[Motherhouse] “If you put God into everything you do, you will find God in everything,” writes Mgr Ghika in his book “Pensées pour la suite des jours” (1923, 1961 Edition Beauchesne). This sentence is reflected in his life: son in a royal Romanian family, educated in Romania and France, converted from the Orthodox faith to Catholicism in order “to be a better Orthodox,” as he explained. As a lay missionary in Thessaloniki, Greece, he met Sister Pucci, an Italian Daughter of Charity from the Florentine region. She was director of a hospital filled with the sick and dying. It was she who opened his eyes and heart to the presence of Christ in those who are poor. With her help he founded St. Vincent Hospital and introduced the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul to Bucharest, capital of Romania. Having been ordained a priest in Paris (ordination in the Chapel of St. Vincent and first Mass in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal) he worked with the very poor people of Villejuif. At the same time he was a member of the planning commission for International Eucharistic Congresses, worked for ecumenism and for peace and became an excellent spiritual director.
His writings betray a profound spiritual life. He developed the “theology of need” and the “liturgy of the neighbor.”
In 1939, despite the arrival of the Communists to power, he obtained permission to stay in Romania, to help the victims of epidemics and war. More and more hostile surveillance didn’t stop this priest, full of kindness and availability, from guiding groups of young Catholics (Latins and Greeks) in the Faith, from visiting the poor, especially those who were sick and from being a sought after confessor.
Arrested in 1952, judged and put into prison at Jilava (near Bucharest) because of his Faith, he died, emaciated, in May of 1954.
In March 2013, Pope Francis recognized Msgr Vladimir Ghika as a martyr for the Faith in the Catholic Church. He was beatified on August 31, 2013 in Bucharest. More than 8,000 attended the Mass, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in the presence of Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris, Archbishop Ioan Robu de Bucarest, and about 30 Bishops from Central and Eastern Europe. A large group of the Blessed’s family with his grandnephew participated joyfully and with emotion.
And we were 7 Daughters of Charity, invited by the Archbishop, who had the opportunity to live this special moment, a moment of unity and prayer (the Provinces of Graz-Central Europe, of St Louise U.S.A. and the General Council).
In closing, another quote: “Be happy with one another… one who gives oneself for another will put on Christ. …If your brother treats you unjustly, you must suffer more for him than for yourself.” (ibid.)
General Council, Motherhouse