Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family (1862-1946)
+ Boleslawa was born in Lowicz, Poland. After being trained as a seamstress, she work with her sister in a tailor shop. She joined the Congregation of the Family of Mary, working as a tailor and teacher in the community’s houses.
+ Boleslawa left the community before making solemn vows and returned home to care for the sick and poor. Following the death of her younger brother (who was a seminarian) in 1900, she considered returning to religious life. She learned weaving in order to have another trade to teach young girls, hoping to help provide greater opportunities for independence for girls and women who were often victimized and exploited.
+ In 1905, Boleslawa and some like-minded women established the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family to promote Christian unity, support the poor, and teach young women.
+ In the succeeding years the sisters established houses in Russia and Finland, but the First World War and rise of the Communist Party limited the work of the sisters. Boleslawa served as superior until 1935. Even after retirement, she continued to establish houses and schools for single women.
+ Following a fall in 1941, Boleslawa suffered from near paralysis and spent the remaining years of her life counseling the sisters and praying for their work. She died in Bialystok, Poland, in 1946 and was beatified in 1991.
“Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.”—Matthew 19:29
O God, by whose gift blessed Boleslawa persevered in imitating Christ, poor and lowly, grant us through her intercession that, faithfully walking in our own vocation, we may reach the perfection you have set before us in your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Religious)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.