About Ciszek Hall
About Our Location
Ciszek Hall is located in the Belmont section of the
Bronx. Though the neighborhood is advertised as Little Italy
North (the bocci
crowd regularly commandeers part of the
small neighborhood park), there are more than many Albanians, Hispanics
and African-Americans as well, with
the occasional housing complex for Fordham
undergrads who prefer an off-campus alternative.
Right down the street from Ciszek is a mosque;
a little farther on is beautiful
Carmel Church, anchor of many neighborhood activities, especially
the San Gennaro and St. Anthony festivals.
How to Contact Us
2502 Belmont Avenue, Bronx, NY 10458
Phone: (718) 817-8752
Fax: (718) 365-3166
Webmaster: Matt Malone, S.J. (email@example.com)
About Walter J. Ciszek, S.J.
Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. was born on November 4, 1904 in
Shenandoah, PA, where he spent his youth and attended
parochial schools. In 1928 he
the Society of Jesus. Experiencing
what he has described as "almost a direct
call from God," he volunteered for the Russian mission in response
appeal made by Pope Pius XII to the Society
of Jesus. In June 1937, Fr. Ciszek
the first American ordained in the Russian Byzantine Rite.
'With God in Russia'
On March 19, 1940, Fr. Ciszek entered
Russia, but was arrested
a year later and sentenced to fifteen years of
labor. After five years in solitary confinement in Lubianka
in Moscow, he was sent
to the Siberian slave labor
camps above the Artic circle. In 1955,
upon his release from the prison camps, he was given restricted freedom
in the Soviet Union and functioned as a priest while working in
factories and as an auto mechanic. During all these years,
Fr. Ciszek had no contact at all with the United States where, in 1947,
he had been declared "legally dead."
Return to America
Fr. Ciszek resurfaced in 1963 when, along
with another American, he was exchanged for a Russian couple being held
for espionage in the United States. After returning home, Fr. Ciszek
became a member of the John XXIII Center for eastern Studies at Fordham
University and worked in the building which now houses Ciszek Hall. Fr.
Ciszek wrote two books describing his experiences in Russia:
With God in Russia, "the book they wanted me to write,"
narrating his experiences in the Soviet Union, and
He Leadeth Me, "the book I wanted to write," about the spiritual
significance of those experiences.
During the last twenty-one years of his
life, Fr. Ciszek became an internationally known director of the
Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. The counseling and retreat work that
became his full-time occupation were marked by a simplicity in method
and humility of heart that attracted all sorts of people to him for
advice and spiritual direction. Fr. Ciszek died at John XXIII Center on
December 8, 1984. He is buried at the Jesuit Center,
formerly the Jesuit novitiate in Wernersville, PA.
The official process of investigation into the life, holiness, and
virtues of the Servant of God, Walter Ciszek, S.J., is being undertaken
by a tribunal of the Byzantine Catholic Diocese of Passaic, NJ. The
cause for his canonization is being promoted by the
Fr. Walter Ciszek
Prayer League which was established and approved by the Most
Reverend Michael Dudick, D.D. in 1985.