The young Stanislaus Kostka was most devout to our blessed Lady, so much so that from his infancy he had acquired the habit of reciting the Rosary every day in her honor. While still a youth, he loved to speak of Mary, and used to take as the subject of his exercises and scholastic essays, the virtues and prerogatives of this heavenly Queen.
But it was God’s will that Stanislaus should not remain long in the world. Having fallen seriously ill the Blessed Virgin appeared to him with the Child Jesus in her arms, and assured him that it was the will of God that he should join the Society of Jesus. As soon as the pious youth recovered, he hastened to carry out the design of Heaven, but was prevented there and then by the opposition of his parents.
At last, he found means to go to Rome on foot, and being received by the General of the Society was admitted into the novitiate. In this new state of life he was found to be adorned with every virtue and possessed of an extraordinary gift of prayer, from which he drew many graces and spiritual consolations. Above all, devotion to Our Lady grew in him more and more; so that he seemed to have no other thought but to please the Queen of Heaven and was ever meditating on her grandeur, lovingly conversing with her. In his speech he always liked to extol her great prerogatives, and used to confer with his companions as to how they might more fittingly honor her.
So great was his love for Mary, that as the Feast of the Assumption drew nigh, he conceived an earnest desire to die on this great solemnity. He knew by revelation that his petition had been heard, and implored the intercession of St. Lawrence, his protector for that month, that he might help him to die a saintly death.
On the feast of this Saint, Stanislaus suddenly became ill and, contrary to medical opinion, the malady was found to be of a serious nature. On the vigil of the Assumption he received the last sacraments, and rejoicing in his approaching death, he fervently prayed to Jesus and Mary. Our blessed Lady appeared to him in his last moments and lovingly consoled him, and she herself received that beautiful soul and took it up with her to heaven.
Illustration from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922). Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).