|Born||13 May 1920|
Čabrunići, Svetvinčenat, Istarska, Kingdom of Italy (now modern Croatia)
|Died||24 August 1947 (aged 27)|
Lanišće, Istarska, Yugoslavia (now Croatia)
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||28 September 2013, Arena of Pula, Istarska, Croatia by Cardinal Angelo Amato|
|Major shrine||Svetvinčenat, Istra, Croatia|
Blessed[Note 1] Miroslav Bulešić (13 May 1920 – 24 August 1947) was a Roman Catholic Croatian priest. He studied in Rome before being recalled to his native Croatia where he was ordained in 1943 during World War II prior to two parish postings where he became a vocal critic of Communism. He renewed his parishes through well-organized pastoral activities and was a promoter of frequent sacramental reception. But his criticism of Communism saw him make enemies who soon set upon and succeeded in killing him.
He was beatified in Croatia on 28 September 2013 on the recognition of the fact that he was killed "in odium fidei" ("in hatred of the faith"); Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over the beatification on the behalf of Pope Francis.
Miroslav Bulešić was born on 13 May 1920 in Čabrunići - a village in Istria at the time in the Italian kingdom. He was born to Miha Bulešić and Lucija Butković. His siblings were Maria, Lucija, Zora and Beppo. He received his baptism on 23 May 1920 in the parish church at Juršići. In his childhood he first learned the truths of the faith from a small book that Bishop Juraj Dobrila had written and the book focused on the spiritual needs of the Croatian faithful.
His initial education was spent in Juršići where his religious education teacher was the priest Ivan Pavić. In 1930 he decided to commence his studies for the priesthood and after a brief stint in Alojzjevišče in Gorica commenced his ecclesial studies at Koper in 1931. He was there until 1939 after he did grammar school from 1931 to 1936 and then his lyceum until 1939 when he passed his final examinations. Father Pavić sent him a letter of recommendation and said that he was a "wise, frank, pious and good" seminarian. In the fall of 1939 the Bishop of Poreč-Pula Trifone Pederzolli sent him to Rome for further studies.
He studied there in Rome at the Gregoriana for his philosophical and theological studies from the fall of 1939 until the summer of 1943 during World War II; the Archbishop of Zagreb Alojzje Viktor Stepinac provided him financial support for his studies at the Gregoriana. From 1939 to 1940 he lived at the French Academy but spent the remainder of that time residing in the Lombard Seminary. On 31 October 1942 he was present in Saint Peter's Basilica when Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God.
His bishop recalled him later to Croatia at the beginning of spring in 1943 for ordination and he received his ordaination in Istria to the priesthood on 11 April 1943 from his bishop Raffaele Mario Radossi in the parish of Svetvinčenat; his parents and siblings were present and wept in happiness. Bulešić celebrated his first Mass two weeks later on 26 April in his old parish. He was assigned to the Baderna parish in the fall of 1943 where the Communist and Fascist forces fought with each other but was later transferred to the parish of Kanfanar in the autumn of 1945. He was considered to be bold and fearless but was perceived as a great threat and he alluded to this in 1944 in his journal. Bulešić's interventions in parish life made church events more attractive to people and he introduced adorations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His mother in the parish; he encouraged parishioners to recite rosaries together and to receive the sacraments on a frequent basis more so for the children. But the Communists wanted to prevent the faithful from attending Masses and so introduced civil weddings and funerals but people still continued to attend the Masses and listen to their popular priest's homilies. In 1946 some Communists were watching people file into the parish and realized that the priest had to be killed for them to exert control over the people.
The regime even approached his relations to have them convince him to return to the Italian nation but he refused and said to them: "There is a bigger need for priests right here". His relatives also advised him to be careful lest he be killed but he refused to do this. In 1946 he was made the vice-principal and a teacher of seminarians at Pazin and at the start of March 1947 returned a large cross to its original place in the atrium after unknown hooligans removed it. As the weeks went on it became clear to him that he might be targeted and killed and told his seminarians that to be a priest meant that the shedding of their blood for the faith was an attribute a priest needed to possess. In late June 1947 he wrote in his journal directed to God: "If it is Your will, I wish to come to You as soon as possible".
From 19 August 1947 he accompanied the ecclesial delegate Monsignor Jakob Ukmar (1878-1971) to several parishes such as Buzet for Confirmation celebrations and on 23 August celebrated one such Mass. But it was interrupted when Communists burst in and attempted to stop the Mass but he rushed to the tabernacle and defended it. He was pale but calm and said: "You can pass through here only over my dead body" to which the vandals asked whether he was afraid to go to Lanišće to which he said: "You can die only once".
He went to Lanišće on 24 August 1947 for a Confirmation service and after Mass he and Ukmar went to the parish house where fifteen minutes later others who were late for the Mass were confirmed. But at around 11:00am several Communist supporters burst into the house and stabbed him to death multiple times in the neck after having been pinned to the ground. He had been close to the door when the attack happened while Ukmar fled to the bedroom but was beaten a minute later and left in a pool of blood on the poor though the attackers believed that he was dead. Blood was all over the walls in the aftermath of the attack and Bulešić twice cried out: "Jesus, take my soul!" The regime did not allow for his remains to be buried in Svetvinčenant but to Lanišće instead though his remains were later relocated in 1958 to the former. His remains were reinterred later on in 2003.
The process of beatification commenced under Pope John Paul II on 10 August 1992 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the "nihil obstat" ("nothing against" the cause) and titled him as a Servant of God - it was the first official stage in the process. There was an effort to commence the cause in 1956 but the Communists banned this and so an informative process had opened in Rome in 1957 before the cause was transferred to the forum of Poreč-Pula on 28 March 2000 while the diocesan investigation took place. The diocesan process lasted from 24 August 1997 until 11 September 2004 and later received C.C.S. validated in Rome. The Positio was submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 2010 and the theologians approved the cause on 30 March 2012. The C.C.S. approved it also on 20 November 2012 while Pope Benedict XVI approved his beatification on 20 December 2012 after confirming that the late priest died "in odium fidei" ("in hatred of the faith"). The date for the beatification celebration was announced on 12 February 2013.
He was beatified on 28 September 2013 in Istria; Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over the celebration on the behalf of Pope Francis who referred to the beatification on 29 September in his Angelus address. There were about 670 priests and 17 000 pilgrims in attendance as was the Belgrade archbishop Stanislav Hočevar.
The current postulator assigned to the cause is Monisgnor Jure Bogdan.
- Blessed means here beatified which is a title that the Roman Catholic Church assigns.
- "Blessed Miroslav Bulešić". Saints SQPN. 18 June 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
- "Croatian priest killed during 1947 anti-Church violence beatified". Catholic Herald. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- "Blessed Miroslav Bulešić". Archdiocese of Zagreb. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- "Blessed Miroslav Bulešić". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 29 January 2017.