BLESSED CELINE CHLUDZIŃSKA BORZĘCKA
God most admirably led Blessed Celine nee Chludzińska Borzęcka through all the states of the life of a woman. First she experienced family warmth; then she created a family hearth with her husband and daughters; and finally, united by a “double knot” with her daughter Hedwig, she founded a religious family, not neglecting the bonds with her natural family. The fact of forming the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ by a mother and her daughter remains a phenomenon in the history of the Church.
Celine Chludzińska was born on October 29, 1833 in Antowil, near Orsza, at the boundaries of the former Republic (the present Belarus) in the family of Ignatius and Clementine nee Kossów. She had two siblings: Filippina and Aloysius. In the Chludziński family the love of God and neighbour as well as patriotism were important. The wealth of the parents was not an obstacle in educating the children to respect work and be industrious, to be conscientious and obedient.
From childhood Celine was characterized by openness to the things of God, and when growing up she discovered a religious vocation. However being obedient to her parents, after a retreat and conversation with her confessor, at the age of 20 she married Joseph Borzęcki and took up residence on the Obrembszczyzna property near Grodno. She took up her new duties, hiding in the depths of her heart her desire to dedicate herself to God. Already then a characteristic quality of her spirituality became evident – loving the will of God above all things.
The marriage of Celine with Joseph Borzęcki was a happy one. With love and responsibility Celine fulfilled the duties of a wife, mother and the lady of the house. She had four children, of whom two died in early childhood. Two daughters: Celine and Hedwig lived. In 1869 the temporal happiness of Celine was interrupted by her husband’s attack of paralysis. With dedication the courageous wife took care of her husband who lost the use of his legs. In order to save him, she travelled with him and her daughters to Vienna. Here she began to write her “Memoirs for my Daughters” which contains pertinent educational comments.
Celine took care of her husband for 5 years. Medications did not help, nor did medical intervention or treatments, since Joseph Borzęcki died on February 13, 1874 in Vienna, at the age of 52. Celine noted in her Memoirs for my Daughters”: … my protective angel has left me”.
Celine became a widow at the age of 40. After burying her husband in Obrembszczyzna and making order with property matters, she showed her daughters where their family had come from, then Wilno and Warsaw, and in the end, Italy.
The Borzęckis arrived in Rome on October 7, 1875. They took up residence near the church of St. Claude, where the Resurrectionists worked and Roman Poles gathered. Here Celine Borzęcka met Fr. Peter Semenenko, co-founder and superior general of the Resurrectionists, who became her spiritual director, and also of the younger daughter Hedwig. In a short while, the older daughter Celia married Joseph Haller (a nephew of Gen. Joseph Haller).
In Rome the youthful desire of Celine Borzęcka to give herself to God awakened again. This thought of hers met with the desire of Fr. Peter Semenenko who for many years had tried to form a female branch of the Congregation of the Resurrection. Fr. Peter formed Celine and her daughter Hedwig, who had expressed her Fiat” on March 25, 1881, joining with her mother to create a religious family according to Resurrection spirituality. On December 24, 1882, Celine with her daughter Hedwig and other candidates began their probation in community life in Rome. The apostolic activity of the community that was being born was an afternoon school for poor girls in Rome that was established in 1887. After 9 years, on January 6, 1891, Celine and Hedwig professed their perpetual vows. This is the date of the birth of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection in the Church. Mother Celine, now stood at the head of the new congregation, as a 58 year old woman.
During the fall of 1891 Mother Celine opened in Kęty the first home on Polish lands. During the life of the Foundress, the Sisters began their apostolic work in Bulgaria, then Częstochowa and Warsaw, and also the United States.
By what seemed a strange divine decree, on September 27, 1906 in Kęty, Mother Hedwig Borzęcka, the 43 year old co-foundress, was the first to leave for eternity.
Mother Celine died on October 26, 1913 in Kraków and was buried in the cemetery in Kęty. On November 22, 1937, the earthly remains of Mother Celine and Mother Hedwig were transferred to the crypt under the convent chapel in Kęty, and on April 3, 2001, to the tomb in the church of SS .Margaret and Catherine in Kęty.
History of the Process of Beatification
God endowed Celine Borzęcka with a richness of charisms. In the course of 80 years she was: a wife, mother, widow, grandmother as well as a religious and foundress of a religious family. Her last words: “In God there is happiness forever” testify to her deep spiritual life and strong bond with God. Those who knew her recognized that she was a holy person. The conviction also existed In the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection that Mother Foundress took care of her religious community from heaven and interceded for divine graces.
The desire of their spiritual daughters that arose from a love for the Mother Foundresses was to have both of them close to themselves. Such a closeness became possible from November 22, 1937 when the earthly remains of our Mothers were transferred from the tomb in the Kęty cemetery to the crypt under the Kęty convent chapel of the Sisters of the Resurrection.
