Blessed Sister Sancja (San-c-ya) Janina Szymkowiak was born July 10, 1910 in Mozdzanow, Poland to deeply religious and pious parents. She attended elementary school in Szklarka and high school in Ostrow Wielkopolski. She continued her education at the University of Poznan where she studied the French language. In 1934, she traveled to France to prepare herself better for her final exams.

Since childhood, Janina (name she received at baptism) dreamed of becoming a nun. As a young woman, she was very impressed by the writings and life of Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, and like her, wanted to become a saint. While in France, after traveling to Lourdes, she felt the calling to religious life more intensely and as a result she entered the Congregation of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

Her parents strongly objected to her decision so after seven months she returned to Poland. However, with the help of her older brother, a priest, she was able to continue her religious life in the Congregation of the Seraphic Sisters. She was accepted by the community in June 1936, and on July 29, 1937, when receiving the religious habit, she was given the name Maria Sancja.

With total abandonment, perfect meekness, and deep humility, Sister Sancja served others as a doorkeeper, translator, and teacher. During the occupation of Poland, she was helping the prisoners of war and endeared herself to them as their "angel of mercy." Even illness did not stop her from thinking about others. Battling tuberculosis, she offered her pain and suffering for the conversion of sinners and for the freedom of Poland. On July 6, 1942 Sister Sancja made her perpetual vows .

On August 29, 1942, she called her Superior and announced to her that she would die this day. The Sisters staying with her asked her to pray for them. She requested the Holy Communion and with the words, "Bring all your needs to me; I am dying because of love and the request made by one who loves will not be refused by the One Who is Love," she in fact passed away this very day. All those who, during the funeral, approached her casket knew that they were in the presence of greatness and some of the British soldiers she helped, bowed down, kissed her hands, saying, "Good-bye, Saint Sancja."

People never stopped asking for her intercession and many have obtained special graces and blessings through her. The process for her beatification, introduced by the Seraphic Sisters, met all the requirements of the Church's Congregation for Canonization and on August 18, 2002, the Holy Father, John Paul II, pronounced her blessed.


O, God, Who are Love, and the One Who most generously bestows Your graces and blessings on all, look with favor on the deep faith and merciful love of your humble servant, Blessed Sister Sancja, and hear my request…(mention your need)… which I make through her intercession. Amen.

Our Father…Hail Mary…Glory be to the Father…
Sacred Heart of Jesus - be my Love.
Heart of Jesus - I believe and trust in You.


"To be a follower of Jesus means to be totally committed to Him and absolutely surrendered to His will; to trust Him perfectly, having complete confidence in His everlasting love."

If anyone's prayers are answered through the intercession of Blessed Sister Sancja, please contact the Seraphic Sisters.

The Seraphic Sisters
621 W. Woodlawn Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78212