St. Stanislaus Kostka
Spring Hill College, 1830
Saint Stanislaus Kostka (1550-1568) came from a noble Polish family who practiced simple living rather than displaying their power or wealth. Stanislaus was ridiculed by his older brother because he was inclined to prayer and a quiet manner of life. When he was 14, Stanislaus and his brother were sent to the Jesuit school in Vienna. At the completion of his studies, Stanislaus asked to join the Jesuits; his father, a senator, forbade him to do so. On his own, Stanislaus walked to a Jesuit house in Germany to seek entrance there. But even that effort did not seem to provide enough of a distance from his powerful family, so he then walked all the way to Rome where he was finally admitted to the Society of Jesus. After less than a full year in the Novitiate, Stanislaus contracted a terminal disease and died. His courageous spirituality and extraordinary love of God were evident to all who came to know him in the short span of his life.
Stanislaus is depicted wearing a cassock over which is a surplice which indicates his role as an acolyte, not yet a priest. In the crook of his left arm he holds a sky-blue shield upon which is a winged ciborium, symbol of the miraculous reception of Holy Communion reportedly given to him by two angels before his death. Above the right shoulder of the saint is a silver fleur-de-lis, symbolic of his life-long devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the base of the panel is the ancestral coat of arms of the Kostka family: a gold shield with a large black omega and three small crosses.
The top portion of the Spring Hill College shield contains the insignia of the Society of Jesus: IHS surrounded by rays. The inscription reads: Spring Hill College, Mobile; the date of the foundation is 1830. The school colors are purple and white.