Servant of God Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ (1904-1984) was an American Jesuit from Shenandoah, Pennsylvania who served as a missionary in Russia for twenty-three years. Nearly fifteen of those years were spent as a prisoner of the Soviets, first in solitary confinement in Moscow’s Lubyanka Prison for five years and then in Siberian forced labor camps.
Following his release from prison, Fr. Ciszek worked as a mechanic in small villages while also serving as a priest. The KGB routinely ordered him to leave one village and move elsewhere when his apostolic activities became too fruitful. In 1963 he and another American citizen were traded by the Soviet Union in exchange for the return of two Soviet spies held by the United States.
Catholics across America were deeply moved by the story of Fr. Ciszek, and he was asked to write about his experiences. With God in Russia (1964), the detailed chronicle of the events, came first, followed later by He Leadeth Me (1973), the more reflective account of the lessons learned told against the backdrop of the events. His message of abandonment to God’s will, authentic freedom and joy, and love for God in the midst of adversities made him a sought after confessor, spiritual director and retreat director. Though physically worn out by his experiences of prison and forced labor, Fr. Ciszek continued to receive those who came to him until the end of his life at Fordham’s John XXIII Center in New York.
Many people today continue to find a friend and spiritual guide in Fr. Ciszek through his writings and intercession. His cause has been introduced, and he is presently a Servant of God. The Fr. Walter Ciszek Prayer League based in Shenendoah, Pennsylvania in the Diocese of Allentown offers updated information, photos, testimonials, etc. concerning the cause of Fr. Ciszek. To share any favors received through the intercession of Fr. Ciszek, contact:
Rev. Msgr. Anthony D. Muntone, Co-Postulator of the Cause for Canonization
St. Elizabeth Rectory
618 Fullerton Ave.
Whitehall, PA 18052
Prayer for the Canonization of Fr. Walter Ciszek
We adore You, Most Holy Trinity, and we thank You
for the exemplary life of Your Servant, Father Walter Ciszek.
We pray that his strong faith in Your loving providence,
his great love for You, and his kindness to all people be recognized by the Church.
If it be Your Will, may he be given to us as a saintly model of these virtues
so that we too may be better motivated to dedicate our lives to Your greater honor and glory.
We commend our petition through the prayers of the Holy Mother of God.
For to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is due all glory, honor and worship, now and forever. Amen.
Walter Ciszek, SJ: A Jesuit on the Frontier (8:01), from IN Network (Ignatian News Network)
A Grave in Perm: The Fr. Walter Ciszek Story (29:01), Ignatius Press