At the Holy Mass that will be celebrated later, the priest, while praying the collective, will pray to God on behalf of all of us: May your grace always precede us and always accompany us, prompting our zeal to do good deeds.
The first place in everyone’s life where we have the opportunity to learn to be zealous and do good deeds is the family home. Such was also the house of the Servant of God Father John Schneider.
Our Founder was born on January 11, 1824 in Mieszkowice in the Prudnik region. Two days later he was baptized in the local branch church of St. George. He was given the names John Jerzy, which were borne by his father and his paternal grandfather. Father and godmother came from Mieszkowice, in addition, he also had another godmother from his mother Katarina’s home village, i.e. from Łąka Prudnicka.
In the Schneider house, two more sisters were born after John, so a family of five was the environment that shaped the attitude of our hero, sensitive to human poverty and hurrying to save people standing on the chasm of moral evil.
Today, on the outskirts of Mieszkowice, we will no longer see Father John’s family home. At this point, my Congregation placed a white statue of Our Lady Immaculate on a pedestal.
Catholics in Mieszkowice constituted a religious minority in relation to the local Protestants. The Catholic primary school was located in the neighboring town of Rudziczka, which also had a parish church. So the Servant of God, from the age of six, traveled two and a half kilometers each way to school every day, until he finished seven classes. He regularly served at the Holy Mass. in the church in Mieszkowice. He had a dream that was humanly impossible to realize, he wanted to serve God as a priest. It was associated with obtaining secondary and higher education. And his parents couldn’t afford to send their son to school.
Divine Providence put on his way the noble priest serving in Rudziczka, Father Antoni Hoffmann, who was concerned with helping children to get education in accordance with their abilities and fulfill their bold dreams. During his parish priesthood, he helped three boys to obtain ordination. One of them was John Schneider. The parish priest persuaded his parents to send their son to Nysa, to Carolinum and offered material help. It was a high school with traditions, graduates of which were, among others, the king of Poland, Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki, son of King John III – Jakub. Our Founder spent eight years of education in Nysa on diligent learning, experiencing material shortages and serving as an altar boy in the school church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. John did not have a watch and he would wake up by feeling at night to punctually at 5.00, stand at the foot of the altar and serve the Father Director of the Carolinum for the Holy Mass. More than once he stood at night for several hours with the church door closed, and the city night guard sent him back with the words: go back home , because it is only one o’clock in the morning. For the service of an altar boy he received 1 talara annually, which at that time was a payment for a farm worker for one working week.
He took the secondary school-leaving examination in 1845. It was written on the matriculation certificate that John Schneider devoted himself to all subjects with great diligence, and in what he did, you could see punctuality, a love of order and diligence. He received excellent grades in religion and mathematics. Unfortunately, his mother could not enjoy her son’s successes, because she had passed away to the Father’s House a year earlier.
John Schneider set off for Wrocław with his high school diploma in hand.
In the moment of reflection, let us ask ourselves the following questions:
What is left of my teenage dreams? Who supported me in realizing my noble desires?
Sr.M. Elżbieta Cińcio