Woman of faith. Polish nurse. Nursing pioneer. In Blessed Hanna Chrzanowska, RN: A Nurse of Mercy
, discover the inspiring story of the first lay registered nurse to be beatified.
Before a nursing school existed in her native Poland, Hanna Chrzanowska (1902-1973) chose to become a professional nurse. After she helped tend to war refugees during World War II, her pioneering career shaped Polish nursing, serving to form countless students as she helped innumerable patients. Above all, Hanna was a committed Christian who followed the Gospel call to love and serve one's neighbor, even when the Communist government of Poland made that difficult. With the help of hundreds of student volunteers, professional nurses, and committed lay and consecrated people of the Krakow Archdiocese, she established parish nursing in late 1950s Krakow and introduced homebound and disabled patients to retreats, home Masses, and re-integration into parish life. Blessed Hanna worked closely with Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. It was largely under her influence that, years later, as Pope St. John Paul II, he designated the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes as the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. Her canonization cause was opened at the request of her nursing colleagues, who knew she was a saint. It is the first time in the history of canonizations that a professional group, the Polish Catholic Association of Nurses and Midwives, approached their local bishop Cardinal Franciszek Macharski to open Hanna's canonization cause of one of its own members.