From December 3 to 19, 2018, I was able to visit our Spanish mission in Benicassim. Only two months have passed since our arrival, and a lot has happened and continues to happen. Here are a few of the joys that we would like to share with others. In the evening of December 7, Mass was celebrated in the large chapel of our house, presided over by Bishop Casimiro Lopez. From that moment on, it is here that we fulfill our most important apostolate in the diocese, that is, we pray for families and with families. Meanwhile, twice a week in the afternoons (on Wednesdays and Sundays), the Sisters remain several hours for adoration. Additionally on Wednesdays, there is a Mass at 9:00pm, always for families. The rosary, the prayer and litany to the Holy Family are prayed, the canons are sung, there is a time of silence, listening to the Word, putting intentions into the “mailbox of God” …. I can testify that we were not alone in the chapel for a moment. What’s more, different groups have already declared their willingness to come to our chapel to pray with the Sisters. This will be the case, for example, during New Year’s Eve. On December 12, during the Mass, the relics of Blessed Frances Siedliska and the 11 Martyred Sisters of Nowogródek were introduced.
More and more, the Sisters participate in the life of the parish and diocese. They are with the catechists and children in the parish catechetical program, at the Masses for children (for example in the musical group animating the liturgy), in the parish Caritas group. Our house is constantly visited, for a moment of conversation or in order to share something with the Sisters, for example, furniture (… because our house is not yet fully furnished), or tasty fruit (now is the season for mandarins and oranges). The Sisters are also happy to participate in various special events. During my stay, we helped in the preparation and organization of the Christmas Fair, which took place on Gaudete Sunday. Truly, it was joyful! Every year, the income from this initiative is dedicated to a different charitable endeavor. This year, the income was used to support one of the schools in Venezuela. We had our own contribution in the form of baked cakes.
In the diocese, there are various initiatives for the family, for protection of the unborn, help for single mothers, etc. We are slowly getting to know the people connected with these apostolates, making different contacts, recognizing our specific place and the tasks that we can take on. Together with the local Superior, Sister Katarzyna, we participated in a diocesan meeting on the subject of pastoral care of families. Over 30 people were gathered. I really admired their commitment, professionalism, enthusiasm and faith. The group was led by lay people (some connected with various ecclesial movements), and there were also some priests present. We were the only Sisters, but we felt very well accepted and even intimidated by the hopes placed in us as Nazareth Sisters, in our mission and charism.
Of course, the Sisters are still improving their language skills, learning new customs, traditions. And although the heart would already want to be doing something more, the realities of everyday life teach the humble path of small steps … The most important thing is to go in the right direction!
On Monday 17 December, 2018, the Holy Family of Nazareth school community in Chiraa, Ghana had much cause to rejoice!!! In the presence of Sr Helen Tereba, the local chief of Chiraa Berima Mensa Afari, Sister Justyna, headmistress, Sisters, Invited Guests, parents and students, Most Rev. Matthew Gyamfi, Bishop of Sunyani Diocese blessed stage two of the recently completed school building for the primary students.
During his address, Bishop Matthew expressed sincere thanks to Mother Jana and the congregation for responding to the invitation to come to Ghana. “We are infinitely grateful to you because we know the value of a school. The students will be trail blazers for the Church and for Ghana because of the values and attitudes you instill in them. We cannot thank you enough. Thank you for your sacrifices you have made. On behalf of the Church and our country, we are very grateful!”
The teachers and students are to be congratulated on the special performances, which each class prepared for the day’s program.
It was a true blessing for me to accompany Mother Jana to Belarus from 9 – 19 November, 2018.
True, this was my second visit to Belarus, the first being about 20 years ago. The main purpose of our visit was to meet with all the Sisters in the province, the first meeting in Grodno and the second in Nowogródek. Nevertheless, Sister Maria Błaszczyk, Provincial Superior, very kindly arranged that we should visit every convent which she claimed was “on the way” from Minsk, to Grodno to Nowogródek and then back to Minsk for our departure to Rome.
Devotion to our Blessed Martyred Sisters has spread far and wide not only in Belarus but also throughout the world. This was evident, for example in the Parish of St John the Evangelist and St Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Minsk where the celebration for the feast of All Saints includes an All Saints Ball for young and old. This year’s program included a drama presentation prepared by Sister Sister Klara Wołczek on our Martyred Sisters with a particular focus on Sister Canuta. The silence and reverent atmosphere in the hall during the presentation were signs that all were touched by the performance.
May the example and spirit of our Blessed Martyred Sisters continue to light our path and inspire us to generously live our consecration each day.
The 2nd International Congress of the Europa Christi Movement took place from October 14 to 22, 2018, in Poland. Individual sessions of the Congress took place in Częstochowa, Warsaw, Rzeszów, Lublin, Łódź and Kraków. The Europa Christi movement aims to remind Europe of its Christian roots and the foundation of the moral values upon which Europe was built. The Movement is decidely against the secularization of the Old Continent. For if Europe loses its Christian identity, it threatens moral collapse and disaster for the whole world. It is important to recognize that this is an ecumenical movement, open to the cooperation of Christians from the Protestant Churches as well as the Churches of the East.
Each day of the Congress was devoted to a selected issue, which was presented in various ways by the many invited guests from Poland and around the world. Our Congregation received an invitation to participate in a session entitled: The Europe of Martyrs. This session took place in Łódź, at the headquarters of the University of Lodz. It is worth emphasizing that it was October 19th, the liturgical memorial of the martyrdom of Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko. His person, words and martyrdom were somehow a guide for us throughout the day. I was asked to present the story of our Blessed Martyred Sisters of Nowogródek and the message of their sacrifice. The Provincial Superior, Sister Teofania Migowska, from Warsaw and Sisters from the nearby community in Kolumna also came to the session. Therefore, there was an opportunity to distribute brochures about our Blessed Martyrs to the participants of the session. For most participants their story was not known (especially, for example, by our guests from Italy, Norway or Croatia). I was glad that my presentation met with great interest. Some even found it very touching. I trust that participation in this Congress may be another building block in spreading devotion to our Blesseds.
M. Jana Zawieja