The sisters participating in the Ongoing Formation Pilgrimage spent their last full day in Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday, July 6, continuing to walk in the footsteps of Blessed Mary Angela with SM Fidelia Janas
as their guide.
They began in the Old Town at the Church of Saint Marcin, one of only two churches in the city where Sophia Truszkowska could go for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and where her first steady confessor and spiritual director–Father Augustyn Brzezkiewicz, OSA–resided.
At the Church of the Transfiguration
On Kościelna Street in the New Town, the sisters saw the building in which Mother Angela rented two simple attic rooms through the help of her friend Countess Gabriela, who collected funds and donations from her family. When these accommodations–originally planned for five orphans and five elderly women–proved too small for the rapidly growing group of 40 children and 20 women, Mother Angela rented a building, again with the help of Countess Gabriela, on Mostowa Street, and the pilgrims stood outside the Institute of Saint Felix there.
At the graves of Mr. & Mrs. Truszkowski and Valeria
The sisters walked to Długa Street where the Truszkowski family lived when they moved to Warsaw since Mr. Truszkowski worked in the Court Building just around the corner. They also visited Holy Cross Church where Sophia and her sister Valeria attended the early morning Mass each day. While they were unable to enter the Capuchin Church of the Transfiguration, they saw the altar dedicated to Saint Felix where Mother Angela brought the children to pray.
On Daniłowiczowska Street, the pilgrims stood outside the first central house of the Congregation. It was here that the sisters established a makeshift hospital during the January Uprising, serving both the insurrectionists as well as the Russian wounded, and for which they were served with the Decree of Suppression in 1864.
The next site on the pilgrimage was the Catholic Powazki Military Cemetery, one of the largest and oldest of the cemeteries in Warsaw. There the sisters prayed and left candles at the graves of Blessed Mary Angela’s parents and sister Valeria, her two influential teachers Anastasja Kotowicz and Stanisław Jachowicz from her brief time in the boarding school, and, finally, the first sisters, in a common grave, some of whom were members of the community for only one or two years.
Sister Melanie said, “We are very grateful for Sister Fidelia’s expertise and for the hospitality of SM Ilona Spiliszewska and the sisters at St. Roch Convent on Nowowiejska Street who provided a delicious dinner for us
and offered their chapel for some quiet prayer before completing our mission. In all, we covered 7.2 miles on foot and many more via the very efficient and prompt bus, tram and metro transportation system in this city. Although physically tired, we were definitely energized in the spirit of our foundress and very proud to be Felician Sisters.”