BLESSED HONORAT KOZMINSKI
Founder of the Seraphic Sisters
Blessed Honorat was born on October 16, 1829 in Biala Podlaska (Poland). He was the son of Stefan Kozminski and Aleksandra Kahlowa and at baptism, was given the name of Wenceslaus.
At the age of 11, Wenceslaus began his secondary school education and it was during this time that he lost his faith. He graduated in 1844 and enrolled in the Department of Architecture at the Warsaw School of Fine Arts. In 1845, he lost his father and in April 1846, he was arrested and sent to prison with his friends for conspiring against the Russians, who at the time occupied Poland.
In a prison cell, Wenceslaus experienced a spiritual upheaval. His faith was renewed and in a mysterious way, as he will say, a divine order was introduced into his soul. "The Mother of God," he wrote in his spiritual journal, "having been moved by the prayers of my mother… interceded for me with the Lord; thus it was that He came to me in my prison cell and gently led me to the faith."
After eleven months of imprisonment, Wenceslaus was freed and to the great surprise of those who knew him, in 1848 he entered the Capuchin Order, taking the name Honoratus. After professing vows and finishing his philosophical and theological studies, he was ordained a priest.
As a priest, he began an enthusiastic and zealous apostolic activity in Warsaw. He was an indefatigable confessor and preacher. In his pastoral work he strongly promoted Third Order of St. Francis and the circles of the "Living Rosary." A real test came to him and those with him on the night of November 27, 1864, when the Capuchin friary in Warsaw was shut down by the persecutors. The friars were given a choice: either freely depart from the Polish territory occupied by Russians or remain there without any prospects of public activity or development. Father Honorat's decision was clear: "It is here that God wishes to have us…therefore it is here that we shall work."
In 1867, Father Honorat offered himself to Christ through the hands of Mary as her "slave," giving himself over to her completely as an instrument for her hands. From that moment forward, the motto of his life was contained in a sentence expressing limitless trust: "Mary, I am completely Yours---Tuus totus."
Between the years 1874-1895, Father Honorat was a "prisoner of the Confessional." In this short time, he founded a mysterious network of apostolic communities covering the lands of the Kingdom of Poland. This great evangelical tree continued to branch out and at the end of the 19th century, twenty-five different religious Congregations started by Father Honorat counted thousands of brothers and sisters. He died on December 16, 1916.
He was one of the most inspired figures in the most difficult times of Poland's history. It is not any surprise therefore that on September 1, 1988, the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, presided over the ceremony of his beatification.
MOTHER MALGORZATA LUCJA SZEWCZYK
Co-founder of the Seraphic Sisters
Lucja Szewczyk was born in 1828 into a Polish family in Wolyn (today Ukraine). In her early childhood she lost her parents and was brought up by her older stepsister. Always feeling the call to religious life, at the age of 20, she entered the Third Order of Saint Francis of Assisi. Due to the political situation in her occupied Poland, she was not able to formally join any religious Congregation.
To strengthen her faith and love for God, in 1870 Lucja undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She was profoundly moved by this experience and decided to devote her life to help the poor, elderly and sick. She confessed her desire to her confessor, Father Honorat Kozminski, who approved of her decision and encouraged her to begin her work. The first step she made was to invite two poor and sick elderly women to live in her apartment. She was taking care of them in secret because any charitable or church activities were strictly forbidden by the decrees of the Russian Emperor, who at the time ruled over Poland.
It was not too long before a few more young women moved in with her and joined her in her work. Similar to Lucja, they wanted to devote their life to serving God by helping the poor. Later, to accommodate the growing number and better serve those in need, Lucja decided to buy a house with a garden. As a result, in 1881, following the advice of Father Honorat, Lucja formally founded a new Religious Order, whose aim was to help the poor, sick and most needy of the society. She became the head of the Congregation and took the new name, Mother Malgorzata.
As a nun, Mother Malgorzata led a very ascetic life fasting a lot and never shying away from her duties. She led the ever-growing Congregation for 20 years. The last months of her life she spent in Nieszawa. The many years of service took a toll on her and towards the end of her life she developed health problems. Her devoted life came to an end on June 5, 1905. With special permission of the church authorities, her body was moved to Oswiecim and located in the church of her Congregation. Since her death, people continuously pray in front of the sarcophagus holding her remains presenting their petitions and asking for her intercession.
The life of Mother Malgorzata Szewczyk can be characterized as a life of infinite love for God, complete trust in His providence, and complete dedication to the service of the needy. She truly believed in Christ's real presence in the Eucharist and recognized the Holy Mass as the most important treasure of the Congregation. To make her life and work visible to the universal Church as a life of a true servant of God, the sisters started the process of her beatification and canonization. The evidence of her heroic life and virtues was seen in many gifts and blessings that people have received through her intercession.
Her beatification took place on the 9th of June, 2013 in Krakow-Poland
PRAYER FOR THE INTERCESSION OF
Father, in Your infinite goodness You called Blessed Margaret to care for the poor, neglected and the sick. Through her intercession help us to faithfully follow our calling and rejoice in receiving the grace.......for which we pray. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
If anyone's prayers are answered through the intercession of Blessed Margaret please contact the Seraphic Sisters:
The Seraphic Sisters
621 W. Woodlawn Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78212