Permanent Committee of the International Eucharistic Congresses, November 18, 1930. He was dangerously bruised and cut when a blowout crashed his automobile into a ditch near Levis in 1930; he received last rites but later convalesced. On August 22, 1932, he founded the Society of Christ for the emigrants of Poland. He was appointed papal legate to the National Eucharistic Congress in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, celebrated on June 9, 1935; and to the First National Congress of Christ the King, in Poznań, celebrated on May 16, 1937. Participated in the conclave of 1939, which elected Pope Pius XII. Named papal legate to the Sixth National Congress of Christ the King celebrated in Ljubljana, July 8, 1939. During the Second World War, he was forced into exile until the end of the war, when at first he went to Rome and led a strong defense of the homeland, before going to Lourdes. The Nazi police deported him to Paris and tried to convince him to organize a Polish government in favor of Nazism, but he refused, and for this he was arrested by the Gestapo on February 3, 1944, being imprisoned first in Lorraine and then in Westphalia. The Allied forces released him on April 1, 1945, and subsequently returned to Poznań on July 20, 1945. On June 13, 1946 he was transferred to the metropolitan see in Warsaw, maintaining the archdiocese of Gniezno ad personam.
Death. October 22, 1948, of pneumonia, Warsaw. Exposed and buried in the metropolitan cathedral of Warsaw.
Beatification. On January 9, 1992, the process for his beatification was started, receiving the title of Servant of God on October 21, 1996.
Bibliography. "Cardinali defunti." Annuario pontificio per l'anno 1950. Città del Vaticano : Tipografia poliglotta vaticana, 1950, p. 77; LeBlanc, Jean. D'Agagianian a Wyszynski. Dictionnaire biographique des cardinaux de la première moitié du XXe siècle (1903-1958). Montréal : Wilson & Lafleur, 2017, pp. 336-341; "Liste des cardinaux par order alphabétique." Annuaire Pontifical Catholique de 1937-1938-1939. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1931, p. 62; "Necrologie." Annuaire Pontifical Catholique de 1932. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1932, pp. 917-918.
Webgraphy. His portrait, arms, photograph and biography, in Italian, Wikipedia; his arms, photographs and portraits, Araldica Vaticana.
©1998-2020 Salvador Miranda.