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Blessed Małgorzata Łucja Szewczyk (1828-1905)

She lived in difficult times. She did many things illegally, in secret. That which appeals to the romantic spirit of many Poles may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle for those, who in conspiracy and hiding, perform work meant to serve society and survive beyond the time of occupation. So how did this lonely woman who lived a real prospect of exile to Siberia and other repression achieve this? Where did she find the strength to trust in God and to believe that her work has meaning, despite the pessimistic reality in which she came to live?

She was born in Volyn. Suffering was inscribed in her life from the very beginning. As a child, she lost her parents and ended up in the care of her loving stepsister. She could not fulfill her biggest dream and become a nun because monasteries no longer existed in Volyn at that time, as they were eliminated by the Russians. Thus, Łucja became a Franciscan tertiary. She took care of the poor, prepared children for First Holy Communion, and tended to the sick.

As a mature woman, already in her forties, she went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She went all the way to Odessa on foot. There she boarded a ship that sailed to her dream destination. In Jerusalem, she worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital alongside French nuns. During her three-year stay in the land of Jesus, she surrendered her life to Our Lady of Sorrows.

She returned to Poland to serve the weakest. Her great desire did not have a concrete shape until she met Fr. Honorat Koźmiński, thanks to whom Łucja’s dream came true: she became a nun and founded a new congregation. She took care of poor people in a shelter in Warsaw and after some time, she bought a house in Zakroczym. According to her memoirs, she carried two elderly women that she later cared for up there on her own back. In this way, the Congregation of Our Lady of Sorrows came to be. Małgorzata did not stop there. More houses were built and the order grew despite police surveillance. For the congregation, the cancelled investigation was a sign of Providence, which watched over the early work and saved it, despite raging terror.

Other works of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sorrows also began to emerge in Galicia, where Małgorzata moved in order to establish, in calmer conditions, new homes: for the elderly, children, and orphans. Schools for poor girls from the neighborhood and tailoring workshops were established, and the sisters visited the sick and worked in hospitals. The Seraphic sisters (as the congregation is commonly called) offered all their concerns to Divine Providence, which never failed them.

After twenty-three years, mother Małgorzata passed her authority as superior onto her successor and returned to the lands under Russian occupation. She continued to serve the needy and, toward the end of her life, offered her suffering in their intentions. Crowds of people attended her funeral in 1905. The “mother of the poor and orphaned" was beatified on 9 June 2013 in Krakow, where the general house of the congregation she founded is currently located, at Łowiecka 3.

MD

The places associated with Blessed Małgorzata Łucja Szewczyk (1828-1905):

General House of the Seraphic Sisters Kraków
General House of the Seraphic Sisters, ul. Łowiecka 3, Krakow The General House of the congregation of Seraphic Sisters. The founder of this congregation was blessed Małgorzata Łucja Szewczyk. Her work has continued and developed thanks... (read more)
Prowincja Oświęcimska Sióstr Serafitek
Prowincja Oświęcimska Sióstr SerafitekKościół Matki Bożej Bolesnej w Oświęcimiu Oświęcim, plac Kościuszki 8 W Oświęcimiu powstał dom centralny zgromadzenia z nowicjatem i zarządem generalnym Zgromadzenia. Przy klasztorze, szcz... (read more)