In the footsteps of Blessed Frances Siedliska in Rome (9)

Sr. M. Beata Rudzińska, CSFN

Papal blessing

In the Congregation’s Archives in Rome, successive generations of Nazareth Sisters have carefully preserved the original request that Fr. Laurençot helped the young Foundress to edit. After all, it was the first time she had written to the Successor of St. Peter, and she did not want to make any mistakes.

The request, written in French, was translated this way in the published biographies of the Foundress:

Most Holy Father,

Moved by the desire to respond to the grace of a divine vocation, following the lights and repeated requests of a humble and fervent religious, and in obedience to his spirtual director, a man virtuous and prudent and himself a religious and for many years a superior of a community of his Order, Frances Siedliska, daughter of Adolph and of Cecilia Morawska Siedliski, born at Roszkowa Wola in Russian Poland, November 12th, 1842, approaches with confidence to place before the fatherly heart of Your Holiness the plan which she has devised to found a new Congregation, that of Loreto, in honor of, and under the protection of the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, with the purpose of praying, working, suffering and giving itself entirely for the Supreme Pontif and the holy Catholic Church, attempting in its hidden way of life to retrace all the virtues of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Most Holy Father, in anticipation that the rules and constitutions of the said Sisters of Loreto may be presented for examination and sanction by the Holy See, the aforesaid Frances Siedliska, devoutly prostrate at your feet, begs in all humility that Your Holiness deign to encourage her in her holy plan with your apostolic blessing.

The letter was carried personally to the Vatican by Fr. Laurençot. Sr. Augustine, in the written memoirs of the Foundress, states that “on October 1, at high noon, Fr. Laurençot received for our Mother the blessing of the Holy Father Pius IX for this work and brought it to our Mother.”

The words of the blessing in Latin were written by the Pope by hand under the text of the request:

„Benedicat vos Deus et illuminet semper intelligentias vestras, ut possitis ambulare in viis Domini – May God bless you and ever enlighten your understanding that you may walk in the ways of the Lord”.

Francis received “a clear sign that the Lord himself desires this work (…)”

October 1, 1873 became for Francis one of those days whose anniversary she would celebrate for the rest of her life and remember in her correspondence or notes. Thus, on October 1, 1884, in a letter to Fr. A. Lechert, she wrote: “Today is the anniversary of that day when Fr. Laurençot presented in writing to the Holy Father Pius IX our intentions and desires, or rather this work of God, and the Holy Father blessed it and encouraged it with a few words in writing.”

Good God often gives us more than we ask or expect. What Francis did not expect was that another surprise awaited her the following day. But about that in the next episode…


Pius IX’s own handwritten words of blessing – GA CSFN