Members of the Ulma family at their home and farm. On March 24, 1944, all nine members of the Ulma family were killed by the Nazis for hiding a Jewish family in their home in Poland, including a child still in the womb. / Credit: Father Witold Burda, postulator for the Ulma family

Rome Newsroom, Aug 31, 2023 / 12:30 pm (CNA).

An archdiocese in Poland is encouraging Catholics to join them in nine days of prayer leading up to the beatification of a family martyred by the Nazis in 1944.

Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children were executed by the Nazis for hiding eight Jews, including a 3-year-old girl, in their home outside the village of Markowa in southeast Poland.

The Ulma family — including one unborn child — will be beatified at a Mass in Markowa on Sept. 10.

It is believed to be the first time the Catholic Church will beatify an unborn child and an entire family together.

The Archdiocese of Przemyśl has published a novena — nine consecutive days of prayer — beginning Sept. 1 and concluding on the vigil of the beatification Sept. 10.

A PDF with an English translation of the Polish novena reflections can be found below.

The archdiocese has encouraged those participating in the novena to accompany the prayer with daily Mass and adoration.

The novena offers brief reflections on the Eight Beatitudes and how the Ulma family exemplified them.

Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of the Ulma family, paving the way for their beatification, in a decree signed in December 2022. The World Holocaust Remembrance Center has honored the Ulmas as Righteous Among the Nations for the sacrifice of their lives.

Józef Ulma was a farmer by trade. He had a passion for reading and photography and was involved as a young man in the Catholic Men’s Youth Association. 

Wiktoria Ulma, who lost her mother at the age of 6 and her father shortly before she married Józef at age 22, was involved in village theater productions before her marriage. 

The couple was friends with their Jewish neighbors, including those they later helped hide during World War II.

Operation “Reinhardt,” a program aimed at murdering all of the Jews in Germany-occupied Poland, began to be implemented in the Ulma family’s area of Poland in late July and early August 1942.

The Nazis began to deport the roughly 120 Jews in the Markowa area to a labor camp and extermination camp. Approximately 54 Jews in hiding were found and shot on Dec. 14, 1942. An additional 29 Jews continued to hide in Markowa, including the eight who found refuge with the Ulma family, likely beginning around December 1942.

Early on March 24, 1944, a Nazi patrol surrounded the home of Józef and Wiktoria Ulma on the outskirts of Markowa. They discovered the eight Jewish people hiding on the Ulma farm and executed them.

The Nazi police then killed 31-year-old Wiktoria, who was pregnant and in premature labor, and 44-year-old Józef outside their home. The Nazis then shot and killed Stanisława, 7; Barbara, 6; Władysław, 5; Franciszek, almost 4; Antoni, 2; and Maria, 1.

A new book, “Martyred and Blessed Together: The Extraordinary Story of the Ulma Family,” will be published Sept. 5.

You can find Day One of the “Novena to the Ulma Family” below:

Friday, 21st Week in Ordinary Time, Sept. 1, 2023


“When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them” (Mt 5:1-2).


In preparation for the fruitful experience of the beatification of the Ulma family on Sept. 10, for the nine consecutive days of the novena we will reflect on their path to the glory of heaven. For all Christians, this is the path of the Eight Beatitudes delivered by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:3-12). However, the martyrs of Markowa walked it to a heroic degree, which will be acknowledged by their solemn beatification. Thus, they will become genuine and living role models in the Church. During the novena, we will get to know this model and pray for the graces we need, so that we, too, following in the footsteps of the Ulma family, may persevere on our way to holiness.

We begin this novena on the first Friday of the month, gathering at the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to renew and strengthen our relationship with our only Teacher and Lord through First Friday confession and holy Communion. This is because on our own, we are unable to advance on the path to holiness and toward full happiness in the glory of heaven. It is only in Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, that we are granted access to the fullness of all God’s blessing. In him, as St. Paul indicates, “we do not lack any gift of grace” (1 Cor 1:7).

On the first day of the novena, let us desire especially the gift of God’s life and holiness. Let us open our minds and hearts to it, humbly acknowledging our weaknesses, sins, and negligence at the beginning of Holy Mass, so that we may obtain the salvation and sanctification we need from Jesus’ sacrifice.


Personal prayer of holy Mass participants before the Blessed Sacrament guided by cues from the celebrant:

• Acknowledging in faith the presence of Jesus among us in the Blessed Sacrament, let us bless him and give thanks that in him and through him, like the Ulmas, we can experience God’s blessing, and that by the power of his Spirit we can grow in holiness and Christian perfection, overcoming the evil and sin that threaten us.

• As we pay homage to the heart of Jesus, let us apologize to him for any coldness toward him, for our ingratitude and forgetfulness. Let us thank him for all who worship the heart of Jesus, especially the martyrs from Markowa, whom the Church offers us as models to follow.

• As a sign of reparation for our transgressions, and at the same time of gratitude for the graces received, let us pledge to belong entirely to Christ and to do everything out of love for him, renouncing everything that is particularly offensive to his Sacred Heart.