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50th Anniversay Of Loretto Sisters

50-lecie istnienia Sióstr Loretanek

You are celebrating your 50th anniversary on a most appropriate day – the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our thoughts today turn to the great divine mystery in which Father, Son and Spirit reveal themselves in their Trinitarian love. God who is Love, sends Love into the world, acts through Love and consequently expects the human heart to respond to the best of its ability – with love for love.

It is an unfathomable mystery to which people perhaps still pay too little attention. So many of God’s most varied qualities are the subject of our constant pondering. Too often we see God only as a Judge. We have laid down a whole codicil according to which we believe God the Judge should judge us. We admire the immensity of God’s power manifested in nature and in its mysteries, laboriously unveiled by man. Recognising the depths of God’s wisdom hidden in creatures we gain respect for all creation and for man – formed from the mud so hitherto despised, but harbouring the mystery of God’s omnipotence, wisdom and power.

But greater above all is love. This is why modern man, disappointed in his manifold hopes and expectations, disappointed even in his proper recognition of God, feels within himself a longing for the cradle of his origin – the Heart of God. It seems that today, after so many painful experiences and disappointments in almost every field, it will be necessary for all of us to turn to these intentions of the Heart of God: “Cogitationes cordis eius in generationem et generationem”.

IMMUTABLE VALUE – LOVE

Our generation needs above all to recognise the designs of the Heart of God. God is not wronged, so that we do not suspect that there may be something more supreme in Him than what is essential in Him – love. And there arises in our souls an unfathomable longing for all our things to happen in love because we are the fruit of God’s love. The Church encourages us to have this attitude, especially through the veneration of the Heart of God which has therefore been opened “so that we may look at Him whom we have pierced” as we read just now in the Liturgy of the Word.

To look at God’s Heart and to look at Christ means to understand that his power is most manifested through pity and forgiveness. The measure of the love that God is – “Deus Caritas est” – is that He sent His Son to earth because He loved the world so much. He sent Him to us and commissioned Him in His wisdom and goodness to show us His Heart at almost the last moment of His saving work. Through a “painful operation” performed with a soldier’s spear, the Heart of the Messenger of Fatherly Love was revealed. In the history of the world and of man, especially through painful experiences, we recognise that love is greater above all things.

From the love of God all things are born. The wonderful mystery of God Incarnate who was placed by the Holy Spirit under the Most Pure Heart of the Mother of Beautiful Love is born from love. Henceforth there is the unique union of the Two Hearts’ which act together in the world: the Heart of the God-Man and the Heart of the Mother of the God-Man. These Two Hearts met at Calvary in a painful but salvific moment for man. Jesus Christ at the moment of his passion and death benefited from the loving presence of his Mother who carefully watched that everything would be done according to the Father’s will. This was already foretold by the old man Simeon in the Temple of Jerusalem when he said that a sword of sorrow would pierce Her Heart. The measure of this sorrow is the measure of love.

This measure continues in the history of the Church. We understood it more fully and precisely by listening to the Council’s teaching on the presence of Mary, Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church. Mary who is Mother of Sorrows, Mother of Beautiful Love, Mother of the Church.

Everything that grows out of love has the mark of permanence in the Church. Many problems cease. The changes that take place herald the end of old institutions and forms of life and work but they also herald new forms and new ways. But one thing does not cease. And this is love. Above all the changes that are taking place in the Church, especially in the post-conciliar period, love is the more important. It has prospective dimensions. Even though the Church has changed in external works, the essential component that has drawn from the Heart of God and His Mother – love – will never change or cease in the history of God in the world.

And in our capital city throughout the centuries and changing situations of the Nation and the Church the most varied attempts have been made not to forget that above all things greater and more enduring is love.

PEOPLE INSPIRED BY LOVE – THE CAPITAL’S SALVATION

The capital city has a special history when it comes to revelation of love. We remember the painful years of enslavement when the monastery gates were closed and the most distinguished religious orders in Poland and Warsaw were forbidden to run novitiates. Those were the times of Archbishops Fijałkowski and Feliński. It seemed that monasteries were condemned to death and they would no longer serve Warsaw. However, at the same time there were people who drawn new inspirations from God’s love. They began to create new forms of communal life in the service of others. An unforgettable figure from Warsaw area was Father Honorat Koźmiński. He gave birth to numerous hidden women’s congregations where the source of love continued to abound in Warsaw.

Archbishop Feliński did not part with the idea of creating new forms of religious life in Poland even during his most difficult moments – in St Petersburg, in Warsaw, and in exile in Jarosław or in Dźwiniaczka near Lviv. It was on his initiative that the “Family of Mary” congregation was founded.

Archbishop Gall – a very active and gifted figure (sometimes underestimated) equipped many religious congregations and provided them with suitable living conditions.

Your Founder, Father Kłopotowski, a man perhaps insufficiently appreciated – in his extraordinary zeal, in the inner restlessness of his heart, in the enormity of his initiatives – gave birth to your Congregation. For he sensed that difficult times would call for new forms of religious life and service: to Warsaw, to Poland and to God’s children.

An extraordinary sensitivity to human misery was shown by this man. He was overwhelmed with anxiety when he saw the ranks of people suffering, hungry, abandoned, living in misery. Nothing escaped his attention – not the poor, not the unfortunate, not those who had been let down by all too human expectations and hopes. He wished to help them all and to enlighten them with the living or printed word. It was then – in the midst of much suffering and disappointment that the Congregation of the Loretto Sisters was founded.

