Karol Wojtyla was a philosopher, a playwright and poet. He was a priest and bishop. He was called by God to serve many years as Pope John Paul II. His legacy provides us with great insight and wisdom.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blessed Angela Maria Truszkowska

Angela Maria Truszkowska, d 1899
"Mother Angela, pray for me,
assist me, guide me, sustain me."
On Sunday, May 6, my daughter graduated from Madonna University, a Felician school in Livonia, Michigan. The University celebrated its 75th anniversary. The school is  founded and sponsored by the Felician Sisters. In recognition of the Felician tradition the university awarded an honorary Sister Mary Barbara Ann Bosch, minister general of the Felician Congregation. In accepting her award “gratefully . . . on behalf of Felician Sisters throughout the world,” Sister Barbara Ann said it “affirms all our Felician Sisters . . who carry on in the spirit of our Foundress, Blessed Mary Angela.” She congratulated President S Rose Marie Kujawa and all at Madonna on the occasion of the school’s 75th anniversary. Addressing the graduates, she said, “May the Felician Franciscan values you learned here provide you with the strength needed” for your future. The Felicians are a remarkable order and they deserve recognition and gratitude for their work.

The order of Felicians were founded by Angela Maria Truszkowska. John Paul II beatified Angela on April 18, 1993.He said of her: "Christ led Mother Angela on a truly exceptional path, causing her to share intimately in the mystery of his Cross. He formed her spirit by means of numerous sufferings, which she accepted with faith and a truly heroic submission to his will: in seclusion and solitude, in a long and trying illness and in dark night of the soul. Her greatest desire was to become a 'victim of love.'" (See John Paul II's Book of Saints, by Matthew Bunson et al, OSV 1999.)

She was born in 1825 in Kalisz, Poland; she was born premature; her parents prayed to Our Lady of Czestochowa to save the infant. Despite her physical ailments she worked constantly for the poor and sick. She became a Franciscan tertiary and in 1857 founded a Franciscan congregation, called Felicians because the convent was near the Church of St Felix of Cantalice, a Franciscan saint of the 16th century who was a close to St Philip Neri and a great evangelizer. From her childhood , she offered money and service to the starving and those people in need of a good heart and home. She founded a small home for orphans; she cared for abandoned elderly women and this work was expanded. The date of the foundation of the Convent of the Felician Sisters is adopted as the day on which Angela commenced her life in the convent (21st November 1855). The life of Mother Angela was characterised by adopting the Franciscan's love of people: Nothing for oneself, everything for the others.


Within a span of four years Mother Angela opened 27 schools. These schools were lost when the Russians occupied Poland in 1864. In 1874 Mother Angela sent the Felician Sisters to the United States, to Livonia, Michigan; it was her second foundation, after the first foundation in Warsaw. Their educational apostolate was the backbone of Catholic education throughout Detroit and the midwest. Father Josef Dabrowski, founder of the Polish seminary (1885), now Orchard Lake Schools, served as their spiritual director. Today the Felician Congregation has nearly 1,800 Sisters on five continents. They continue to live and teach a Franciscan approach to service and love of neighbor and they offer an excellent education to the students at Madonna University. Mother Angela left a motto to her sisters: "All through the heart of the Virgin Mary, to the honour of the Holy Sacrament". She is buried in the Felician Church in Krakow. In the Church, the Holy Sacrament is adored throughout the day.

When She died, many believed her to be a saint. After the death of Sister Angela, people began praying through her to the Lord and were granted many graces, and favors both spiritual and temporal. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II, as mentioned above, and it was Cardinal Wojtyla who opened the cause for her canonization. Join me in asking her intercession for the recent graduates of Madonna University (including my daughter) that they may find employment and live a life inspired by her charity.

Sister Mary Barbara Ann spoke about the passage found in Luke 6:38 as a theme for the graduation ceremony: ""Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-- pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." It was a day to be thankful for God's many blessings. His goodness always exceeds our measure and expectation. Graduation day is a sign of his grace.


[note: the photo was found in profkaren, Flikr photostream of Karen Majewski, former mayor of Hamtramck and professor at St Mary's College, Orchard Lake -- see it here; the holy card collections are noteworthy (see very last collection) as are pictures of Poland]



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What an enlightening and inspiring piece. I knew nothing of this order or its founder. I have a new friend in heaven now. Thank you so much! Also the pictures are fascinating. Just a great piece.