The beginning of the process of beatification of the Mothers took place after the encouragement of Pope Pius XII which he expressed on January 8, 1942 during an audience granted to Mother Teresa Kalkstein. The stages of the process took place in accordance with the then obligatory Norms. The informational process of Mother Celine because of the place of her death should have begun in the diocese of Kraków but the Holy Father granted the privilege for the processes of both Mothers to be conducted in Rome. The informational process of the Servant of God Mother Celine was opened on October 31, 1944. In 1946 the tribunal for the information process was established in Krakow and Chicago. The closing of the information process took place on March 16, 1949 in Rome. The declarations of witnesses were gathered together and the writings of Mother Celine were examined. In 1949 the process De non cultu took place in Kęty. The results of the process were positive therefore the acts and proofs gathered in the Positio super causa introductione were sent to the Congregation of Rites.
The next stage was the apostolic process which began with the consent of Pope Paul VI, expressed in the decree of April 10, 1964. From the beginning it was stressed in the Congregation not to separate too much in time the processes of both Mothers, noting that the pope “drew attention to the unusual in the history of the modern Church fact that a mother and her daughter together founded the religious congregation”. And thus the Apostolic Process of the Servant of God Mother Celine was concluded on December 29, 1967 in Rome, and that of Mother Hedwig on February 17, 1968. The Apostolic Processes of Mother Celine were carried out earlier in Kraków and Chicago, In 1965 in Kęty the act of recognitio, recognition of the remains of our Mother Foundresses took place, The decrees of the heroic virtue of both Mothers was signed by Pope John Paul II in the same year 1982 – for Celine on February 11, and for Hedwig on December 17.
During the succeeding years local communities of the Congregation prayed for the beatification of our Mother Foundresses and entrusted to God various intentions through their intercession. In some churches on the 26th day of the month the sisters gathered with the faithful for a Mass for this intention. The Sisters in Kęty prayed each day by their tombs in the crypt. Novenas were also prayed by the entire Congregation. This was also the case in 1999 when the communities were called to pray a novena for the healing of Andrzej Mecherzyński-Wiktor , the great grandson of Mother Celine, to the fifth degree, who on July 20 suffered an accident during training session in the sport of climbing. The state of Andrzej was considered to be hopeless, so the Congregation and family prayed through the intercession of Mother Celine for his health. Unexpectedly on the last day of the novena the completely well Andrzej was discharged from the hospital. There was no need for lengthy rehabilitation. On August 15, 1999 Andrzej and his parents came to Kęty to thank for the prayers and to present the documentation pertaining to his accident and healing.
A significant moment in the process of beatification of Mother Celine was the fact of the translation of the remains of the Mothers from the crypt under the convent chapel in Kęty to the parish church of SS. Margaret and Catherine on April 3, 2001. This was the fulfilment of a desire that grew during the last years to facilitate access to the tombs of the Mothers and to bring their spiritual presence closer to the People of God. On that day Fr. Stefan Ryłko CRL, taking part in the exhumation and translation of the Mothers earthly remains became interested in the cure of Andrzej Mecherzyński-Wiktor. The documents were quickly gathered and the decision about the process was made at the place of the cure, therefore in Kraków. The opening of the process on January 25, 2002 and its closing on April 10th of the same year was carried out by Card. Francis Macharski. Documentation from the process was sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints that issued the decree concerning its validity. After the successful carrying out of the further stages of the process, on December 16, 2006 the Holy Father Benedict XVIU signed the decree confirming the miracle.
The beatification of Mother Celine, presided over by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, took place on October 27, 2007 in Rome, in the papal basilica of St. John Lateran. The solemn Eucharist was concelebrated by cardinals, archbishops and bishops, representing the places of the presence and service of the Sisters of the Resurrection in the world, as well as many priests, including the Resurrectionists. The beatification was preceded by a Mass in the Church of St. Joachim in Prati, and on October 28, in the basilica of St. Mary Major, a Mass of thanksgiving for the beatification. Also on October 28 during the praying of the Angelus our Holy Father spoke about the bloodless martyrdom of Celine Chludzińska-Borzęcka, who with her example teaches us that every vocation serves for sanctification and the apostolate. On October 31 during the Wednesday papal audience, Benedict XVI when greeting the participants in the beatification ceremony said: Blessed Celine is for us an example of fulfilling daily obligations with faith, love and surrender to the will of God. For the realization of her spiritual testament and call: “In God there is happiness forever,” “Be saints,” I sincerely bless the entire Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection and all of you.
We encourage you to prayer through the intercession of Blessed Celine, our Mother Foundress. Let us ask for a miracle through her intercession in order to rejoice with the whole Church with her canonization
PRAYER FOR GRACES THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF BLESSED CELINE BORZĘCKA
Praise be to you, Lord
Jesus, who have gifted Blessed Celine
with a special love for the paschal mystery
and the desire to fulfill your holy will.
Grant us, through her intercession, the grace
(mention your intention here) for which we beg you,
trusting in your unlimited love for us.
Lord, may your Church rejoice by numbering your servant, Celine,
among the saints for your greater glory and for our good.
You are God, who lives and reigns with the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.