Novena – 8th week
Praise the Supreme Lord forever.
This refrain of today’s responsorial psalm could be sung by the Servant of God, Father John Schneider, looking at how the work he started was developing.
After the appeal was printed in the Catholic press, Wołanie for help, several dozen families, who financially support the activities of the Association to help serving girls, applied to the foundation. The sale of shares issued by the Marian Foundation was also effective. This made it possible to rent more rooms in the tenement house belonging to the parish of Our Lady on the Sand, which was located at today’s Jumping Star Square. The desire of those involved in the work was to buy a house in Ostrów Tumski at the then Krupniczy Zaułek at number 10 (Gräupnergasse 10). At the request of the Elizabethan Sisters, at the beginning of the 20th century, Zaułek Krupniczy changed its name to ul. St. Joseph.
This desire became a reality in late 1858. On December 9, a shelter for girls was consecrated. Successively, the Foundation bought neighboring plots of land, and as a result, a support center for girls and women in difficult life situations was established in one place. During the life of the Servant of God, over 60,000 girls found support here for a good start in adult life. The Marian Foundation created a household school with a boarding school for them, the foundation’s employees were looking for jobs for graduates of the school, temporarily unemployed girls and women could live in the shelter, the sick could stay for treatment and convalescence, and elderly women found a seniors’ house where they stayed until death.
Father John Schneider and the members of the Board employed teachers, tutors and nurses. The female employees performed their duties very well, but returned to their families after working hours. Teenage girls who left their family homes due to poverty still needed the warmth of a home. According to our Founder, such a family atmosphere could be created by nuns as spiritual mothers for the girls under their care. He was looking for a religious congregation in Wrocław that would undertake such a service. Unfortunately, each had its own creations.
It was then that he drew attention to the teachers employed by the Marian Foundation who had not yet started their own families. Four of them offered to devote themselves to poor girls standing on the chasm of moral evil. Father John Schneider explained to them the meaning of a life devoted to God and people through weekly spiritual conferences. After such a three-year formation, the Sisters Agnes, Matilda, Jadwiga and Rosina, on May 26, 1863, at the oratory of the Foundation House, made private vows to the Servant of God and received from him uniform robes: blue dresses and white bonnets. This outfit was supposed to remind them of the person of Our Lady, but at the same time it was very similar to the outfit of Protestant deaconesses. At the request of the bishop ordinary, the sisters changed the color of their habits to black and assumed black veils. The most talented of the first sisters was Sister Agnes and Founder saw her as the future superior of the new religious community. Unfortunately, after a year, and on Father John’s name day, she left the Foundation. God sent new vocations and each year several girls joined the nascent religious community of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate.
We learn about the spiritual profile of our spiritual daughters from the notes of Sister Matilda, which she noted on May 26, 1863. Father Founder said this:
You came from far away. You left the quiet family home, the world of childhood and all that belonged to your fatherhood and joined the poor Foundation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is really poor according to the concepts of the world. For poverty founded this foundation and built it at the cost of the sweat and labor of the poor. Poverty lives here. You have found out about it during your long candidacy.
What can you count on in this connection? If you are looking for a comfortable and pleasant life, know that the Sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not resting on the roses. Strenuous work awaits you. You are to be the handmaids of the servants.
Where poverty comes to the table, comfort does not feel right there. Moreover, you even have the duty to go and ask good people for the poor whom you feed and take in for what they need. The world has enough funds to build theaters, but it cannot offer itself sacrifices to alleviate the poor and save those who live in poverty.
Or maybe you want respect in this world? And you have to give up on that too! Certainly, there will be also those who will ridicule your plans and call you stupid for devoting your life to such classes. You will be unknown. People will insult you. What I can offer you in this world is nothing more than this poor robe and a quiet tomb, known and visited only by a few souls. But a Christian does not work for the world, because he climbs for higher purposes. His award smiles at him from the other side.
Remember that by placing yourselves at the service of poverty, you are placing yourselves at the service of the Divine Bridegroom, who has left us his representatives in the poor and the little ones. After all, he tells us about the sacrifices we make for the love of the poor and the abandoned: “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a guest, and you welcomed me, and what you did to my brother, you did to me. “(J. Schweter, History of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, Wrocław 2000 rt1.
The Kulturkampf period was the test of fire for my Congregation at the very beginning of its existence. All the sisters went on a week-long pilgrimage to the Marian Sanctuary in Filipów (today it is located in the Czech Republic near the border triangle of Poland, Czech Republic and Germany) to plead for the miracle of saving the Congregation from liquidation. And the Mother of God saved her Marian Sisters.
What is my trust in the Mother of God in times of trial of faith?
Sr.M. Elżbieta Cińcio