On December 21, 2018, the Holy Father Pope Francis, having consulted with His Eminence Giovanni Angelo Cardinal BECCIU, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, recognized the heroic virtue of the Servant of God Melchior FORDON.
The Venerable Melchior FORDON was born into a noble Polish Catholic family in Grodno (now the Republic of Belarus) on August 5, 1862. His parents were Jakub FORDON, an architect, and Felicja LUKOWICZ. Melchior was baptized August 26, 1862, at the local Roman Catholic parish church. To avoid Russian schooling, little Melchior received his elementary education at home, but later attended a Russian junior high school.
At the age of twenty-one, he entered the diocesan seminary in Vilnius, Lithuania. He was ordained a priest on August 2, 1887, in Kaunas, Lithuania.
After a few months, the Servant of God was made a pastor in Strubnica (Belarus) and later, Dąbrowa Grodzieńska (Poland). In early 1903, he was transferred to Grodno where he served as the pastor of St. Mary of the Angels and the guardian of a former Franciscan friary, transformed into a kind of reformatory house for priests that the Russian authorities deemed as dangerous to the state.
After twenty three years of priesthood, having obtained permission from the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Vilnius, the Servant of God entered the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (Province of Warsaw). During World War I, he served as the assistant pastor of the church of St. Mary of the Angels in Grodno.
His unshakable faith in God, in his Son Jesus Christ and in the Blessed Virgin Mary and his imitation of St. Francis of Assisi, gave the Servant of God the strength he needed to carry out his pastoral ministry among those who needed spiritual, moral and material assistance. He taught and attracted people not only by proclaiming the truths of the faith, but above all by his example of a humble, sober life, full of renunciation and mortification. He was willing to sacrifice himself to save or defend his neighbor’s life. The priests, friars, religious and many faithful who had known him considered him a living saint.
From the way he lived his life, one gets the sense that he chose the priestly state, and then the religious one, in order to get closer to God and to bring his fellow countrymen closer to the Lord, especially those who were disadvantaged or abandoned, that is, the people who lived in the villages.
The Servant of God began his pastoral service in the simplest way, through religious education. In this way, he intended to gradually raise the moral sense of the inhabitants of the villages and the urban districts entrusted to him. He fought against alcoholism and immorality. He understood how hard living conditions were for the peasants and the inhabitants of the poor neighborhoods. He always wanted to be close to his parishioners to learn more about their problems and find solutions to their difficulties.
On October 20, 1922, Friar Maximilian Kolbe came to Grodno to promote the Militia of the Immaculate. Friar Melchior FORDON was guiding young candidates who came to Grodno, helping them on their vocational journey through spiritual conversations and hearing their confessions. He even served as a spiritual director and confessor for Friar Maximilian Kolbe himself.
Friar Melchior FORDON piously surrendered his holy and meritorious life to God on February 27, 1927.
Friar Damian-Gheorghe PĂTRAŞCU, Postulator General