MAY LOVE CONTINUE TO BE THE STYLE OF YOUR LIFE

It is easy to say half a century – but how difficult it is to analyse and appreciate the content of the past fifty years. They consist of projects, intentions, hopes, requests for blessings, many people whom God has sent and taken away, as well as constant difficulties fought with the intention to serve God and people. All those activities have their meaning because they do not allow man to be satisfied with what is but make him look for something better, deeper, closer to the ideal of God’s Heart.

Do not think that whatever took place in the history of your Congregation was meaningless. Everything was a test of love and fidelity. It revealed that things that are too human are not fruitful; it is necessary to reach out to what is divine and to draw from the divine source the motives for action. It taught us to trust less in ourselves and to hope only in God.

Your Founder who was the spirit of your community has passed away to God after his very active life. He is buried in Loretto, in the woods by the Liwiec River. Father Ignacy left you to the Heart of God and the Heart of His Mother, so that all your hopes for the future might be linked above all with the Heart of Jesus and Mary. As much as you manage to draw from the Heart of God, so much will endure in your actions.

The Congregation has undergone necessary changes in every period of growth and development. But one thing could not change – the sense of love uniting you to God, His Son and Mother. And through them – to people.

Today, the Church reads to you a Gospel passage revealing the mystery of the Cross. On the Cross – your Master and beneath the Cross – your Mother. On the fiftieth anniversary of your toil, your work, your continuance, your anxieties and your joys, look closely at this mystery of continuance. God abides on the Cross and His Mother stands calmly beneath the Cross. This is right and proper. This Mystery becomes the centre of salvation which is why Christ told us to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice in remembrance of His Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension. He made his Passion the centre of life and development in the Church. Everything that is born, develops and works in the Church – is born of passion but abounds in the Resurrection. We are constantly being lifted up from our falls and faults to live in a friendship with God.

Most beloved Children of God, Daughters of the Congregation of Loretto, sufficiently worked up with their undoubted merits. May you never forget in the most difficult moments of your life that through the cross, experiences and sufferings we save ourselves and perfect ourselves. The Church does not promise you a comfortable and easy life but assures you that through the cross you enter into glory and through suffering you deepen your love which is the beginning of your existence and the goal of your aspirations. May it also be the style of your further life and work.

Dear Children! I think that your 50th anniversary which you are living with spiritual anointing, fruitfully and cheerfully, will be the starting point for your further toils, sacrifices, work and joys.

ASSISTING IN THE WORK OF THE CONCILIAR RENEWAL OF YOUR CONGREGATION

The most joyful achievement at the conclusion of the first 50 years is the diligent renewal of your Constitutions for the fulfilment of the tasks entrusted to you in the Church, in the spirit of the Council. The Constitutions will be promulgated in due time – determined by Mother Superior General and your Protector Bishop. What is needed, however, is earnest prayer and a deepening of understanding of the Council’s resolutions. May the Holy Spirit who supports you in drawing up the Constitutions find your hearts prepared to live the new spirit.

In this work you are accompanied by your Most Reverend Bishop Jerzy. From the beginning, your Superintendent have supported you with his kindness, advice and help. This is why I think that Bishop with his animating spirit will help you the most in your work on the Constitution.

After all, you know that when it came to taking proper care of you, I enlisted the help of the one who was dearest and long known to me. Bishop Jerzy Modzelewski (whom I still know from our common academic years in Lublin) showed much dedication to the work of the Archdiocese and was even able to suffer for the Name of Christ. And now he supports us in the difficult and extensive work of the Archdiocese. In my understanding he is the best gift I can give you on your 50th anniversary. I ask only one thing that you do not “eat him up” and that you count with the fact that he also has other tasks to fulfil: very momentous and important ones in the Archdiocese and in the Commissions of the Episcopate of Poland. I wish you, Bishop, to see the full fruits of the Congregation’s work.

I also rejoice in the fact that so many priests have supported you. At times they have been hard on you, yet they have contributed to deepening your liturgical spirit. Monsignor Nowacja, Monsignor Sprusiński – these are priests who cannot be forgotten when we consider your achievements. This subtle, delicate, brilliantly executed sung liturgy testifies to the fact that you have an excellent school. Liturgical spirituality sets you apart from the many Warsaw congregations. Continue to specialise in this field and I will be grateful to you if your publications also include more and more items on liturgical renewal. We need many and varied books about the liturgical service in the Church. Try to further develop your work in this area.

I am very happy that in our midst there is a man so close to your Founder – his cousin, Canon Priest from Węgrów. His presence is for all of us like a breath of the zealous Podlasie Land that is the land of martyrs. Today in Poland it is referred to as “Holy Podlasie”. From this spirit of “Podlasie” Father Kłopotowski brought all the best to serve in Lublin and Warsaw.

I wish you my dearest children of God that your work in the Archdiocese may develop peacefully. I wish that you and we may enjoy it even though trials and adversities that are necessary – for they deepen love in us. May the Good Lord who has given you such a wonderful Patroness – Our Lady of Loretto – continue to give you His special protection and help through her.

It is good that you live so close to the churches of St. Florian and St. George whose small, but brave parish priest is among you today. He is building soaring towers as if he wanted to remind you every day: Loretto sisters – “sursum corda”! Look up! Remember on our earthly pilgrimage to always “conversatio nostra in coelis est”.

Together with the Bishops for the new 50th anniversary we want to bless you. And when your jubilee will come, please invite us to it.

Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński
Warsaw, home of the Loretto Sisters, 22 August 1970

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